author, backstory, character, character development, female character, love, love interest, love story, male character, manga, novel, novel writer, novel writing, romance, romance writing, story, writer, writing, yaoi
I’ve already written several posts on my blog about tired old romance clichés such as love at first sight or love triangles and how they usually don’t work unless they are handled in the right way by a good writer. I have put together a list of other love stories that I also hate and want to see less of. If you have any of these in your own novel then it might be time for some re-writes.
- Love Conquers All…Somehow
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all over stories where the power of love wins through despite all odds. But when the day is saved with no explanation other than ‘its true love’, or if this is the only justification for a couple getting together, that’s just lazy writing.
- Love Cures All Tragic Backstories
Not to mention all phobias and mental illnesses. A supportive partner can help somebody to deal with these issues but they can’t make them magically go away completely. It is much better to see a love interest helping someone learn to live with whatever troubles them rather than making them forget about it completely and live in a world of sunshine and flowers.
- Hate Turns to Love
Once again, I feel this is a plot which can kind of work if it is done in just the right way, but it is rare to see it pulled off successfully. There needs to be a legitimate reason why the couple stops hating each other and begins to like each other but many stories skip straight over this necessary development. Most of the time, I feel like it is a way to draw out unnecessary conflict.
- He Was a Boy, She Was a Girl
This is the idea that a boy and a girl are going to be romantically involved only because they appear in a story together. Especially horrible is when the only female character in the whole story is expected to get together with the male hero, no matter how badly suited they are to each other. Just because centuries of outdated storytelling says that the woman is expected to be the love interest, it doesn’t mean that she should be.
- The Only Two Gays in the Universe
Or the fictional universe at least. This is a version of the above mentioned trope when the token gay character gets together or at least flirts with the only other gay character in the story. They’re gay so they have to like each other, right? Even if being gay cuts down the number of potential love interests for them, that doesn’t mean they have to hook up with somebody just because their sexualities happen to match up.
- The Yaoi Principle
I call it this because it seems to show up a lot in yaoi manga, but it appears in other media too. This is when a guy falls in love with another guy (or a girl for another girl, but it is usually the male example) despite having no prior attraction to any other men. There’s nothing technically wrong with this because sexuality is a complex thing and apparently it can happen in real life. I know a few women who I would happily throw away my heterosexuality for. But these stories are never about the guy coming to terms with being bisexual or labelling himself as such. It’s still ‘I’m in love with a man but I’m still technically straight so it’s all ok. No need to panic, Middle America!’ It is starting to dwindle even in yaoi manga but still crops up far too much for my liking.
- Give Up the Dream Job For Love
Usually tied in to the ‘chasing someone through the airport’ ending, which I have also put on my list of clichés which really must die. I hate it when a woman (yes, it’s still always a woman) gives up a dream job which most people would kill for and which she’s been working hard on for years for the sake of love. Too many writers still haven’t realised that settling down isn’t the ideal ending for every woman or the end of her career goals.
What love stories or romance tropes do you think are overdone or should never have existed to begin with? Which are most likely to turn you completely off of a love story?