Discussion: Worst Romance Tropes

Everyone has run into bad romance tropes that make you stop reading or not even start a story because it sounds like a cliche story you’ve read a million times over. Major authors even run into this problem as well. No one is exempt from dealing with these tropes when reading, writing, or watching a movie/tv show. I will be going over a handful of tropes that are written poorly plus used in the wrong way. You need to add life to the characters to get past the tropes. Let’s jump right into the point now.

Number One: Weak MC in Romance Stories

I have read countless stories where the MC is shown as a weak person who has to rely on others like their LI to help them out in a toxic manner. That is not a realistic viewpoint for readers. Most people stick up for themselves in real life. You need to buildup the reason behind why they can’t protect themselves but you need to do correctly. If it’s a sensitive subject then it’s best to do some research on that subject. Otherwise, your story will fall apart before it’s even started. Sensitive Subjects aren’t easy to write which I will go over farther down in this post. As @ShanniiWrites says in her blog post “Bad Romance Tropes that Make Me Stop Reading” do not rely solely on romance to build up your MC. You need to add more mirth to the MC’s personality and background story. I would suggest filling out character sheets so that you can delve deeper into who your character is supposed to be. I would focus on giving the MC a hobby, a flaw, and also moral rule to go by. People want to read about someone who can handle a situation realistically even if it’s a fantasy romance. You have to ask yourself when creating characters “Would you do this? If not, why?”. I would check these links out when making characters. You need to use the resources you are given to make it through to the end. The MC is the focal point of your story so you need to make sure they are developed into a full character. You don’t have to answer all the questions they list in the links below but you should answer the ones that stick out to you the most. The little parts are what makes the big picture flow together in a masterpiece.

Number Two: Mean Girl/Boy Character in Stories

Do not throw a character in just to add drama. @ShanniiWrites makes good points in her blog over this part. The side characters need to be well-rounded enough to comply with the story. Meaning you need to give the mean character a true reason to be angry, jealous, and whatnot. Otherwise, this character just ends up a background character that is only contributing to bad habits when writing mean characters. Trust me, I have stopped reading certain books because this was the problem. It should not just be that the mean character thinks that the love interest will just up out of the blue want to be with the mean character. There needs to some kind of connection between the love interest and the mean character such as ex-lovers, next-door neighbors or best friend’s sibling. This is if you are going with the concept that the mean character is a long time friend. If you are going with the angle that a mean character is a new person that hasn’t known the MC or the LI then there are a few ways to go with that. This person could be a college friend of the sibling that LI has never met but if you go with this route you need to give them a real reason behind their mindset. I mean you have to do that anyway if it’s someone the LI and MC know as well. You have to understand where they are coming from and why it led to this outcome. I would focus on character exercises that will help you make the characters full-rounded. The best thing to do is run through the scenes multiple times because you might get a different outcome than the first time around. I would click on the links above this post to help you out. Think out of the box when it comes to writing. It’s what makes a story unique when you add a realistic twist to the characters in it.

Number Three: Bad Boy/Girl Character Trope

So this trope is overused in so many ways. I feel like every Harlequin book I have read ends up in this trope. It’s hard to not fall into this trope since everyone wants the reader to be happy but it’s you who needs to be happy with your story. Just don’t fall into this trope while you do write your story. Everyone lusts for the bad boy/girl character because they have a mysterious alluring aura to them but sometimes that’s all they have with no actual mirth to them. Also, many people think that the bad boy/girl trope needs to use abusive situations to make the bad boy/girl. That is a very toxic route to go down and should never be used. It glorifies toxic behavior which makes people think that is what the reads like to read. Please don’t go down this route. If you want to make a proper bad boy/girl character then you need to add more to their personality and have a reason for their mannerisms. Also, most stories that involve this trope come with the idea that the bad boy/girl will change their ways if they want to be with the MC. That’s manipulative and toxic behavior all on its own. I have read stories and seen this in reality. It’s sickening behavior that hurts more than it helps. You need to make the bad boy/girl come to terms on their own. They need to have a reason for changing their ways of what they use to know. I’m not saying to not add fights, @ShanniiWrites even brought this part up too. Fights are healthy in a relationship as long as they are not toxic fights. It’s in our nature to bicker with the people we love. Otherwise, you would just bottle up all those emotions and it would cause a toxic explosion in your relationship. What it all comes down to is how you make your characters what you do with them. You are the one in control of the story, not your readers.

Number Four: Sensitive Subjects being used For Drama

This is the biggest problem I have seen in many stories. If you are going to write a story with rape, verbal/physical abuse, and anything that is mentally scarring to someone who has gone through that ordeal, you better do your research. Glorifying traumatic situations can cause more harm to those who have lived it. Do not add this to your story because you want something dramatic to upheaval your MC and LI new relationship. It’s sick and twisted to do so since you are telling other people it’s okay to glorify that type of behavior. If you do go over these topics then you need to make sure it’s done correctly. If you are writing for a younger crowd then you need to make sure you are abiding by the laws of your country. @ShanniiWrites has two blogs that go over consent, sensitive subjects and toxic behavior that goes over what not to do when writing about these subjects. If you are writing for adults it’s the same way but still follows the guidelines that adult books go by. You do not want to teach readers or young writers bad habits of sensitive topics. I strongly suggest you check out both blog posts on this subject to get an understanding of what to do and what not to do when writing.

What it all comes down to when dealing with bad romance tropes is that you just need to add more realistic behavior to the characters in your story. Once, you fix the holes that make the characters come off fake then your story will excel in your eyes and the reader’s eyes. Just remember to research sensitive subjects that can help you in the long run. I hope this helps anyone who decides to read this. Let me know what you think. Please remember this is my opinion on what I have read and seen in other stories. Ask me any questions or as @ShanniiWrites questions on the points.

Links to help you out with your story!

Sensitive Subject Blog Posts and Good Points about Bad Romance Tropes
https://shanniiwrites.com/2019/02/05/consent-in-episode-stories/
https://shanniiwrites.com/2019/02/05/consent-in-episode-stories/

Make sure your MC is not a Mary-Sue:
https://shanniiwrites.com/tools/the-mary-sue-checklist/
https://shanniiwrites.com/tools/quizzes/is-your-character-a-mary-sue-quiz/
https://shanniiwrites.com/2019/03/30/how-to-fix-your-mary-sues/

Multiple different characters exercise to run your characters through:
Extra Long Sheet of Character Questions
Questions Your Character Hates Getting Asked!
How to - Create & Keep Track of Characters
Tips, tricks & discussions: How to make your story better
Kale's Guide to Well-Developed Characters
Interesting Character Exercises

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22 Likes

I hate the one where it’s the Bad boy/girl falls for the nerd it’s just so overused. And in real life high school that just doesn’t happen :joy:. There isn’t a bad boy/girl squad and a nerd group. In my school before i got homeschooled it was just chavs and then normal people.

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Exactly, It just completely over used. I like it when there is something realistic in the stories because it’s relatable but a lot of authors don’t go that route sometimes.

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yeh exactly. I like dystopian/fantasy stories aswell and obviously that isn’t real life but when they add real life problems into it
for example- illnesses/flaws/struggles etc
It makes me like the story even more because it shows that even in a different world not everyone is perfect and life isn’t perfect and that’s okay.

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I’m the same way about fantasy stories too. I rather have imperfect flaws in a story then a perfect fantasy story that I can’t relate to.

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Exactlyyy

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Honestly i am tired of all these tropes being overused, where is the originality?

That one trope I despise is the mafia bad boy love interest, like who the heck wants to get involved in all that drama for some problematic, mafia boy? It’s definitely not like that, it’s way worse in real life and these stories teach you the opposite of that.

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Student+teacher romance stories :nauseated_face:

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I agree with this which is why my story is about a girl trying to get away from her mafia ties in her family.

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I immediately ignore these unless it’s Pretty Little Liars because that show is messed up anyway but I still love watching it.

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Ew :nauseated_face::rose::two_hearts:

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Yep.

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I hate the popular guy falling for the nerd because, okay let’s be real, not gonna happen lmao. I feel like it could’ve been done well, but by now it is just so overused and cliched

Also, not a huge fan of those 18/19 year olds falling for like 60/70 year olds. I get that it’s legal as soon as the kid turns 18, but ehhhh still gives me weird vibes with how young they are.

Also hate the girl gets kidnapped falls for her captor (365 dni :face_vomiting:) like dude whattt

4 Likes

I know what you mean! It’s kind of hard to make the trope better anymore. I think if people invest time and effort in making the story correctly it could work.

The only time this type of age gap is okay is when you are writing a supernatural story where the person looks like a normal aged person. I get cringy when I see these types of tropes in normal stories. Grant it, if it’s like a 10-15 year gap okay I won’t say anything but I would prefer the younger one to be over 20 years old.

I hate this trope so much! It just doesn’t make any sense. The only one that is decent is the Beauty and the Beast story. Basically, it better be a fairy tale story instead of a normal story otherwise it comes off gross.

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It’s not that I hate this trope or anything, but there’s this trope that is very common in soap operas, and I’m already tired of it. It’s where this rich guy/girl falls in love with poor guy/girl but the parents of the rich guy/girl doesn’t agree with their relationship and does everything to make the poor guy/girl’s life a living hell. And of course, there always has to be an arranged marriage between the rich guy/girl and some other rich person who also happens to be evil and also makes the poor guy/girl’s life miserable. I haven’t seen this trope that much in writing apps such as Episode, but it’s so common in Television and I’m already tired of it.

Ohh, and I also hate badly-written love triangles. I don’t mind having multiple love interests in a story, but I hate it when the love interests’ lives only revolve around the MC. And I also hate it when the two love interests fight for the MC as if that’s the only thing that matters in the world. I rarely see well-written love triangles in a story before. Love triangles are overused, plus it also gets boring over time.

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  • Getting intimate way too early in your relationship (within a few days)
  • Falling in love with a sexual harasser
  • Nerd falling for popular dude
  • The LI being a b-tch
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I agree with what you posted! I get tired of that trope too. It’s like the nerd and the popular girl/guy trope.

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All very good points!

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I love them alllllllllllll!

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Lol nice!