Bookish Pet Peeves

We all have those tropes or events that makes us go "urgh". So why not list some of them here?

1. Love at first sight. Arguably the most annoying shit out there. I barely give it an ok if they're literal soulmates, and even then it's rare. And sure, it might be because I'm not a very romantic person, but I can't stand it. It alienates me immediately to the point where if there's nothing else that has really caught me in the story I'll stop reading. Because if the author can't spend time actually developing the relationship then have they really spent time on the plot and the world?

2. Lack of healthy female relationships. Either there's only one female character and she's the representation of the whole gender, or there's several and they're all fighting each other (usually over the attention of a guy). Here's an idea: how about looking around and mirror the relationships between females you see there. I have plenty of female friends and I don't fight anyone of them for a guy, or for some superficial non-issue. You know how you write male relationships? Try that template but just make the characters female.

3. Strong = cold and harsh. Apparently there's only one definition of "strong" and that's being cold, harsh, distant, and borderline (or not) violent. Some diversity in your "strong characters" please. I have plenty of strong friends of all genders and not one of them fits this description. I'm so sorry if yours does and I'd recommend finding some new ones if that's the case.

4. A warrior/assassin/battle lady who doesn't act like it. If your character isn't going to act like it, don't give her that profession. Sure, it's cool that your main character is an assassin, but if you're going to have her focus on the quality of her dresses and appearance instead of surviving that battle she's been forced into... then don't. Also, for the record, if she's the world's best assassin and everyone knows her name... she's not a very good assassin. Don't use professions that sound cool just because they sound cool, actually think about who your character is. (extra cookies to those who know which book/series I'm talking about.)

5. Toxic romance. Stop it with this crap, please. Possessiveness isn't cute or sexy; jealousy doesn't "spice up" a relationship. Abusiveness, stalking, general creepiness isn't healthy, nor okay. Stop feeding these monsters. It's not hard to write romance where people like each other, respect each other, and comprehends boundaries and consent.

6. Stupid women who are stupid because plot-armour. You know the type: written for the male gaze, damsel in distress trope, and/or whose world resolves around the male protagonist (hence can't be too intelligent, now can she?). I'm not saying that you have to write a perfect character who knows and does everything the best. But at least give her some agency, it's not that hard. Let her think, let her fuck up, let her fix it, deal with it, take the consequences. Let her have a life on her own, not one that only exists for the male protagonist.

7. "Cat fights". Literally never have I experienced the type of raw intent to hurt others or vindictiveness between females that you frequently find in literature and films/TV series. Not once. Just like guys, gals fight and get angry and resolve it, and move on. This might be a novelty experience, I admit, but even then, shouldn't you want to portray healthier relationships between females? Why is it that when there's a school setting there's always these ridiculous fights that has absolutely no purpose other than to fan the "girls are crazy and mean and only think about guys" flame. Just... be better.

8. Women who lose all agency as soon as there's a love interest. A woman who got stuff to do, and does it well and with a focused mind, and then as soon as there's a smexy dude 90% of the whole story is about him. All other things forgotten. I promise you that women can, in fact, think about other things than dudes, and even if we're having a crush then I can still promise you that we can still work towards our goals and think about the fucker.

9. Love triangles. I don't mind them, if they're well-done. But when they're forced in just to add drama I'd rather kill someone. If it doesn't add anything to the story, don't do it.

10. Being the best. When the main character has to be the best at something, for example if they're an assassin they have to be the best assassin in the world, or the genius scientist, and so on. You know, it's okay to not be the best at something right?

What are some of your bookish pet peeves?