I am addicted to downloading ebooks. I admit… I have a problem. I scour the discount and free ebook blogs, looking for new-to-me authors with interesting stories.
I’m making some fun discoveries about myself as I read through so many book descriptions.
When I was young, I read ANYTHING I could get my hands on. The selection was limited in our small town library and I was hungry for stories. I read books with any plot whatsoever. Good, bad, new, tired… didn’t matter.
Now that I have so much choice available to me, I’m getting more picky about the storylines I choose.
I’ve identified some plots/tropes that seem tired to me. If a book included one of these, it would have to be AMAZING for me to read it.
Navy SEALS are awesome. Alpha males with great physical skills completing impossible, secret missions around the world… what’s not to love?
However…. did you know that there are many other types of Special Operation Forces in the US? We have Army Rangers, Delta Force, Night Stalkers, and Green Berets. There are lots more that don’t have a catchy nickname; they are known by their regiment or brigade name.
Please, writers, think beyond the SEALS. There’s a big world of alpha males out there, waiting for their own stories.
Teens Who Save the World
It seems like nearly every YA book I run across has a teen girl who finds out she has special blood/ancestors/powers/senses and she must save the world from the ultimate evil.
Also, everybody wants to capture/love/possess/kill her.
I recognize that this is a popular theme for teenagers. Everyone wants to be special and the fantasy of discovering you are unique is a heady one.
But really… does every teen girl need to save the world? Is it realistic that her elven/fairy/vampire blood is going to make her desirable to every human on the planet?
I’d like to see stories where the teens have to deal with smaller problems, where they aren’t universally desired or sought after.
Then again, I’m not the target audience for these stories any more, so the current storylines may be perfect for today’s teenagers.
The Woman Warrior
A common theme, especially in fantasy or historical romances, is that of the woman warrior who can best any man in combat. Doesn’t matter if he’s a large, strongly-built warrior – she can beat him.
Really, writers? This is not realistic at all. Women are not physically built for combat, and even rigorous training will not allow her to beat a larger man who’s also had training.
This isn’t sexist. It’s a matter of biology.
Today’s Special Operations is the modern equivalent of the warriors of old. We don’t have any women in the Special Operations Forces. They can’t pass the physical tests, no matter how physically fit they are. It has been tried, many times, and a woman just can’t do it.
Now, she might be able to win with guile or trickery or if she has superpowers. Just not in a one-on-one physical fight against a large or well-trained man. Physics and biology are against her.
The Woman Raised as a Man
This trope often goes with the Woman Warrior. Raised like a boy to fight like a man.
Again, this is common in fantasy or historical romances. Maybe the heroine’s father always wanted a boy or the girl wants the freedom that a man has. So she can ride, fight and argue just like a man. She often refuses to even act like a woman – wear dresses or perform common female activities and roles for the culture or era.
What’s wrong with being a woman? Woman are strong, caring, intelligent, generous, kind… We have our own strengths.
I don’t enjoy stories about women who have to become men to accomplish their goals. I want to read stories about women who use their feminine strengths to get their man, defeat the evil villain, and save the world.
Those are my pet peeves in stories today.
What are yours?