Just to give you a quick overview, tropes are not necessarily clichés. Rather, they’re devices authors use in the course of writing their novels and every single writer out there uses tropes. But there are some that I absolutely can’t stand so I’m going to list them for you, using the names from TvTropes, one of the most informative and scarily addictive sites out there. Follow the links provided at your own risk; I am not responsible for any browser crashes from opening multiple tabs or the hours you may waste on the site.
This trope annoys me like no other simply because it’s so prevalent in YA. It seems like every female protagonist out there wants the distant jerk, especially when it comes to love triangles. You know what? Not every girl out there wants a bad boy, but YA writers happily ignore this fact and keep writing about girls falling in love with manipulative, controlling jerks. Of course there are exceptions to my hatred of this trope, the most notable being Strafford in Diantha Jones’ Oracle of Delphi series. He definitely has a reason for being distant in the beginning, but the fact that he changes as the series goes on makes the trope short-lived.
This trope name is actually quite fitting because the trope itself is about minor details or even characters just disappearing from the narrative for no good reason. Usually it means that the author simply forgot about said detail or character and the editor didn’t catch the mistake.
This trope is especially annoying when you realize that something has never been fully explained in the novel once you’re done. Take, for example, the girl zombie in the red vest that follows Mary around in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. She’s stronger, faster and more intelligent than a normal zombie and Mary speculates that something was done to her to make her that way, but there’s no explanation as to what happens to her or even what the heck was done to her to make her this special zombie. It’s like Carrie Ryan just completely forgot about it or really didn’t care. It’s carelessness like that that annoys me to no end, making What Happened to the Mouse? one of my least favourite tropes.
This one happens so much in YA that it’s almost become as annoying as the love triangle. A Faux Action Girl is a heroine that can supposedly kick butt at will but never actually does any butt-kicking. Usually she turns into a Damsel in Distress as soon as a man shows up. This is annoying because all of the other characters make her out to be this awesome warrior and strong woman but her actions never actually demonstrate this.
Faux Action Girls appear a lot in YA and usually they’re just standing around waiting to be rescued. Or, they’re the prophesized saviour of the people and learn to fight and are proclaimed ‘natural fighters’ but never actually do much fighting. When they do fight, they usually end up needing to be saved by their love interest who is invariably male. Yawn.
This seems to happen a lot in fiction, not just in YA. But it’s basically when the villain has the hero or heroine in their clutches and instead of torturing or killing them, invites them to a dinner and then a tour of their evil lair. Unsurprisingly, this happens a lot in science fiction and fantasy because there’s usually an unstoppable doomsday weapon involved.
I get it, villains love to gloat. Heroes are supposed to say “You’re crazy!” when they hear said villain’s gloating plan to rule the world. But why for the love of all that is bad, do villains not just shoot the hero? By letting them dine and tour the facilities where they’re carrying out their top secret evil plan, they’re giving them a chance to escape. Sometimes writers try to put a spin on this trope and instead get the villain to dine with the hero/heroine so they can have a big reveal like Luke, I Am Your Father.
This list doesn’t even begin to cover all the tropes and/or clichés I’m sick of, but these are definitely some of the main ones (aside from love triangles). So now it’s your turn: what tropes annoy you the most? Is it because said tropes are overused or are just based on a dumb premise?