by Stegosaurus Wilde
5 – Society Hasn’t Changed in Hundreds/Thousands of Years (Sci-Fi) OR Completely Foreign/Alien Society Looks Just Like Ours
Now THIS is what a future society should look like!!!!
That’s a long title, I know. Sorry. These two things are two sides of the same coin. They are usually pretty much confined to speculative fiction. For instance, in sci-fi, how many times have you opened up a book that takes place way into the future, and their culture looks exactly the same as it does now? Um, no. Think about how much our world has changed in the last one hundred years. Do we really think it will stay the same as it is right now except for a few new gadgets? Doubtful.
The other side of that is the completely foreign or alien society that looks just like ours. If it’s another species on another planet, or if it’s a fantastical place that doesn’t exist within our universe, why would it look like our universe? Nope. Thanks for playing. Try a little harder next time.
4 – Stupid Characters
Ah, a two word title. That’s much better, isn’t it? This is exactly what it sounds like, and it tends to be a problem especially in YA. The premise of the book is super cool, and it has an amazing setting and world-building, and then the main character (usually a girl in these types of books, unfortunately) is just plain idiotic. I don’t get it. Why would you go to all the trouble of writing a book that kicks butt in every other way and then write the main character as someone who I absolutely can’t understand and can’t root for? Cue dramatic sigh.
3– Poorly Disguised Plot Device (Sometimes Related to Stupid Characters)
This is only a trope because it’s a common writing error. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve probably got a couple of these in the book I’m writing right now. It’s a victim of linear thinking on the writer’s part, I think. We writers have to figure out how to get Joe Bob Character from point A to point B, and sometimes we make decisions a little too quickly about how to accomplish this. I know I’ve run into this when I read a book and find myself yelling out loud, “But Joe Bob Character would never do that!” Yup. It happens.
2– Poorly Written Love Triangles
I won’t say that all love triangles are bad, though I’m tempted. There are occasions where I come across a good one, like in Hunger Games. I thought the reasons for the romantic tension between both Gale and Peeta made a lot of sense and moved the story forward. And don’t forget the feels. So many feels! But Hunger Games is the extremely rare exception. Usually it’s some wishy-washy girl (see above at “stupid characters”) who can’t make up her mind. She could choose the nice guy who loves her and treats her like an actual human being. Or she could pick the total douchebag with the “tragic back story,” which somehow makes him treating her like garbage completely okay. News flash: it doesn’t. A tragic past might explain bad choices, but it doesn’t excuse them, and I think it’s irresponsible for writers to tell young girls that it does.
This is BY FAR the trope I get most annoyed with. “I just met you thirty minutes ago, but you are clearly the love of my life, and I’ll risk my life repeatedly over the next one hundred and thirty-seven chapters just to save you from this horrible fate!” It doesn’t help that the person who needs saving is often the Frodo Douchebaggins with the tragic back story. Meanwhile, the really nice guy who actually cares about the main character tags along and helps too because he doesn’t want to see the girl get herself killed. But quite frankly, if I was cast aside for insta-love, I’d be tempted to let her have at it. Whew, that felt good! I should rant more often.