Happy Friday and Happy March, everyone! It’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. While I would love to say that I enjoy spring, it’s one of my least favorite seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I love the warmer weather, but as the world starts to bloom again, so do my allergies, and so does my misery.
Since I focused on the things I loved last month, I thought it’d be fitting to talk about the things I don’t love. Today, I’m going to focus on the tropes and characters I’m not a fan of, along with my pet peeves. So, grab your beverage of choice, and let’s dive into some of the things that irritate the shit out of me.
Romanticizing Abuse. This is a trope I don’t like to talk about, so I’ll mention a few things briefly and move on. Whether it’s physical, sexual, emotional, or some combination of the three, this trope is problematic on so many levels. Not only does it send the wrong message, but it also makes my stomach churn. I understand that people can change, but there are some things that are just unforgivable, and abuse is one of them. I won’t bother reading a book that features this trope. This is a hill I will die on.
Love Triangles. This trope is overdone and predictable. It’s usually one indecisive girl torn between two guys. One’s a sweet cinnamon roll, while the other is a bad boy. After stringing them both along, she eventually chooses the bad boy – who predictably breaks her heart. So, what does she do? Runs back to the sweet cinnamon roll she dumped. And naturally, like the good little doormat he is, he takes her back. Screw that. For once, I’d love to see this guy dump her flaky ass. In fact, I’d love to see both guys reject her. That would be a sweet twist on this overplayed trope.
The Age Gap. This trope makes me nauseous, especially when it involves teens and much older adults – or supernatural beings. A seventeen-year-old dating a twenty-seven-year-old is pretty vomit-inducing. But a centuries old immortal falling in love with a seventeen-year-old teenager is just weird and cringe-worthy. This person’s lived for hundreds of years; they’ve witnessed history in action and have had plenty of life experiences. What in the world are they going to have in common with a teenager – except for maybe their youthful looks. This trope just doesn’t make much sense to me.
Perfectly Perfect. These characters can sometimes be referred to as the Mary Sue’s and Gary Stu’s of the fictional world. They’re flawless in every way and they can never do any wrong. They excel at everything they do without even trying. Hell, they can even win a fight without learning any skills – it just comes natural to them. Everything does. Not only is this type of character unrealistic, but they’re also flat, and unrelatable too. I don’t want to read about a character who has all their shit together. I enjoy conflict and I enjoy flaws. I don’t enjoy one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. They’re perfectly perfect and perfectly boring.
The Alpha Asshole. I don’t mind alpha males. In fact, I enjoy reading and writing them. What I do have a problem with is the alpha asshole, sometimes referred to as the alpha-hole. He has all the same qualities as the typical alpha male, except he’s more aggressive, volatile, controlling, demeaning, and more. Some of his actions can be borderline abusive. He never takes no for an answer and takes what he wants. Consent? It’s out of the question with this jackass. Nothing about this douche bucket screams healthy – in fact, everything about him screams run fast, and run far. There’s so much more to this trope, but I’m keeping it brief for today.
The Weak Villain. These baddies tend to be more talk than action. They’re portrayed as evil, tough, and a mortal threat against the hero, but their actions don’t match their words. In fact, they just don’t do much in the story. And when it comes to the big match up, the protagonist kicks their ass to kingdom come without barely breaking a sweat. Where’s the challenge in that? I love a good fight. I love it when the heroes and villains are equally matched. Give me tension. Give me conflict. It’s what keeps me on the edge of my seat and keeps me turning those pages.
Traumatic Injuries with No Repercussions. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It does not apply to supernatural or fantasy characters, because they usually have some kind of healing abilities. This is for human characters only. Because this is such a lengthy topic, I’m going to focus on one of the most common injuries we see in fiction: head trauma.
Head trauma is one of the many injuries I see writers get wrong, especially during fight scenes. If a character is knocked unconscious, they’re not going to spring back up like a piece of bread out of a toaster and continue fighting like nothing happened. They’re going to be dizzy, disorientated, nauseous, vomiting, weak, and probably have problems with their vision, hearing, and/or speech. Not to mention, they’re gonna have one hell of a headache. Depending on the severity of the injury, these symptoms can last for weeks, sometimes months. Humans aren’t going to be able to go about their business as usual, let alone kick ass in a fight. This drives me crazy and makes me want to throw my book across the room. A little research goes a long way.
The Overnight Sensation. This usually goes along with the Perfectly Perfect or Chosen One Trope. This character has never thrown a punch or used their magic, but suddenly they’re tossed into the middle of a fight and they’re an expert. They’re kicking ass without even trying. I hate this trope because it’s unrealistic. I love seeing characters who struggle with learning new skills, only to fail, and then succeed. It makes them relatable and gives me someone to root for.
Magic Systems Without Any Explanation. If a character is a magical being and has powers, as a reader, I want to know how they work. How do they use these powers? Where do they come from? How do they feel? Are there any side effects to magic use? Any downsides? Don’t just throw shit at me and expect me to know it, especially when it’s the first book in a series or trilogy. Take the time to explain it, otherwise it’s just lazy writing.
No Character Description. This drives me crazy when it happens. Not only do we never know what the character looks like or wears, but sometimes the author doesn’t even provide their age. I don’t need an overly detailed character description, but I do want to know how they look in general. The rest of the blanks I can fill in with my imagination. No character description is a no-go for me.
Please note that all the above are just my opinions which are all purely subjective.
I’m still neck deep in edits and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for quite some time. Because of this, my personal blogs will continue to be posted on a monthly basis. The next blog will be on Friday, April 3rd. As for the character blogs, the first one will be Nick’s and that will be posted on Friday, April 17th. Character interview snippets will also be coming soon under the Extras tab. So make sure to look out for those. There is a new aesthetic up under the Photos tab as well.
If there’s anything you want me to talk about in future blogs, you can hit me up in the comments below. That’s all for this month. For those that celebrate, have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day. Until next time.