Forum > General discussion > What are your least favorite tropes in stories?
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21st Jul 2021, 3:10 PM #21
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The thing that always gets me is when tropes that are outdated or bad are perpetuated. Like ideally we'd get more minorities and people who haven't gotten good rep in fiction to be able to be let in to positions where they can create their own stories (since they have the best experience), but that's not reality yet so its not cool when there's tropes that perpetuate racist/transphobic stuff. It's just...not necessary and it hurts people, things change for a reason. There's an interesting discussion to be had about whether fiction effects reality but I always think about the movie "Jaws" and how it had people all over avoiding the beach lol

Other than that I'm pretty open minded and don't get bothered much, hmm.. I don't even know if it's a trope but when the story just straight up doesn't make sense and I can't follow it lmao, or when it's so self serious to the point where I can't stop making sarcastic remarks XD
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21st Jul 2021, 3:11 PM #22
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by the way.. that story i bitched about... it was soooooooo aweful.. my bad.
21st Jul 2021, 3:23 PM #23
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I've got at least one I can name off the top of my head.

It has to do with Rom-Coms / Romance movies. I like myself a good quirky romance movie now and again, but there's one thing that is kind of like "Ehhh" when I think about it now and again. I don't know if this is necessarily a trope, but it's happened enough times that I've started to remember it, so I'm going to guess that makes it trope worthy.

The cold, scientific calculating high schooler / young adult who is very much into science and the universe and philosophy and whatever the fuck else super smarty smart brain people smarts. We'll call them: Smart Person. They're not like other people. They don't get love. I mean, come on, at the end of the day love is just a bunch of chemicals. There's nothing profound about it at all. They're the type of person that's very awkward and talks mostly in monotone and they've never been in a "romantic relationship" before. They don't really relate to anyone except maybe their sibling / mom / dad, but mostly they don't get other people.

In comes Love Interest. They're quirky in the exact opposite direction. They may or may not be just as bright as the first person, but they believe in love with their whole gosh darn heart. They love going on spontaneous adventures doing random shit that's usually illegal, but illegal in a heartwarming sort of way, you know? Love Interest takes Smart Person on these adventures with them and eventually Smart Person turns into Smart Person Who Can Love Now.

And maybe there's a twist or two along the way. Usually Love Interest dying or something.

The End.
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21st Jul 2021, 3:58 PM #24
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There are several tropes I'm not really into.

- Humans good non-humans bad. I really hate it when it's the humans and the most human looking races (like elves) that are the good guys, meanwhile the ones that look most non-human are suddenly the "evil" races. Granted that's in part due to my love of non-human character designs, along with wanting there to be actual nuance with races since "evil races" is such an outdated and iffy trope anyway.

- Main characters must fall in love in the end. This happens in way too many movies to the point where a lot of "romance arcs" (if you can even call them that), feel rushed and have absolutely no chemistry. Like if you must have romance at least do it right, don't tack it on in the end because you feel it's mandatory for some reason.

- Long exposition dump prologues. Like the ones with vague figures on black backgrounds and mysterious text. I'm not sure if this really counts as a "trope" or not but it happens a lot in comics and not to sound mean but I just skim them to see how the art looks like in the actual story.

- Characters doing something so obviously bad and wrong for absolutely no reason and predictably paying the price. Idk, it's just hard watching characters doing something very clearly stupid. In some cases it feels too embarrassing for me to keep watching it since there's pretty much never a good reason for these characters to do this dumb thing.

- Scientists being incredibly cold to their creations. It's not something I always hate, but I'd love to see more stories where scientists really love and cherish their creations instead. Scientists aren't inherently cold and soulless beings, and I don't see why scientists in fiction would always be so cold and distant to their creations especially when said creations happen to be sentient beings.

- Can agree with the others in the thread that drama due to miscommunications is so frustrating. Like geez talk it over.

- Killing animals for a joke. It's not funny it's just sad.

If I have any more I may or may not list them, but I feel this is a decent amount for now lol.
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21st Jul 2021, 4:28 PM #25
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I don’t have an issue with main characters falling in love with the end. So long as they have genuine chemistry and it works, I’m a sucker for happy endings so I like it.

On the other hand, I hate it when two characters get together by the end of a story/season, and then when the sequel or next season comes around they’re either broken up for some reason or there’s just a bunch of pointless relationship drama!

That said, like a lot of tropes, this comes down to execution. For example, Legend of Korra had a couple at the end of season one that I thought would work well, but they did a very good job of presenting the issues with their relationship in the next season that it felt natural for the characters to split up. Not a fan of the whole love triangle aspect tho (that’s another trope that’s played to death at this point but I don’t have much to say on it. Just boring).

I just hate when anything regarding relationships in media is forced, y’know? It should feel natural.
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21st Jul 2021, 4:33 PM #26
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I actually like Chosen One plots. Fight me.

TROPES I DISLIKE:

-Pointless love interest characters that just exist for a romance.
-Killing off tons of characters for no reason other than shock value.
-Protagonist Centered Morality.
-Rushed character redemption.
-Love triangles. Just... love triangles.
-Having little to no worldbuilding.
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21st Jul 2021, 9:56 PM #27
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Maybe it's a product of the time, maybe it's a product of the demographic. All I know is, regardless of how interesting the premise seems, I can't bring myself to pull a book from my dad's old collection of paperbacks for one reason alone.

The moment a young adult female character appears that has any indication at all of being more than a bit character, you can guarantee she'll be in bed with the male protagonist before the story's over.

Sort of like the aforementioned "shoehorned romance" thing, only a bit more... carnal. I mean, I suppose these are young men's fantasy and sci-fi novels from the 70's... but still. It's just depressingly predictable. It's hardly romance. It's just straight-up lust. I wouldn't be surprised if the writers were contractually obligated to incorporate this into every book they write if they wanted to get published. It's especially bad when, in a series, the lead female changes from book to book, but the hero and the formula do not.

I want to read a story about strange, fantastical worlds and adventures in them, but I just know that if I pick up one of those books, I'm going to have to deal with the hero obsessing over Lead Female (who, might I add, he probably only met a few days ago) and then about a half chapter of the two of them finally getting together and getting physical. Just... I don't care about that. No, let me rephrase that. I actively DO NOT WANT to read about that. It disgusts me on numerous levels, and I'd have the same opinion regardless of the characters' genders.
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21st Jul 2021, 10:19 PM #28
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I hate any kind of Randian/objectivist undertones in a story; that is, any story about "chosen ones" or groups of people who are "destined" to rule, or any story that holds up one group of people as "simply better" than another group, both physically and morally. It's a big reason why I always had a bad feeling watching The Incredibles.
21st Jul 2021, 10:42 PM #29
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It seems like the "chosen one" trope is often chosen as a disliked trope, and though I'm personally kind of neutral to it I try to avoid using it and understand the dislike. I wonder if it's because chosen one stories often rob the main character of agency, which makes the overall experience less interesting. So instead of having an active protagonist (the sort who drives the plot), they end up becoming a passive protagonist instead with the plot dictating their actions. Often times the chosen one character does the quest because that's what they're told to do, instead of there being deeper and more relatable reason. It's just kind of hard to connect with all that, and often doesn't feel realistic.

And of course chosen one stories often feel super dated and predictable, and probably have been since the 80s.
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21st Jul 2021, 11:23 PM #30
I can explain
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I think the problem with Chosen One stories is when they reduce, not create, dramatic tension.

A bad Chosen One storyline is one where you basically know they're going to succeed. Their Chosen status is used to dissolve obstacles - "Oh, I wasn't going to help you, but if you're the Chosen One, that's different!". The Chosen One gets handed every possible aid, and all possible support, and can basically be assured that yes they are going to win in the end. It pulls tension out of the narrative. I suspect it's often an attempt to make a story artificially more grandiose - as if making the characters Chosen By Fate suddenly gives their story greater stakes, but all it really does is make the story even more boring.

A good Chosen One storyline creates more conflict. The hero fights their destiny - not just halfhearted "but I never ASKED to be special", but genuine "run away to the far ends of the world to avoid fate". If there's a prophecy (and there usually is), it's ambiguous, or promises not just eventual success but pain along the way. It doesn't have to subvert the trope but it needs to at least play around with it a little. It adds new conflicts, new tension, to the story. It makes things more interesting.
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21st Jul 2021, 11:57 PM #31
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^Yeah, taking what hawks and Gman said, I think (kind of cheesy and stating-the-obvious lol:) it's really how the author handles it that can make or break a trope, and the Chosen One is a really good example of one that breaks easily haha. A lot of beloved stories have them (Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe comes to mind cause that's a favorite of mine, and a pretty classic example. But also like, the Matrix which I haven't seen in a long time but I believe that's one that subverts the chosen one/prophecy thing??) but the problem (that I personally notice) happens when people just see "Ooh cool sci-fi/fantasy story, I want to make a sci-fi fantasy story myself, so I will try to imbue it with all the things that I think make the stories I like good, like prophecies, and chosen ones, and old wizard mentors" without like understanding the Whys, like Why does the hero traditionally have a mentor anyway, Why does that mentor traditionally die, etc. and once you give it some thought you can figure out how to subvert it or do it in an interesting way, or not at all, whatever.

Same with like, forced romance stuff, who doesn't love a happy and well-earned love story? but then whoever runs Hallmark just sees the "people love a love story" part and don't care enough to understand the Why so then you get bad love stories ad nauseam until just seeing two different-gendered people in a tv movie fills you with Pavlovian disgust.
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Two weeks ago, 1:27 AM #32
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I've only seen it a few times, and it's more of an attitude you can sense than any one thing, but... I hate "I'm the writer and change is good, fuck you audience."

It's when after the author gets you invested in characters and a world, they eventually get bored and in a sequel or later season, they destroy everything the reader/audience was attached to. At the same time, the writing quality decreases, and you can usually spot the author sneaking little "change is good, actually" messages in through the mouths of the characters because they're annoyed people don't like it.

I don't just mean the world changes over time, or characters you like die, it goes much deeper than that. Characters' whole personalities are flipped and distorted offscreen. Major plot events with serious ramifications are undone for poorly defined reasons. Key parts of the worldbuilding and universe are written out, because... Reasons. Deus ex machinas and asspulls galore.

It's like the author would rather be writing something else, so they cram their old world into a mould it doesn't fit.

There are plenty of other things I hate, but this is the big one. *coughTheLegendOfKorracough*
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Two weeks ago, 2:32 AM #33
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Having somebody behave out-of-character for plot-related purposes (e.g. getting chummy with the bad guys as part of a sting operation). Bonus demerits if everyone else in the story notices but nobody suspects the reason.
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Two weeks ago, 3:04 AM #34
tells us a tale of e-bravery
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It's all about execution in the end. Tropes and cliches are just tools of the writer. If you don't like some then avoid stories that lean on them. Some tropes are more staple to a genre however so that's just how the cookie crumbles. I guess I'm not a fan of sunshine and rainbows where everyone gets along or is redeemed saccharine type stuff. Not realistic, even in fiction lol
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Two weeks ago, 3:12 AM #35
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I've said this before in another thread but I'll say this again. I hate the "Big strong guy is an idiot" trope. Yes, even the buff guys need flaws but, holy shit this one is done to death, and done so poorly too. I wouldn't mind if they were just flat out oblivious like Saitama from One Punch Man or Bulkhead from Transformers Prime. But so often they have to make the strong guy's intelligence sub-brick levels.

There is a treasure trove of other flaws you can put on the big strong guy. One of my favorite examples being from Lackidaisy. I forget the character's name, but he's a big Russian cat who can freaking destroy you, but his big flaw is his bad knees, and can't walk up or down stairs or do tasks that involve bending his knees (as someone who has bad-ish knees herself, I feel for the guy).
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Two weeks ago, 3:29 AM #36
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WynautWarrior:I've said this before in another thread but I'll say this again. I hate the "Big strong guy is an idiot" trope. Yes, even the buff guys need flaws but, holy shit this one is done to death, and done so poorly too.

Oh yes, this. It’s just pointless and unoriginal to me.
In a similar vein, when the big character is given a super high pitched voice and the tiny character is given a super deep voice.
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Two weeks ago, 4:49 AM #37
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Does "Atlantis" count as a trope?

Seriously, if I have to choke down one more sunken city of Mer-people who spout non-stop condescending, ham-handed ecology lessons just because they have gills I'm gonna puke crude oil all over the nearest aquarium!!
I think it really boils down to the "Mankind is the REAL monster" trope, but, it's just so SMUG about it!

"YOU evil surface-dwellers and your heartless destruction of the Earth Mother! We fish people, though exactly like you in almost every way except we inhale liquid without dying, are still SOOOO much better than you because we somehow don't make an iota of trash or bio-waste and our futuristic technology is somehow pollutant and byproduct free because the lazy hack hypocrite writers never went into the detail about HOW our industries would logically function, ESPECIALLY UNDERWATER, but YOU filthy air-breathers are ruining everything!"

The only thing worse than that is the obligatory SELF-appointed "King" of Atlantis (Who, more often than not falls into the CHOSEN ONE/Destined To Lead trope, as they are often HALF surface-dweller) who swears that he OWNS AALLLLL the oceans (and thus, 3/4 of THE PLANET) simply because he CAN breathe water but is ONLY the monarch of ONE small CITY at the bottom of ONE ocean!
And, other than two certain big named superheroes, they almost invariably are designed in the image of Poseidon.
Pointy crown, white beard, bare chest. Old and wizened, yet extremely physically fit. Golden trident-weapon.
Actually, come to think of it, at this point, I guess only ONE of those heroes isn't a Neptune-clone these days.

As I said, I don't know that it counts as a "trope", per se, but, I know I've seen it at LEAST a MINIMUM of 5 times in pop culture media, and it makes me furious every single time!


As an addendum to that, why is it that so many fictional kings are always just the snotty-est, most dismissive, narcissistic and sanctimonious assholes?! SOME of them can get away with it.
I find Doctor Doom utterly delightful in his self-aggrandizing, for some reason, yet Namor, for instance, deserve to be slapped across the genitals with a cactus every time he opens his mouth!
*whew*
End of Rant.
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Two weeks ago, 6:23 AM #38
iiIIEEEHHEEEIIMM eeeeaaauuu hhYYYAaaaa
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Octopus Ink:
As an addendum to that, why is it that so many fictional kings are always just the snotty-est, most dismissive, narcissistic and sanctimonious assholes?! SOME of them can get away with it.


Oh that's an interesting one. I attempted to play with it in the past, but I failed because the readers' expectations were so firmly set to that trope that my attempt of a "the prince is upset that the foreigners don't care that he's prince... because it means they have a different conception of government and his diplomatic expertise might not be enough to bridge the gap" mini-plot just got comments like "Ha! He's about to be taken down a peg!"
I thought I was being obvious that he was on a mission and his status not being acknowledged gave him less credibility and geopardised the mission. It's not ego to know what your job is!
But well, Fairy Dust really could have used more careful writing, it's not the only idea I failed to convey.
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Two weeks ago, 8:05 AM #39
it's pronounced "Kooky"
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A subset of the chosen one, the "you're special" trope. Where everyone and their cat spend the whole story emotionally validating the main character constantly.
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Two weeks ago, 8:59 AM #40
not the one who meowed (?)
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Octopus Ink:"Mankind is the REAL monster"

Just a side-tangent to that; I wonder if people writing that trope are aware of how many birds will kill other birds' babies just because it's easier than building their own nest.
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Forum > General discussion > What are your least favorite tropes in stories?
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