Yep, Faith Wrote That Book//Or a List of My Most Commonly Used Fictional Tropes!

by - May 17, 2019

Hello! So with summer upon us (at least for me, haha), I figured it was time for a more GENERAL writing post than just my little writing updates. xD

This post was inspired by my dear friend Christine's recent post about seven things that she always puts in her stories.

1. Good vs. evil/light vs. dark

This is a must-have for my works! I always have a clear-cut villain and a clear-cut hero, even if there's complexities to them and deeper issues of morality going on. I want there to be a clear spot of light. I want beauty and goodness to triumph. And so, even if I have lots of antiheroes, I'm going to have good and evil as the main foes and the good will always win. Because hope. 

2. A particular kind of male lead

As I've been looking at it, I've found that all my male leads hit most of the following: 
  • Sassy
  • Tall
  • Have messy hair
  • Wear the same clothes every day
  • Probably either don't have parents or have The Worst parents
  • A Sense of Justice
  • Antiheroic tendencies (like "I will protect this particular hooman but not choose a side")
  • Good at heart even if they're super conflicted
  • NOT necessarily the love interest (or at the very least, don't START OUT as the love interest)
  • Also: did I mention SASSY
I don't do this on purpose! And I'm planning to break this on a future WIP where the male lead is going to be an actual cinnamon roll and ray of sunshine whilst his sister is the sassy one who murders everyone and is antiheroic xD But it happens. Rishatta, Lucas, Tomas (someone from the Super Secret Project),  Jonathan (from another story that's really little more than a vague idea in my head), and Keo (from yet another story that I'm actually really excited to write someday but WHO KNOWS when that will be) all fall into most of the categories on this list.

3. Villains who are just BAD for the sake of being bad

I read the Inkheart series last year, and one thing that I loved about that series was the fact that Capricorn, the main baddie, and Basta, his underling, were just bad because they wanted to be. They weren't particularly well-motivated--they were villains because they were. And for some reason, I love that. XD (I may or may not have completely copied the Inkheart villains in my own Pentegreen series, completely unintentionally and before reading the book xD I'll let you all make of that what you will.) 

Basically: Sometimes the villain doesn't have to have a real reason for being bad! Sometimes, they just ARE! I tried to balance this out by giving reasons for some of my villains to be doing what they are. For example, my spoiler villain in my series does what he does in order to protect someone he loves, even if he'd really rather not. But a lot of my villains are going to be not quite as human as my other characters, because...going back to the light vs. dark thing, it really helps the good guys to stand out! xD

4. Antiheroes and grey loyalties

Much as I love good and evil, I also love me some complexity! My Pentegreen series has a particular pair of characters struggling with loyalty, betrayal, and their own temptations throughout the series. At the current moment, one of them is trying to follow the light, even though they don't agree with the good guys on everything and have lots of fears. The other one is...a bit of a mess.

I like to make there be obvious good sides and bad sides, but then the characters all go all over the spectrum as individuals (except for the ones who HAVE to stay on one side because they are Good or Bad. They can't move) and have to decide who they'll be and what they're going to do. I love complex characters, and issues of morality and loyalty are my favorite way to explore that. 


*cough* *cough* I mean...

(yes I do kill at least 5 characters in the Pentegreen series and my protagonist dies in at least two of my stories and...yeah.) 

But I promise I'm very kind! 

6. A particular kind of female lead

My female leads are usually: 
  • The unequivocally good one
  • Really scared but Trying
  • Bad at hiding 
  • an introvert
  • kind of abrasive
  • Bad at making friends but fiercely loyal to the few friends they have
This one is less of a RULE than the male leads, but for some reason my protagonists tend to come out like this?

7. 3rd person limited, past tense, with a BUNCH of POVs.

Pentegreens book 3 has 7 POVs. 7. I kid you not. 

I've written one book in 1st person, present tense (Watched), and while I kind of enjoy it, my go-to is 3rd person limited. It makes it so much easier to switch POVs when I feel like it. Although I will say that all the flash-fiction I've written is in the 1st person. (Or at least most of it is). 

8. Ending with a cliffhanger

I literally don't know how to end books. They all end in cliffhangers. Every one of them. It's fortunate that I already know the last scene and the last sentence of Pentegreens Book 4 or y'all would never stop getting them. I can't do this. Why does anyone trust me to write books.

9. Character-driven stuff!

Which usually means my stories are plotless, pointless drivel. *points at Pentegreens book 3* 120k and NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!!! NOTHING!!!!!! You stupid kids and your ANGST! 

But at the same time...I find most plot-driven stuff boring, because if I don't care about the characters and stuff is just Happening, I'll lose interest pretty quick. 

10. The ridiculously sassy best friend character

Listen, I don't do this stuff on purpose, I swear. But my protagonist's bestie usually ends up being a sassmaster and it's probably a bad thing xD 

Case in point: Kariana in Pentegreens and Jeannie in Watched. Also Lecksie, who will be a character in the probably-will-never-be-written Bernathel novella and who will be beyond sassy. I already have a scene planned where she's going to sass a Particular Character who most people just KNOW that it's not okay to sass. And she has no chill, so she does it. (Note: that was in fact a pun.) I'm going to stop now...

So there you have it! My top ten--I don't know that they're TROPES, but they're things that I tend to reuse over and over in my own writing. What are some of the things you tend to use in your writing? Do any of these sound like you? Chat with me in the comments!

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  1. Ohhh!! You did it! (Yes, I read comments, sooo I sorta saw you mention this on Christine's blog! ^^)

    1 and 4 are definitely me!!

    I used to think I'd never write antiheros, but I'm beginning to realize that most of the works I've written have had antiheros in them.

    Speaking of books, your book The Winter's Chill has an aesthetic that reminds me of a certain something I'm plotting right now and hope to start writing after I'm finished with my current writing project. It's called Mindspeech. And there's a guy named Raven in there who reminds me of some of your characters!!

    I need to be quiet before I spill of the beans. LOL

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post!!

    ~ Lily Cat (Boots) |

    1. Ahhh that's awesome! <3

      Excellent. *smirks*

      Antiheroes are some of those characters that just sorta sneak their way into everything xD

      Ahhhh that's so cool!!!!!! Your story sounds awesome :D

      Thanks! And thank YOU for reading it! <3

  2. OOFFFF- I loved how you made your own list of your female leads.

    All of these points were really good (and very funny). I've always felt so frustrated by grey loyalties. Like, I really want to root for these bubs...but just because you're on the 'good side' doesn't mean you're a good person. I really don't like when the protagonist has really sketchy morals.

    Stupid teenager angst....I'm dying ><

    1. Lol, thanks!

      I live to amuse. *bows* And oh GOSH yes. Like it's so HARD but also GREY LOYALTIES xD I don't like it in the protagonist, but in the side characters...YES. ALLLLL THE GREYNESS.

      >< XD

  3. EEEEEE!!! You did a post like this yay!!! I was hoping you would! :D And I LOVE LIKE ALL OF THESE.

    Light vs. Dark is one of my most favorite things. Obviously. Since it was on my list too! I mean, it's kind of the basis of our purpose here--to spread God's light. So I don't care of it's "cliche". It's important!

    Okay, but your particular type of male lead is like my FAVE. I loooooooooove the sassy sort of good but sort of an antihero conflicted disaster sons. LOVE. I will never, ever complain about your books having them because I never get tired of this type. GIMME ALL OF 'EM!

    I also love those grey area and antiheroes and yes yes yes! Wading through the complex subjects and people is SO. MUCH. FUN.

    I won't even comment on #5. >.>

    I also toootally love your female lead type. Little scared cinnamon rolls of loyalty and sass. I mean, really now. What's not to love? THEY ARE PRECIOUS.

    I'm absolutely a 3rd person, past tense, multiple POVs person too! For NaNo '17 I wrote a novel that, though it was still 3rd person, past tense, had only ONE POV and it was WEIRD. I like jumping from one person to the next much more! Hehe.

    Cliffhanger endings are so much fun to write! Even if they're paaaainful for us readers! :P

    SASSY BEST FRIENDS YAS. GIMME. And waaaaait. A Bernathel novella with a sassy best friend? I NEED DIS, FAITH. NEED. That sounds glorious!

    There is good reason I absolutely love your stories. You bring in so many elements I ADORE. And I don't think these are tropes. They're just different elements and styles. And AWESOME ones! :D Thanks for shariiing!

    1. AHHH I'M SO GLAD!!!!!!

      I can't avoid it! *shrugs* and I wouldn't want to. It's so helpful and makes my writing feel like maybe it's worth it xD Even if I'm kinda heavy-handed with it sometimes.

      YAASSSS this makes me so happy xD I love them too! And I feel like there will never be enough of them! XD

      Complexities is my favorite thing and that is all. xD

      yeahhhhh...probably shouldn't have mentioned that one. *whistles innocently*

      Awwww thank you so much! I love them a bit myself. ;)

      OH THAT IS ALWAYS SO WEIRD. *shudders* I need my head hopping or it just doesn't work xD

      Yes! I love the cliffhangers!!!!!! GIVE ME ALL OF THEM!!!!!!!!

      YASSSSSS <3 And yeah, I have no idea when that one will be written, but it's potential and I'm trying really really hard to brainstorm it xD We'll see how that goes. *rolls eyes*

      AHHHH THANK YOU CHRISTINE YOU ARE THE ABSOLUTE SWEETEST *hugs* Thank you for reading! And you're so welcome! <3

  4. so cool!! a very good idea for a post!! let me try ...

    things you'll find in my books a lot:

    1. people who have a deep underlying fear of never being good enough (basically the protagonist. probably reflects on my deep fears lol)
    2. queens (idk why if I ever have a KING I have to specifically make myself create a king on purpose. Queens just COME TO ME.)
    3. ships that I never ship because I created them and they just are and I don't ship them because I put them together
    4. pragmatic heroines ... usually semi-quiet, serious eyed, deep thinkers, sincere, and smart
    5. strong brother-sister relationships
    6. superheroes with strange powers that are not heroic (lately I have come up with a lot of these)
    7. villains that break the villain tropes by being a) whiny like 3 yr olds, or b) incredibly friendly looking, normal acting, and deadly patient
    8. basically trying to flip every cliche ever and SURPRISE EVERYONE
    9. slow burn romance
    10. me cutting off the book before the romance actually gets to the best part (and thus evilly leaving it up to your imaginations mwahahahaaa)

    also spoiler 11. me planning everyone's futures and families and grandchildren and thus knowing how EVERYTHING ends but telling you none of it!!

    1. Oh my word I love ALLL of these! Queens especially--I'll always love me a good queen character ;) And that's so interesting about your ships! I ship my own characters hardcore but that's because I always write forbidden love and anxiety-ridden balls of stress who won't confess to their feelings so...yeah. xD AND SLOW BURNS AND CLICHE FLIPPING!!!! Aka my favorite elements of ever. <3

      AGH I DO THAT TOO (#11, that is.) It's just so much fun!!!!!

  5. Yas Rish is so sassy. It's awesome. XD

    1. Ahhhh I'm so glad you think so! XD I love him.

  6. These are all great! (And heck yes, Rishatta's sass is amazing. <33 ;) )

    Hehe *cough* I really like to use the conflicted-boy-character-who-probably-has-a-redemption-arc trope. Whoops. XD

    1. Glad you think so! (And agh thank you xD)

      Oh I love that one so much!!!!! As you might know by now! XD

  7. Haha, I just think it's funny you right sassy guys .. I mean, that makes sense I guess? In that people love people with snark ;D

    I love a great villain, but I tend to rarely write a "real" villain. Usually my villain is more like an idea or something horrible that happened and everyone reacts accordingly. At times my MC may have a turn at being villain ;p

    1. Yes indeed xD Allll my guys are sassy. *sigh*

      That's so awesome though!!!!

  8. Ooh, I may have to steal, ahem, borrow this idea for a post of my own. I think it's interesting how all authors seem to have the same sorts of tropes and themes they return to over and over.

    1. Ooh I hope you will!!! And yeah, it's very interesting! Part of our personalities, I guess :D

  9. the male lead is going to be an actual cinnamon roll and ray of sunshine whilst his sister is the sassy one who murders everyone and is antiheroic << Now THAT reminds me of a certain brother/sister duo in my own writing. Vaguely. XD

    Great post! I'm impressed that you've managed to pick out all these similarities among your stories. 😂

    1. OOH THAT DOES REMIND ME OF YOUR BROTHER/SISTER DUO!!!!! *screams and flails even though I haven't yet read your book lol*

      Haha thank you!!!

  10. I have to steal this! XD
    I'm guilty of a lot of these. 2 and 4 are like my favorite troupes!

    1. *Palpatine voice* DO IT.

      They're some of my favorites too!!!!

  11. Oof, I love the idea of all of these! I honestly would read a book full of these tropes and fall deeply in love.
    Also, sassy guys in books = PERFECTION. *heart eyes*

  12. Intrigued by the ray of sunshine with the sassy sister who murders everyone. xD

    These are all great!! I think I kind of tend to write endearingly awkward guys who are pretty similar? Really working on making those characters different, because I love my awkward little dudes and they deserve to stand out from each other. xD

    And ooh, Faith, killing off your protagonists?? *pretends I don't have a story cooking that does the same thing*

    1. I am too, honestly XD I know nothing about the plot of that story except that it might be vaguely cool. :P

      YES! Oh, I love that type of boy <3

      Yeahhhh...*whistles innocently*

  13. #2 and #10 are always my fav. I just love those kinds of characters!!!

  14. What an interesting idea for a post! And I have nothing wrong with sassy male antiheroes. Nothing wrong at all.

    Let's see, things that I tend to use too much in my books?

    Royalty. There are a chock full ton of royal peeps in my books and either they hate it or they are actually fighting to become king/queen
    Assassins. Bad guys, good guys, guys in between. I have a lot of assassins in my stories XD
    Magic. I can't help myself! I go to write a fantasy and suddenly all of my characters have magical powers.
    Hate to love. I also cannot help myself there.

    The majority of my characters are sassy antiheores who say that they don't care but are actually bleeding hearts.

    And because I'm being completely candid I have one last trope that I tend to use A LOT in my fantasies and it is this: killing people only to find a way to bring them back afterwards #oops But you already know this XD

    Great post!

    1. Well, the initial idea was Christine's! So I stole it from her xD That's excellent to hear. Very excellent. *smirks*

      Royalty is fantastic, and so is assassins. And magic. I use all of those. My word, there's like forty thousand assassins running around in one of the later Pentegreen books. *weeps*

      I loooooove your sassy antiheroes, though! So <3333 KEEP AT IT

      I have no comment on that last one. *shakes head* Can I get Skye in here for comment?

      Thanks! <3

  15. Sassy best friends are great!!! (Though they can sometimes get annoying, actually...)

    7 POVs??? EPIC!!!!

    1. This is true, they can xD So I usually try to balance it out with lots of emotion and heart.


  16. *laughs* I could be one of your female leads. I fit all the descriptions. XD


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