Friday, August 2, 2019

Favorite and Least Favorite Tropes in YA Fantasy

This post is brought to you by Next Door Neighbor Brain.

What's Next Door Neighbor Brain, you ask? Next Door Neighbor Brain is when you're trying to write a blog post at 7:30 AM, but your next door neighbor decides to start using a jackhammer, thereby inducing a headache, difficulty focusing, and thoughts of murder. (they're actually pretty chill neighbors aside from this, though, so it's okay. I'll forgive them after I drink some caffeine)

Because of this, today's post is going to be a little different. I'm going to list my fav and least fav YA Fantasy tropes in no particular order and with zero explanation. Let's go:

Favorite and Least Favorite Tropes in YA Fantasy

Fav: Over-powered heroes. 

Least fav: One character "romantically" stalking another character. 

Fav: A character pulling an impossible number of weapons off of their person during the disarming process. 

Least fav: Love triangles. 

Fav: Antagonist turned ally. 

Least fav: Medieval European world-building. 

Fav: Old warrior coming out of retirement to begrudgingly help the hero. 

Least fav: The female character having to best a male character to prove her awesomeness. 

Fav: Traumatic past being slowly revealed over time. 

Least fav: A character becoming instantly good at sword-fighting after practicing for a night. 

Fav: A character becoming instantly good at sword-fighting after practicing for a night.  

Least fav: Every male character being either completely stoic or a lady killer. 

Fav: A character out to avenge a fallen family member or friend. 

Least fav: Conveniently absent parents. 

Fav: Secret royalty. 

Least fav: Forced marriage. 

Fav: Characters participating in a dangerous competition or game to prove worthiness to their society. 

Least fav: Circular Reasoning Villain. AKA: The bad guy that's bad because he does bad things. 

Fav: Magical academies. 

Least fav: Female character not realizing how beautiful she is. 

Fav: The loner character who slowly gains friends. 

Least fav: The loner character who's new-found friend dies to provide character motivation. 

Fav: Assassin/mercenary/warrior who is feared throughout the land. 

Least fav: The handsome brooding bad boy. 

Fav: Dragons. 

I could keep going, but I'm going to stop because, well. Dragons are awesome and seem like a fitting end to a post.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite tropes within YA Fantasy? I'd love to hear 'em!

Related articles:
PFW Podcast Episode 17: How to Utilize Tropes in Speculative Fiction
7 Cliché Characters in YA Fiction That Need to Stop

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  1. DRAGONS. I love dragons. Also, I LOVE the Antagonist turned Ally. My favorite dragon is probably Eustace, because he combines my love of characters arcs (the bigger the arc, the better) and dragons.
    I love almost all of the fav
    tropes though. I'm not sure anyone likes love triangles, they make me want to punch someone (in the book)

    1. YESSS. Dragons are the best and Eustace's character arc is amazing. I'm also a huge fan of the dragons in the Eragon series....And the Dragon School series.

      I cracked up at your love triangle commentary. I feel the same way. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Yes! DRAGONS! They need no explanation because dragons are just amazing in their own right. Lol. The handsome brooding boy... *shakes head*. I don't think I could write one if I tried. That would require me to be serious and my male characters seem to have a hard time being serious. Well... that not's entirely correct. There are a few that are serious, but I wouldn't call them brooding. Too much like Anakin.

  3. I love the trope where they just keep pulling out an illogical amount of weapons, but TBH I love that in any genre. AND YES FOR TRAUMATIC PASTS!
    I don't like generic European world-building, but if it's in a weird or super specific area? (IE Russia, Norway, etc) IT'S A YES FROM ME IN THAT CASE.
    AND ASSASSINS! *heart eyes*

  4. Magical academies and dragons are also some of my favorites, though I don't actually care for the secretly royalty trope. Another trope I like is when characters accidentally get turned into an animal and engage on a quest to turn back.

  5. Okay I agree with like all of these. Did you read my mind???? 😉

  6. Dragons are ALWAYS a fitting end to a post. Dragons are my favorite mythical creatures, as well as my obsession and the driving force of my fantasy worldbuilding. I love them a lot.
    I am not, however, a fan of overpowered heros. I much prefer the weaker ones.
    The instantly becomes a super good sword fighter after practicing for a night one is...interesting. I read a book series once where that happened for, I believe, all the main characters. And they didn't just become really good in a night (okay it was more like several months, but in one or two paragraphs), they became the best in the land and no one could defeat them. I have problems with that.

  7. I am actually not a fan of the thing where the antihero becomes a good guy, because the allure of an antihero is that they're morally grey and not attached, and I always feel like when they change sides they get all wishy-washy and their character is ruined.

    1. Except Loki - you're never entirely sure which side he's on at any given moment!

  8. Aspiring author here. Can you do reasons for these and explain some of them? What defines an 'over-powered hero' and why is it the first fav you thought of? Why's it good?

    Why is becoming a master swordsman overnight both good and bad? Why is Medieval European fantasy world-building a 'bad?' Going to guess the last one is because it has been done so much it may as well be a cliche. What world-building do you or readers want? I think steampunk is in vogue right now, but is that a good area to start?

    Last question. When people say love triangle, they're usually talking about a Katniss/Gale/Peeta, or Bella/Edward/Jacob. Can't think of any M/F/F examples. But what about a triangle where everyone is pursuing everybody else? Less a triangle with clearly defined points and more of a circle. Like Professor Marston and the Wonder Women?

    Just so you know I read these posts for advice and training. I'm always hungry for a chance to hone my craft and raise the quality of my work.

  9. "Least fav: A character becoming instantly good at sword-fighting after practicing for a night.
    Fav: A character becoming instantly good at sword-fighting after practicing for a night. "

    lol, same! XD

  10. One of my favs is when a character everyone thought was evil turns out to be good, but only when it's done right like Itachi Uchiha in Naruto.

  11. Ok, just for the record, i am an aspiring author so its not that i can answer to your questions and its beem a month since your comment and i dont know of you are going to read this, but it you do, mind that you are writing what you like, not what people like. Remember Shakespeare? He wrote hundreds of sonets and nobody gave him a bit of attention but when he started writing his tragedies, he became one of the greatest writers of all times. That was what he wanted to write, after all. So just write what you want, dont give a damn for the other, if you do things with passion, you're going to succeed. I include love triangles in my story, i include villains becoming allys, i use tropes that people may hate, but is my story. And i trully believe that if you write what you love and love what you write, you can turn those tropes they hate into their favourites.

  12. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keeps us to date like this .thank you for sharing.

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