I was given this idea by watching chanelletime on YouTube, because if there’s anything I love more, it’s calling out tropes in YA fiction. Whether I like them or not.
I looked over a few articles on Google before deciding on the blog post down below in order to write up my own blog about YA tropes. Fiction tropes and character development is probably two of the topics I talk about the most around my boyfriend anytime we’re watching a movie or TV show. I love/hate tropes, and character development is always wonderful if it makes the character a better person. So deciding to write a blog about tropes after watching Chanelle talk about them was not a hard decision to make.
The Protagonist is an outsider:
The girl isn’t understood, woe is her and her life being amazing, but somehow people just don’t understand, etc. This trope isn’t something I like, because generally it’s done in a way that I hate. Twilight is a good example. Why did everyone want Bella, yet she thought she was so ordinary, yet not like other girls. I don’t necessarily care if you write out a character that actually is ordinary, but from a very ordinary person myself, people don’t just fall all over people in the way they did for Bella throughout those books.
I *hopefully* will never have a character like this, but if I do, there will definitely be a reason behind it. But I don’t enjoy this trope, so I keep far away from it.
Parents are dead
I… have this trope in my current WIP… and possibly in others I’ve worked on in the past… I’ve used it mostly out of convenience, but at least with my current WIP there’s a reason behind the death of the MC’s parents. If there’s a reason, a plausible one, I don’t mind this trope. I do believe it is overused though, especially in Disney movies.
All adults are useless
Yeah, I don’t like this one at all. It infuriates me when I’m watching a show, movie, or reading a book where the parents are either completely oblivious or just don’t care when their kid is in danger.
I also don’t like the overbearing, overprotective parents though either. Like, be there for your kid, but like don’t lock them away either. Figure out a damn solution to whatever the problem is. Be an adult!
Given the recent events of the world, I’m going to touch on this a bit. If an author only has a diverse character in their book to make it diverse, as if it’s a check list, that’s disgusting. If an author doesn’t do their research on the culture (unless it’s made up fantasy culture, but still, make sure not to offend) of said diverse character, and instead only show their perception, that can being completely awful. If you don’t care enough about certain people to do your research of their culture, race, language, whatever; don’t write it.
That said, the world I’ve built in my current WIP has diversity, though the color of someone’s skin or who they love isn’t what the population judges their character on. They judge by their actions, as it should be.
I don’t mind this one, but it’s probably because I enjoy world ending, disaster type movies and shows, especially ones involving zombies. I did enjoy The Hunger Game and Divergent when they were big, but other than those two series, I haven’t personally read much dystopian type novels. That’s probably why I don’t hate the trope too much.
Protagonist can’t see her own beauty
This kind of goes with the first one for me, because in a way, they go hand in hand. The girl doesn’t know how pretty sure is, is strange in some way maybe that’s really not that strange, and yet everyone wants her. It’s annoying.
Parents out of town, house party!
Having been a non-party goer in my youth, I actually quite enjoy scenes like this. The chaos that can ensue! It can be beautiful. Sixteen Candles is a great example of how out of control teens can get, and I live for it! Seeing that disaster everywhere, the ridiculousness of thinking ‘how in the hell?’, and just being astounded by how crazy people can be is wonderful because it’s so human.
I haven’t yet written out a more contemporary WIP, but when I do, I’m definitely including a party scene!
Don’t. Force. Your. Characters. Together! Just don’t do it. It has to make sense. If it doesn’t, why put them together!? Now, if it’s more a haters to lovers thing, that’s different. Two people, who don’t start with good images of the other person, but grow to understand them and then love them, that’s fucking fantastic!
A great example of haters to lovers would be Get A Life, Chloe Brown. If you haven’t heard of that novel before, or just don’t know if you’d like it, my last blog post is basically my review of the novel. Spoilers, I loved every moment of that book.
This one can definitely be tiring. One possible teenager has to save the whole world! Every obstacle is in their way! But if they don’t succeed, everyone dies!
Why not have characters stumble upon chaos? Why not have a character not want to take control, but wanting to do whatever they have to in order to help the situation, so they step up? What about the quiet characters developing to where they may still be quiet, but they can also be powerful enough to overcome the conflict within the story? I just want new angles, not just someone who’s plopped in and expected to overcome whatever evil is within the pages. Good example is The Hunger Games, since Katniss didn’t want to be the object of the revolution, she was pushed into it.
The Love Triangle
This one… is annoying as hell. Twilight, Hunger Games, and Fallen (though I never read the series) are usually the series that I think of when it comes to love triangles and I do not like them. At all. Why do we even have to have couples in novels? *I say as I always have couples in my WIP’s*
I want to see more friendship relationships though! Or at least, if there is love, to not end up being a triangle. Just let people be happy and figure out other conflicts if that’s what you want to write! Expanding the norm can be quite rewarding!
Thanks for reading my reasons for liking and disliking common YA tropes! It was a blast to write out and figure out how I really feel about each one of them. Some of these I think about often, while others I don’t. I’d love to hear about any tropes you like or dislike, whether it’s on this list or not!
I made this post going off a list made here: https://soyouwanttowrite.org/blogs/syww/top-10-ya-tropes-and-how-to-avoid-them