Books On A Shelf

What I'm Tired of Reading in Plots

Saying that I love to read is an understatement.

Early photos of myself show me sitting with a book in my hands, and although sometimes that book was upside down or I didn’t understand that the printed text on each page held meaning, I enjoyed being in the presence of books from an early age. My grandmother bought me a book each holiday. My mother constantly read short stories, excerpts from novels, and poetry to me as I was getting ready for school or for bed. That grew into daily trips to the library, where I was finishing books in days. I would stay up on school nights with a flashlight in my hand as I lay in my bed eating up every word the author published and neglect homework assignments in favor of finishing the next novel in the series.

So I love to read, and I have read a lot of books. A lot of good, and a lot of bad. 

I’m getting tired.

There are certain plotlines, subplots, tropes, and overall bad writing choices I’m just really tired of reading. I’ve read them a dozen times, and while they worked the first or second book, reading it the seventh or eighth time falls completely flat. It’s an instant mood killer to me, and in certain cases, has caused me to put down a book before I even finish it. Here are five things I am tired of reading.

  1. 1. The unpopular protagonist becomes popular

    Gif from the movie Clueless

    I dislike this whole plotline for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that it seems the character, who is often perceived as someone who enjoys being introverted and hidden, suddenly finds themselves in the popular crowd for whatever reason (do not even get me started on when a character becomes popular because of the person they are dating.) Not to mention, they usually hate on popular classmates as well. I find this especially prominent in the young adult/immature new adult novels, and it’s just so overused at this point . It’s hinged on the idea that popularity is necessary for a character to be important. It usually ends with the protagonist realizing they’re better than the rest of their popular peers and learn to love themselves the way they were before they fraternized with that crowd.

    When it’s written correctly, has originality to it, and adds value to the plot, I’m not bothered by it and can usually push it aside to keep reading. But I’ve noticed a lot of recent novels follow this stale storyline, and at this point, it’s a little antiquated and boring. In books where it adds very little value to the story, I find it detrimental to the story’s success.

  2. 2. Wizard school

    Harry Potter World Hogwarts

    Harry Potter set the gold standard for books about wizardry and preteens going away to school to fight evil. I’ve read a few books that tried to mimic the setting, with the main character being shipped off to school to learn dark magic or potions while hanging out with friends and getting into trouble. All of those books have been unsuccessful for me. They feel like cheap copies of the accredited novels, and I feel like if there’s nothing new to the story except some character names’ and a character’s backstory. I don’t want to read it.

  3. 3. Over-describing characters

    10 things I hate about you gif

    This one is just a personal pet peeve of mine. I don’t want to read, or need to know, that the main character “has long legs, is super skinny, has a freckle under her left eye, has thick eyebrows, purple nail polish, wears blue jeans every day…” I don’t care. Some description is fine, but I’ve noticed stories that just inject random adjectives into the story and it comes off so contrived and cringey. If it’s not integral to the story, it’s just descriptors taking up space on a page.

  4. 4. Strong female characters written poorly

    blue notebook saying my secret plan to rule the world on cover with pink background

    I have read too many books where a female character, who is supposed to be a strong feminist, is written as an absolute horror. They’re written as rude and unpleasant, hates all men, and sees acting feminine as a weakness. What confuses me even more is when she is a love interest, and another character is drawn to her for….what? Her looks? It can’t be her personality. This then feels counterintuitive because you’re making a character completely painful to read and then desired not for her personality, but instead for her appearance or for the love interest to “try to crack the tough exterior.” It undermines this strong character as something that needs to be figured out while simultaneously giving a bad name to feminist characters. Feminism does not equal putting down other types of people, nor does a strong, independent female equal a character who needs to be “fixed”, mean or insufferable.

There are so many novels that do such a great job at steering away from these habits, and with a filled shelf of books in my bedroom I have yet to read, I am hopeful there are at least a few that do this. As for the upcoming book releases I’m aware of, I have a good feeling 2020 is a year filled with stories that are more original, more creative, and stray away from these overused attributes.