Clichés and tropes are the foundation of every story, whether good or bad. You can’t just take them away because every story has them. And sometimes the reason we pick up a book or love a story is because of these tropes. I mean who doesn’t love a good enemies to lovers when done right?
But that’s the point, clichés have to be written well otherwise they can just ruin the whole reading experience. I’m mostly fine with clichés depending on their execution and whether they are subtle or blatantly in my face. But today I want to talk about some clichés that I absolutely can’t tolerate. If a book has any of these clichés or tropes there is a 99% chance that I’ll be pulling my hair out or rolling my eyes.
5 Clichés in Books that I Can’t Deal With
Everyone depends on the main character
So you mean to say everyone that we encounter in your universe knows, likes and is grateful or dependent on the mc? I’ve seen this most commonly in fantasy, dystopian and science fiction books. Especially dystopian. Everything is falling apart, barely held together by the mc being a provider or a good spy for the community. They know everyone in the neighborhood and it’s almost as if everyone else will fall apart if anything happens to our mc.
I know they are the main character but not everyone’s world revolves around them. And nobody is liked and loved by everyone, please make things realistic.
Dragged out will-they-won’t-they
Look, I’m all for a slow-burn romance but there’s a difference between that and a dragged out supposed will-they-won’t-they. WE ALL KNOW THEY WILL. There’s no surprise element here, you’re just making your readers frustrated. This is especially the worst when there is unnecessary conflict involved in the romance and the book becomes 400 pages long. I kid you not, I read a book which was 80% will-they-won’t-they and then they got together and cemented their love. But at the end of the book they got physically separated and 60% of the second book was the main character pining and wondering if the other character still loves them. Like dude, I will cut off my right arm if you two don’t end up together. This book literally won’t exist if you two aren’t together so stop irritating me.
Everything magically works out for the hero at the last minute
Let me explain this one a bit. You know sometimes a main character will spend the entire book being clumsy or especially terrible at a skill like archery but at the climax when the situation is dire, they’re suddenly a pro. Everything magically goes right for them even though they didn’t spend a minute on trying to perfect or harness that skill or power. It just happens very conveniently because they are the hero and ugh, it’s just really lazy writing and I hate it. Ahem, no spoilers but this trope was especially inspired from one of the ending scenes of episode 5 of the Loki tv show. I’m so mad, every time I see anything like this happen I bang my head against a wall.
The one character our mc doesn’t like turns out to be evil or bad
I think this one’s pretty self explanatory. Maybe sometimes our mc has a reason to dislike a certain character but do they really have to turn out to be evil and scheming? There’s absolutely no element of surprise, readers know to expect that. Instead give us someone who’s close to the mc that turns out to be an antagonist. That’s the shit we live for. Additionally, I just think it would be great to acknowledge and explore that our mc is only human, capable of disliking someone for no reason. I used to find so many of my classmates annoying in school but that didn’t mean they were evil okay? I was able to keep a certain level of objectivity when I had to work with them and yet still dislike them. That’s what we do in real life.
Characters being blind to something for the sake of the plot
Again, I think you can understand what I mean by this one. Simply lazy writing. You mean to say the main or/and side characters don’t know this blatantly obvious truth that you present as a plot twist that the readers have guessed since the very beginning? How convenient. Please, fix your plot holes. If a characters is an expert at something and you say that whoops, they just didn’t see that one thing that they’re supposed to know or forgot about it, we are not convinced. I guess this is less of a trope that the others I discussed but this is only dawning on me right now but… I wanted to rant about this, lol. Shhh, it’s my blog, my rules 😉
What are some clichés or tropes that absolutely throw you off a book?
Alternatively, what are some clichés you like when they’re written right?
Do you like when books are pitched using tropes or would you rather not know before reading?