August 19, 2015

Tropes You Hate

Today's Top 5 Wednesday topic is literary Tropes You Hate.

I will attempt to come up with 5. It's not something that I think about a lot.


"She released the breath she didn't realize she was holding." Ugh. So overused and really kind of dumb. Who does that? Well probably lots of people, actually. But it comes up a lot.


Deus ex Machina - For example, in the book The Shack by William Paul Young, the main character meets God who regularly insists He doesn't step in and solve people's problems. Then, He does just that to show the main where the body of his 5 year old daughter had been hidden after she was kidnapped. Really!?


I don't know what it's called, but the situation where the lead female character is completely incompetent and needs a man to rescue her. For example, the Sophie Kinsella novel Confessions of a Shopaholic. The main character is terrible at her job, her finances are a wreck, and mostly she just sits around wondering why she can't get a man. Then, presto! she lands a dreamy hunk with tons of money who rescues her from penury. She's still kind of an idiot, though. She must have been REALLY cute, because I couldn't think of anything else that would have attracted this intelligent, independent, reliable guy. Blargh.


"The minute he saw her, he knew she was different from all the other girls." Well, yes. Every girl is technically different from all the other girls. This trope buys into so many annoying cliches. Firstly, insta-love. Falling in love with someone before you know anything about them besides whether or not they look good. This sets up an unrealistic expectation for what true love feels like. Muy mal. Secondly, this propagates the idea that all girls are alike. Typical. Thirdly, we are getting into "manic pixie dream girl" territory. See number 5.


Manic Pixie Dream Girl - The girl who is so quirky and unique and fascinating that the lead male character is entranced with her. Usually, she's just a jacked up, anxiety-riddled, hot mess who actually couldn't care less what any guy thinks of her. Probably that last bit is what makes her so attractive. "She isn't instantly in love with me? I must find out what makes her so different!"

So I guess I could come up with a few. Got any to add?