Writing Clichés

It was a dark and stormy night…

We’ve seen them, even worse we’ve read them. What are your most hated writing clichés?

 

Tell us which ones you wish authors would stop doing once and for all – from words, to plot devices, to personality traits – whatever you like!

We will be reading your comments!

– The Figment Team

93 thoughts on “Writing Clichés

  1. Outside of certain phrases, I don’t really believe in clichés. It’s easy to point out certain plot devices and character traits as being cliché or overused, but I’ve found the issue doesn’t really lie so much in the so called clichés themselves, but rather in the execution (especially since we could pin down most character traits and plot devices as “cliché” if the criterion we’re using is simply “used quite a lot”).

    So while many would say that love triangles (or the “chosen one” or vampires or conveniently absent parents, etc.) are clichéd and should thus be avoided, I would argue that we writers can still use the device effectively and in a creative and/or engaging way.

    That said, there are certain character traits and plot devices that I tend to dislike (damsel in distress being one of them), but at the same time I hesitate to say that they’re always badly utilized and that my dislike is purely without bias.

    • I completely agree! Some things are simply unavoidable. That’s why there are character archetypes and this thing called The Hero’s Journey- somewhere or another, you’re bound to do something that’s already been done- a lot. Vampires themselves aren’t cliché. If you call vampires ‘cliche’, then you may as well mark every fantastical creature or being in literature ‘cliche’. Now, writing a story involving both vampires and werewolves on top of a love triangle over a seventeen-year-old girl…then you’re being a bit repetitive, but it’s more so what you do with the concept of vampires or a love triangle than the concept itself. 🙂

  2. I am sick and tired, completely done with love triangles. They are pointless, and they always involve a girl choosing between two men. If you have to have this pointless trope, make it all women, or maybe all men, or at least just throw in some, I don’t know, not-straight people. Besides, why can’t we have an asexual or aromantic protagonist? Just because sex “sells” doesn’t mean you gotta make it super dirty or super sappy. Part of being a fan of something is attributing ideas or headcanons to works that normally would not have that.

    Let’s make queer headcanons into actual canon. Let’s have some aces as leading ladies and men. Enough with the love triangles.

    • I agree! I am so done with the whole “I-am-going-to-suck-all-the-air-out-of-your-body-by-kissing-you” romance type along with the love triangles and supernatural love types. Can’t we just read a book where there is no romance between to protagonist and some other random character??? JUST ONCE???

      • yeah like what if the protagonist is just meddling with a couple or what if s/he was stalking? (idk just throwing ideas, plz don’t hate)

  3. There’s too many shy girl protagonists who hate that ONE FLAW about them. Mygosh they’re everywhere!!!

  4. Ugh, just love triangles in general. They’re in every YA novel. I know they’re used to add more interest to the romance part of novels but I can always see them coming and they always end up the same.

  5. So, a cliché plot that totally works for me but I really dislike since it’s overused is when a spoiled, rich, snobby, handsome, and popular guy meets a not-spoiled, slightly poor or poor, not-snobby, slightly less pretty, and not popular girl. Then the girl, in the end, ends up with the boy and the boy changes (for the better) because of the girl. So yeah, that the cliche I see a lot.

  6. kay kay the cliches I hate the worst would have to be:

    1) love triangles because as my fellow readers said they don’t work unless they’re actually trianlges??? right now they’re angle. the girl is the vertex and her feelings form line segments to the boys but if the boys also liked each other that would make a triangle which would be veeerrrryyy interesting.

    2) these characters that are like “oh my god i’m so unattractive with my gorgeous hair, perfect teeth, and great butt. but eveeeerrryyone hates me so much” i’m sorry but just no!!! please stop

    3)these guys that are like, “let me insult you, lie to you, hurt you, and most definitely betray you but it’s all because i’m soo dang emotionally scarred” your past is not an excuse for being a jerk

    • 1.) YES! FINALLY SOMEONE WHO GETS THE “Love Angle plus Hate Line” CONCEPT!

      2.) Basically, camouflaged Mary-Sues.

      3.) Yes.

  7. specifically, love triangles with one girl & two boys. OMG that never happens in real life what the crap is this. SERIOUSLY !!! and the girl is always uber attractive

    • Uber attractive boy is torn between two girls; one is the family friend and the other is the super popular cheerleader.

  8. I am SO done with the female protagonist cutting her hair to symbolize her evolution into a “warrior”. You can have long hair and still kick some!

  9. I hate how in love triangles the girl ALWAYS chooses the sappy, irritating guy. I was so disappointed when Katniss chose Peeta.

    • uh… would you rather her choose the guy who emotionally manipulated her and killed her sister and just ran away without saying sorry or anything???

      • I would’ve rather her chosen Gale. Honestly, it would’ve made so much more sense. It was ridiculous that she chose this guy that she didn’t even know before the hunger games that she somehow convinced herself that she superficially “needed” this guy who had just appeared and forced her to create a façade of love to keep herself alive. I’m not saying she should’ve killed him, but I honestly think that it would’ve made more sense to go the friend route. Also, it would’ve been more unexpected and less WHY?! at the end which I would’ve liked. Then again, I was disappointed in the ending of those books anyway. *SPOILERS* I didn’t like Katniss’ character at the end. I didn’t like the pointless murder of Prim. I didn’t like Peeta losing his mine just so he could be rewritten or basically written out of the last book like she didn’t know what to do with him. I think they needed more time to develop a relationship before she could realistically choose him. It just wasn’t believable… And it was incredibly rushed. And honestly, Gale just disappeared! What?! No.

        So, in short I agree that there should be more books where the writer avoids the “obvious romance” choice cliché and that Katniss should’ve chosen Gale.

        • Because I’ve been dying to express this.

          Peeta could’ve been a cop-out, though if it were it was because he was definitely the more developed character. Gale did have going for him the “life-long friend”, whereas Peeta had going the decisively more confusing (for Katniss) “I don’t really know you, but we kiss a lot and I’ve been in love with you for a long time plus I’ve save your life a few times and you feel sorta guilty and angry about me in general”

          But boys aside, what I really liked about this series was that she didn’t care. Not once did she go pining for either one; they were there to serve their purposes in her life, purposes which had nothing to do with romantic endeavors at all. The romance she feels came mostly from her confusion. Peeta? She faked love for him until she realized that HE wasn’t faking, which caused her to feel guilty and angry (as stated above) plus she was already feeling weird about him because he’d saved her life by throwing the bread; then to make matters MORE confusing, as she’s thrown into circumstances where both of their lives were threatened, she begins to care about his sake because after they’d been trapped in a cave together, risking their lives for each other and “faking” their love for each other the care just started to happen. Katniss had never been in love before, so care makes her confused and then (what do you know) Peeta is whisked away and tortured out of his mind to hate her. The direct contrast between his hate and his prior care makes her even more confused about her feelings.

          Then, as for Gale; he was her rock, her dependable friend. She’d never been interested in him in the slightest, that is, until Peeta comes and throws her life (and emotions) into confusion and Gale becomes jealous. Here’s Katniss, guilty at not feeling anything for Peeta while he was in love with her, and now Gale comes along and he shows his obvious disapproval of something that she never wanted in the first place. Not to dismiss Gale, however, as he was most likely realizing his own emotions over Katniss by seeing her with someone else. After all, she was always irrefutably HIS, that is, until this stranger waltzed in and confused her. Gale probably doesn’t realize what he feels over her either, so that leaves the two of them just strange and distant, as though Peeta were always between them. And then, there’s the whipping scene; Gale’s confused Katniss with two kisses by now (or was it one? I don’t remember exactly), plus she still believes (or hopes more like) that her emotions to Peeta are purely platonic, AND Gale is her closest friend, right? Everyone expected them to get together and all that. So naturally as she sees that Gale is in massive pain, crippled and unconscious, she gets confused (in the same way that she was over Peeta when he gets hurt).

          All of this winds her up into a girl who can’t tell what she’s feeling, even though she never wanted to fall in love or even be confused into thinking she is. As she’s completely torn between these two boys she didn’t want in her life like this, she turns to one then the other as each falter. Peeta’s gone? Gale is her number one companion. Gale designs the bomb that kills her sister? Peeta.

          On the topic of the bombing, OF COURSE she would choose Peeta. Here’s what’s happening at this point:

          Gale and Peeta are virtually neck and neck so far as her emotions go for them. She’s too broken by the games and the Captiol to go on her own with no emotional support anymore, and she refuses to rely on her mother, her sister, or Haymitch (well, who would rely on Haymitch for emotional support?) so that leaves the two people she IS willing to rely on, no matter how twisted her feelings are or how convoluted her reasoning: Peeta and Gale.

          Then her sister dies. It may have been a cheap death, but it was world-shattering for Katniss; literally, her only reason for being alive (she wouldn’t have tried to survive a number of things if it weren’t for Prim) is gone, and Katniss feels irrationally that she should’ve saved her. She’s wracked with grief and hatred for herself and the Capitol, and she is DONE with emotional babbling from two boys she would’ve preferred never have cared that much about her in the first place. When she finds out that Gale set the bomb, she found something concrete and simple to vent all her anger and hatred and frustration into; she is NOT willing for second chances. Gale is completely out of the picture for her, and she finally can choose, so she chooses Peeta. Not just because she’s mad at Gale, remember, but because they’ve been through so much and care about each other in confusing ways.

          As for why Gale drops out of the picture? I don’t really know, but I assume that Katniss wasn’t even giving him the time of day, he had no reason to stick around and watch the happy couple if he couldn’t even be friends with Katniss anymore (though, even without the bombing incident, I doubt they could’ve remained friends without teetering back into romance). IF he had managed to stick around and not become bitter about Katniss and Peeta (which I doubt given his already possessive ideology on Katniss), then she may have forgiven him and the ending would’ve been less happy-go-lucky and more turbulent. But as it is, Katniss can choose, and she can vent all her remaining resentments and guilts surrounding Prim and the Capitol (and possibly the man himself) in Gale.

          So, this is why I say team Katniss all the way!

  10. Overwhelming, unconventionally, fall-to-your-knees-and-beg-for-mercy BEAUTIFUL protagonists whose greatest hardships in the day are too many males ogling her and proclaiming their unrequited love for her. Shut up! That doesn’t happen in real life and when it does, the girl is a conceited princess. So stop writing about a Mary Sue!!!

  11. I don’t mind it when characters are stupid, because some people just are; what I mind is when a strong, generally perceptive female character can’t tell that her boyfriend is in love with her. I mean, if he’s breaking up with you right after he saves your life and professes his undying love for you, why do you believe when he breaks up with you that it’s because he doesn’t like you anymore? No, of course the bad guy of the story isn’t forcing him to do this. No, of course he’s not just doing it because he’s a vampire and the two of you could never work out. OF COURSE it’s because he doesn’t like you!
    I’m just tired of complete 180s in characters just so you can write a heart-wrenching breakup scene. Save it for the next book where the main character’s a complete ditz.

  12. “Happy endings” where everything ends perfectly. Life doesn’t really turn out that way. Endings are sometimes happy, but never perfect. For example, I love the ending of Divergent, because that is how real life happens. Even before reading books like Divergent, the endings of my own stories always have a tragic twist.

    • Well, the ending was realistic but the death was too horrible. She sacrificed herself for her stupid brother who couldn’t care less about her feelings. And it was completely unnecessary! I can actually imagine Veronica Roth saying, “I don’t know how to kill Tris so let’s use this stupid way that doesn’t even make sense! Muahaha!”

      • I’d say the best example of a proper ending is the Watchmen series, where the true heroes are killed off, and the others that saved the world are made to look like villains, because humans can only get along if they have a common enemy.

  13. Oh good lord, where do I begin?
    I’m over the vampires thing.
    I’m over the “crazy dystopian worlds” thing
    I’m over the love triangle thing
    I’m over the “Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy breaks girls heart, boy wins her back” stuff

    You name it, I’m probably done with it.

  14. I don’t like the ones where there is a perfect character and he/she always falls in love with the poor girl/boy and it is against the law. I also don’t like it when the men are the only ones allowed to be warriors and the girl goes undercover and gets discovered.

  15. I don’t know of any clichés I don’t like, but I really want to see a book written in the POV of the antagonist.

  16. When writers use dream sequences as a cop-out device to push the plot forward! They’re so overused. To see it in old pieces (such as Shakespeare) is one thing, but -and as much as I find dreams immensely intriguing- unless you have a fresh idea on utilizing them besides them serving as physic tools to reveal the rest of the plot…don’t use them.

    Also…please, please (please- I am sincerely begging you)…don’t make your villains stalk around the antagonist in circles whilst letting loose a wild cackle. Save that for Scooby-Doo and Disney movies.

    • Yes, using dream sequences as exposition is just lazy writing. People in the real world generally don’t have dreams that nicely lay out their goals and conflicts for them.

      I’ll make an exception for prophetic dreams in cases where the characters having them are literally meant to be psychic (and even then, a writer should be careful, because there are still often better ways of writing one’s exposition), but otherwise, it really does tend to be a copout.

    • Oh my gosh I hate it when authors keep filling up the plot with dreams, I don’t know why but it just annoys the crap out of me.

  17. Stories where it’s a girl, her best friend guy that has a crush on her, and an asshole she barely knows who wins her over. Love angles in general like that need to just stop honestly. And then stories where the heroine has but one flaw, if it can be called a flaw. jeezlaweez girls

  18. Stories where the two characters end out hating each other, then something happens and they realize they love each other.

  19. Stories where the main character somehow gets the privilege to insult other people just because he/she is a loner with no friends. And cliches where the mean girl is usually a blond cheerleader who is popular.

    • Aha! I can write this story without looking! The mean blonde cheerleader is dating the cool blonde jock, who’s not at all mean even though the whole popular crew is. Then there’s the nerdy girl who has a massive crush on the blonde jock and completely idolizes him and she despises the jerky loner who’s always on her case. Oh but wait, plot twist, she gets the guy and as it turns out the jock was a jerk too! He’s only using her because she suddenly became popular! Her heart is broken, blah blah blah, but look who’s here? The almost entirely undeveloped loner nerd, who’s magically NOT jerky anymore. She gets with him, and the blonde cheerleader and jock get back together but they somehow become unpopular so the loner boy and nerdy girl can reign as popular and have a happily ever after. The end!

  20. When the book starts out with the Mary Sue protagonist complaining about how hard their life is. I’m either going to laugh at how bad it is or groan at how cliché it is.

    I know a lot of people are saying love triangles but I don’t think the love triangles themselves are the problem, I think it’s just how they’ve been done the exact same way. A plain Mary Sue finds herself with two really hunky guys who love her so much and when it’s obvious who she’s going to pick in the end then that love triangle is lame.

    However I’ve seen lots of stories where I was totally wrapped up in the love triangle, lately it’s just that YA books are copying each other and it needs to stop. So it’s okay to use love triangles in my book (pun intended) but just make them interesting and slightly more realistic. I think people have forgotten that when this kind of thing happens it’s far more awkward than dramatic.

    • Much like clichés, “Mary Sues” don’t really exist, either. Badly written plot devices exist (and we often call these clichés) and badly written characters exist, but the issue is in execution.

      Also, the term “Mary Sue” gets thrown around much too liberally, and I think our use of the term says more about internalized misogyny and sexism than any specific profile that “Mary Sue” characters fit.

      • You are aware that there are Gary Stus too, right? (Sometimes they’re called Marty Stus if you like that better.) It’s not a female-only term. And they do exist.

        A “Mary Sue” or “Gary Stu” is loosely defined as a character with whom the author has fallen in love, and because of that love, the author makes them perfect, hands them their destiny, solves all their problems, and/or gives them their romance without justifying it or making the character work for those things realistically.

        Those sorts of characters definitely exist, and the term has come to be used for original characters as well as fanfic OCs. This isn’t particularly wrong or right; language is fluid and meanings of words change, especially newer, culture-defining terms. (Because culture changes a lot more often than written languages “naturally” do, culture tends to pull language along with it as it changes.)

        Either way, it isn’t about sexism. Gary Stu is a lesser-used term, true; but that’s because the majority of fanfic writers (and therefore the majority of fanfic protagonists/OCs) are female, and sheer numbers have propelled “Mary Sue”‘s usage.

        For example, Eragon could be considered a Gary Stu. He has crazy magical powers, is basically immortal, rides a freaking dragon, learns sword skills way faster than is logical, and then at the elf ceremony thing in the second book he gets even more crazily overpowered.

        I still like Eragon well enough, but I’ll admit his characterization kind of went out the window once Paolini went, “Oooh, I can make him all pretty and stuff with naked dragon-tattooed elf ladies!”. Headdesk. I’ve read books with Mary Sues which are still readable too. But all those books would have been better if the characters didn’t end up with every cool power the writer could think of.

        Also, let’s face it. The entire cast of Twilight suffers from Sue/Stu-dom, and that’s what everyone’s thinking of when they hear the term “Mary Sue.”

        I admit it, though, I read the SparkNotes version of Twilight rather than the actual book. u_u; I couldn’t bring myself to wade through that much vampire fangirling at full strength.

        • Didn’t need your long explanation because I’m aware of what people think a “Mary Sue” is. However, even while trying to define the term for me, you used the vaguest possible idea, and it’s still not the only definition for “Mary Sue.” If “Mary Sue” can be defined as anything, then it is nothing at all except a convenient label used to demonize female characters.

          And don’t say that “Mary Sue” is used more often because of fanfiction authors being predominantly girls/women. I’m not interested in the idea of a Mary Sue in fanfiction because therein it’s more easily definable and actually takes into account various variables. I am referring specifically to “Mary Sue” as applied to original fiction, and there are more male characters than female characters (more male authors, too, if we’re talking about published work), and we still are faced with criticism predominantly focusing on female characters (especially if they dare to be the protagonists of their stories). This is a legitimate problem.

          Yeah, Eragon fits the “Mary Sue” stereotype, but does he receive anywhere near the amount of fanbase hatred that female “Mary Sues” receive? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

          Guess what other male characters would be called “Mary Sues” if the authors had dared to write them as women:

          Harry Potter.

          Luke Skywalker.

          Bruce Wayne.

          Male (and white) superheroes in general.

          Also, none of this amounts to me saying that badly written characters don’t exist. Yes, Eragon would have been a better story if the author had put more time and effort into character development (presumably — I have not read this series), and likewise Twilight would have been better if Meyer had done the same. But this says nothing about whether the term “Mary Sue” is legitimate (it’s not — when applied to original fiction, I mean) or if it’s used in a sexist manner (it is).

          • Alright someone else gets it! Some of my favorite characters are quote on quote Mary Sues, and yet they are engaging, well written characters who are only being targeted for being both female and powerful or interesting. It’s so messed up.

          • This sounds more like a matter of opinion. Like, I, for one, think “Mary Sue” is a legitimate term, just often misused. And I actually liked the way Rebekah described a Mary Sue, and that’s really why I kept reading these comments and am commenting myself anyway. I like her definition because I can fully relate to it as I have often found myself writing Mary Sue characters and can understand exactly what she means by the author falling in love with his/her own character and wanting everything to turn out story-book perfect (or imperfect) for him/her. Perhaps that experience is my bias in favor of “Mary Sue” being considered a legitimate term.

            However, you speak as a person who is biased as well, because perhaps many of your favorite characters have been attacked for being alleged “Mary Sues” or perhaps you have an admiration for female characters in general and dislike the rep they often receive. Some of the characters you look up to may have been Mary Sues, but, likely, many of them weren’t, because, you’re right, it is a term that is thrown around way too casually. And I don’t think it has as much to do with sexism and misogyny as you seem to believe.

            There are a lot more female authors writing in female protagonists than your giving credit. Twilight was big. And now there’s Hunger Games and Divergent. Perhaps there still are more male authors and male protagonists, but, with as many well known modern books? It’s doubtful.

            These sorts of books also have a strong female fan base. Now, this could just be my experience or my judgment could be clouded due to bias. But the majority of teen writers and readers I meet are also female. I believe the reason for the casual usage of “Mary Sue” is more due to jealousy than anything else. I mean, I’ve certainly been upset by characters because I was jealous of them, typically for receiving something that I believed my favorite character should have, be it praise or trials or a love interest or something material. And since a majority of female readers will have an attraction toward a male character, they’ll definitely have their strong opinions of who he deserves to be with. If he’s with a girl that they don’t like, she often becomes a “Mary Sue.” And I’m sure it goes similarly for the opposite sex and attraction.

            Again, matter of opinion. But I thought it was worth voicing.

          • I think I’m just going to interject in here that another cliche that’s been springing up lately is the “Strong Female Lead” to counteract the “Mary Sue” phenomenon. That would be, say, Katniss Everdeen versus Bella Swan. This is just something I’ve observed, so correct me if I’m wrong.

  21. I hate the stories where the guy gets the girl. Why can’t there be stories where the guy almost gets the girl but then there is a twist on the story and he doesn’t?

    • Not mentioning them is the only way I’ve managed to avoid them. Either that or making some elaborate metaphor calling in all the forces of blood and emotion and wounds and eyes being soul windows and all that junk, but even that is getting cliche.

  22. The YA writing style that tends to be somewhat dark/depressing and overly dramatic. It always seems like an attempt to make the writing beautiful, but there are others way to do that without saying “it feels as if my world has become nothing but a black hole.”

  23. Love triangles. I just realized this after reading “The Elite”. I love romance, but I am so sick of the I’m-jealous-cause-you-like-her/him or “You’re going to have to choose” (I HATE the last one!!!) I can’t stand romantic drama, it’s just…ugh 😛

  24. To me it seems like every protagonist that has a super cool power or ability just want to be ‘normal’. I would love to swap places with them all!

    • Thank you, another character profile pitfall. Another thing I hate is that whoever seems to acquire the power is absolutely certain that society will abhor them if they so much as mention it breezily to a friend or family member.

      “I can spew fire from my mouth? Oh no, how terrible! Having the ability to make instant s’mores is horrible! No one will accept me! I wish I was normal again!”

      Why don’t we try: “Hey I can spew fire from my mouth! I’m going to go show off to all my friends and tease them mercilessly for being so lame!”

  25. I’m actually really sick of happy endings. I really want characters to die at the end of stories. If they are fluffy, and puffy and no mauling or mincing characters, then they kill me.

    • Really, though. Happy endings are too predictable and just not any fun. Though sometimes I feel like it’s just my being a writer myself that makes me feel like a story’s not right unless you kill off all its characters. Do you share the feeling?

  26. When the protagonist makes it big, becomes a total jerk, loses the girl, then becomes aware of the error of his ways, makes amends, and wins her back. Happens way too freaking often in movies and makes me want to vomit every time.

  27. Everything’s almost becoming cliché at this point. It’s difficult to get something in teenage fiction that isn’t completely cliché. I’m guilty of it myself- as much as I hate clichés. They’re hard to avoid sometimes, but 10 of the worst- in my opinion- are:

    1) that totally “I can’t love you because you’ll get hurt” hero or heroine.

    2) the “I don’t care if I die because I’d die for you anyway because I love you so much” that follows the above

    3) “I love you even though I haven’t even spoken to you!” Ah love at first sight… Can someone please explain to these people the difference between love and raging teenage horomones?

    4) “I love you even though we only said four words and that was to introduce ourselves four pages ago!” The age old dilemma of love vs. lust. And they still end up together?! So all these guys have a thing for stalkers or something?!

    5) “I love you even though I’m mistaking love for lust and I’m going to end up cheating on you with your best friend and you’ll get all heartbroken and then find someone even better and everything will be perfect!” Enough said.

    6) the above only ending with “You’ll get back together with me and we’ll have beautiful babies and everything will be perfect until you catch me with your best friend again after the epilogue because all of the readers know it’ll happen!” Again, enough said.

    7) “I cried a single tear” That single tear seems to happen a lot people- don’t deny it. How many times until the world takes a collective groan when a single drop of water comes out of the eye and down a hero or heroine’s cheek? I think you’d be doing a bit more if your family or quote-unquote “love of your life” died.

    8) That clichéd “Perfect ending.” Can we get some realism in here people? Who gets that happy ending in 400 pages?

    9) The opposite of the above. The other cliché is that authors go completely the other way to avoid the number 8 cliché and just kill everyone off needlessly (see my comment about the senseless murder of poor Primrose Everdeen) just to make the story sad. Aw, muffin. We don’t need you to drop a bomb on everyone and have one person emerge from the dust to completely lose his/her mind trying to rebuild society thank you. (basically I’m done with dystopia. It’s overdone in my opinion)

    10) Last, but certainly not least, the overly-done bad boy cliché. Not every girl falls for the guy who fails school and whisks her away for a ride on his motorcycle. She doesn’t always need the guy with the tattoos and the black leather and the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. She doesn’t need to make him a “great guy” in the end because “she’s all he really wanted”. Good Girl by Carrie Underwood people?! You don’t know where that boy’s been! (yes, this goes for that jock and nerd thing too. Are there no other couples in your old high school or something?!)

    So yeah 🙂 Those are some of the worst ones in my opinion. That isn’t to say that I’m not guilty of some of these myself- some of them do actually fit into a decent story. But when a cliché is the ENTIRE story there is a problem.

    P.S. Yes, most of these center around romance. That tends to be where writing gets the most clichéd, from what I’ve read.

  28. I’m 100% done with all the queer characters and POCs being killed off as motivation for the white, straight protag.

    • We stand in the flames, watching the fragments of the burning writing fly into the air. A love triangle of some overused arrangement drifts past your face as it drifts with the cinders until it is consumed entirely.

      We have done a good thing today, but we must also mourn the passing of these cliches. They held our stories together when we were still into the trashy romance novels, they guided our writing when we lived on the one dollar paperbacks in the mystery aisle. We will keep them in memory even as we swear to never use them again.

      Except when we’re being funny.

  29. The ones with the overly emotional teenage girls that think they found their true love…. Yuck! So boring!

  30. You know, I sort of despise the character profile of “strong female lead”. They have a whole category for that on Netflix, and that alone is enough to make me cringe. If you have a female lead, she doesn’t HAVE to be strong; she can be weak, she can be motherly, she can be fiery, she can be haughty, she can be headstrong, or maybe, just maybe, she can be intricate combinations of the above traits and/or many more, creating a round, realistic, BELIEVABLE character.

    Please, stop with strong female leads, and just make FEMALE leads.

  31. Oh! I have another one! How about the fact that not only are queer protagonists confined to the “Gay and Lesbian” section, but also to raunchy romances?

  32. Last one, I swear:

    “I hungrily kissed him”, “hungrily sought out her lips” and other variations thereof. There are different ways of describing kissing without using “hungrily”.

    Please. It infuriates me.

  33. Love Triangles with a side of Jerk fries. For the love of literature, Love Triangles need to stop especially when there is a bigger plot that could be given more attention. Most times there is a bigger plot outside the love.

    I also can’t stand it when MCs fall in love with jerks. It shows lack of self-worth and respect. Like for example in ‘Fallen’ the love interest flips off the MC the first time she sees him. What does she do? She stalks, obsesses, and falls in love with him. This is not a ‘normal’ response to someone who flips you the bird and tells you to go away. Nor a healthy one. I hate it all the more when a perfectly sweet, kind-hearted, loving guy is vying for the MC’s affection, alongside said Jerk. Who do they choose? The Jerk of course, doesn’t everybody? -_- This plot device might as well be flying up in space because it has zero grounds on reality. Even Joker, knows to act nice to Harley Quinn once in awhile, and make her laugh, so he can manipulate her.

    There is a difference between a bad boy with a heart of gold, (The Breakfast Club-John Bender) and a rude disrespectful jerk with no redeeming qualities. I also don’t like it when ‘reincarnated true love’,’it was for your own good’, ‘I’m dangerous’, is used as an excuse because the Jerk continuously leads the MC on anyway.

  34. I have too many to think of, but mainly these.

    1. Kidnapper supernaturals. I’ve seen this in a variety of ways, but I despised the ways hat I read. Heck, I couldn’t even get through one book because of the sheer cheesiness of it.

    2. Girl boy boy love circles. No more needs to be said, but I will say more. Why can’t it be girl boy girl, or boy girl girl or boy boy boy or girl girl girl or any combination thereof?

    3. The love interest being a jerk. Why can’t s/he just be a nice person?

    4. Too much whining by the female lead.

    5. Not many LGTB+ books that don’t focus on romance and sexuality. How about an action adventure with all the main characters being not straight? How about that? It would make a very refreshing change.

    6. Happy endings for everyone. (But the villian). Nuh-uh. Save that for Disney, if you don’t mind. How about the villian gets happy ending?

    That’s all I can think of, at least for now.

  35. So… Where to start…

    1. This has been brought up a lot, but when the guy gets the girl. I suppose one solution is that the guy DOESN’T get the girl, but I also think that it would be nice if the guy did get the girl and then they broke up and DIDN’T GET BACK TOGETHER. That would make it a lot more realistic.

    2. Love triangles! Another thing that’s been brought up a lot! There are so many pointless love triangles out there that if you added up all the people in them, there would probably be more than the entire population of the world! Everyone knows how they’ll end, so really they’re just to create drama. There are better, more creative ways to create drama.

    3. The characters who just suddenly meet and then they fall in love and live happily ever after. Only about one fifth of the world’s population actually marries their first love, whereas in books, if characters do break up, they always get back together, as long as they’re the main characters.

    4. Everyone being straight except for that one character who likes the one person he ‘could never have’. Can’t you make the gay guy or lesbian girl have a remotely happy life for once? You don’t have to torture them!

    5. Let’s take a look, shall we…

    The Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series: Percy/friends against Kronos or Gaea.

    The Mortal Instruments series: Clary/friends against Valentine.

    The Divergent trilogy: Tris/friends against Erudite.

    The Hunger Games trilogy: Katniss/friends against the Capitol.

    The Harry Potter series: Harry/friends against Voldemort/followers.

    Now, why don’t we count them up? Number of total series mentioned: 5; Number of teenage protagonists: 5; Number of adult antagonists: 5.

    Wow, would you look at that! Teens are pretty powerful nowadays, aren’t they? Guess we should just take over the world!

    No. Why do people insist on reading/writing about teenagers beating grown-ups? Yeah, grown-ups can be annoying, and yeah, we all want to believe that we’re powerful, but COME ON!

    These are my three big ones. I’ll probably think of more.

  36. Am I the only one whose tired of all books dealing with werewolves there is always a vampire somewhere or the hero is a total alpha male jerk?

  37. I can’t really think of a cliche of my own that hasn’t already been said but I noticed a lot of people saying they hated stories where the guy gets the girl so I wanted to ask everyone’s opinion on something:
    How about a story where the guy meets a girl that he’s known for a few years doing something he didn’t realise she was interested in and sees her in a new light. Where they date for a few months and then fall in love. Where they argue sometimes, not about big things like cheating just normal arguments that people who spend a lot of time together will have. Where one of them is maybe a little too clingy but they work it out, they’re happy. Where it isn’t all perfect, there are things to solve between them, but to them it is perfect. Where she supports him with his depression as best she can and really does help him but of course people can’t be fixed at the click of your fingers. Where they don’t break up and get back together pointlessly a dozen times but stick by each other for as long as the relationship is good. Where they laugh together and make a great team.
    And where all of this occurs in amongst the main drama of the story instead of the romance having to create its own drama with love triangles and stuff like that.

  38. HEY, how about the flipping teen love drama in those STUPID cringe worthy preteen books?
    Pretty popular blonde girl who is full of herself with a clique v. The anonymously pretty brunette girl who can’t fend for herself BECAUSE OF ONE GUY!
    Woman up, females! You’re teenagers! It ISN’T like we need to go all ADAM & EVE again, am I right?
    How about this: CHANGE IT UP! Even I have to think hard for something different in this.

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