Worst Writing Tropes of All Time

Writing original stories can be difficult, especially when it feels like every idea has already been taken. Any poorly written story that may have caused you to roll your eyes in annoyance are probably due to an overused, uninspiring trope. However, when used successfully, tropes can be very valuable and help to enhance a story’s plot and characters. Unfortunately, certain tropes can be just plain boring, or even harmful and discriminatory. As a reader, I’m sick of seeing these same overused tropes in stories.

  1. 1. Killing Off Representation

    Queer characters or characters of color getting killed off of your favorite series is something that will make you quickly lose interest in the rest of the storyline. These characters always meet an early death because they’re either not necessary to the plot, or the author merely included them for diversity purposes. Usually, it’s always the one minority character out of a whole group of straight/white people that gets killed off, and this is what audiences have a problem with. This can be damaging because it reinforces the idea that LGBTQ people or people of color are less important and don’t deserve happy endings. Representation is essential because it allows people to see minorities and marginalized groups in a positive light.

  2. 2. Student/Teacher Relationships

    This relationship is usually depicted as a secret, forbidden love where all the sneaking around makes it exciting. However, this is an extremely problematic trope that is constantly portrayed as less of a problem than it really is. It becomes normalized to young people, so that they may not recognize when they are being groomed. The student often becomes isolated from other relationships with their friends and family, because of all the lying that is necessary to keep the romance hidden. It gets even worse when writers validate the relationship by having them get married in the end. Relationship dynamics in fiction are interesting, but the student/teacher relationship becoming romantic is just icky, immoral, and at times, an outright crime.

  3. 3. Not Like Other Girls

    This trope is particularly harmful because it promotes certain stereotypes about women and portrays femininity as being a bad thing. The girl who is not like other girls claims to like sports, cars, and revolves her whole personality around masculine activities. She hates makeup, shopping, the color pink, and ridicules other girls who  enjoy those things. While there’s usually nothing wrong with a girl who is interested in sports/cars, the problem is that in the trope she is bragging about these interests and putting other girls down for being “too girly” all for male attention. In the end, she gets the guy. It sends the message that being like other girls makes you less valuable and undesirable and that you have to be “different” to make it in life.

Creating a good quality story isn’t easy, but these tropes won’t make it any easier.