Seriously. I can can roll with most writing fads.
Sparkly undead people.
Ghosts of ex-lovers past.
Crushed worlds and uprisings.
Quests and quirky characters.
High school drama fests.
Infuriating love triangles.
I can get behind most of them, grow to adore them, or at least learn to love some of them–published or hanging out there on the inter-webs. But there are few fads that are springing up, that I can’t support and that actually have me grimacing and trying to find something else to read despite the tons of readers and reviewers opinions (and sometimes question these individuals’ sanity).
*These are just my opinions, some might change over time. Others will be robust and unwavering. No offense is meant in the slightest. I don’t mind agreeing to disagree. I even like a few stories that are fad-worthy.
Case 1: Teacher’s Pet-peeve
This seems to have spread like some type of rumor through high school hallways. This whole sleeping with your teacher/relationship with your teacher fad has my stomach churning. Maybe I am just getting picky and judgemental in my old age (which isn’t that old at all in the grand scheme of things). Okay, I could see it being exciting to read about…the ultimate forbidden love. People are entitled to their guilty pleasures and fantasies. If someone says they haven’t crushed on one of their teachers or TA’s at one point in their life it is quite possible they are lying through their teeth. I get that.
But honestly, honestly–it is not cool. Not to mention against the law. Some of you may or may not know, but I’m a teacher. Albeit a young one. One who also has seen area schools plagued with news and media due to others bad personal decisions. I know not all of the culprits (stories) are published per say, therefore they aren’t necessarily advocating this to be a norm or practiced behavior. Creative license and freedom of speech and all that. No one is forcing anyone to read them. It’s just the sheer volume and ways I’ve been seeing this element work into plots, or a barrage of titles…well, like I said. It’s just not my cup of tea.
The Solution: Make it a jock, a loner, handsome prince, some older guy or gal at work, the cat lady next door. Tutor. Just not a teacher. Please.
Case 2: Oh, Brother
Siblings should be off-limits too. I know, I know–most of these stories floating around involve some brooding or wild acting up daughter who’s reeling from her parent’s divorce or a parental re-marriage. Heck, very rarely is it an actual blood sibling that said girl is involved with. More often than not it’s an “oh crap, my step-brother is hot” realization. Or even the occasional, I totally hooked up with this guy at a party where I was trying to drink away my sorrows, and now I met my dad’s new wife and he is her SON! Someone up there hates me. Gasp.
I am all for allowing realistic parental separations or remarriages to shape a plot. They can be very effective when used not as a way to introduce a love interest. I know the numbers for divorce have risen over the years (unfortunately) but I don’t think the proportion of hot step-siblings has fluctuated quite as much. And if you broke up with said sibling…you would be trapped. You LIVE with them…depending on ages and all that. Let’s not even get started on that facet. Again, I’m sure it happens now and then, and perhaps feeds into some other crazy fantasy, but realistically. No. Not as far as I know.
The Solution: Instead of going all incestuous Brady Bunch, try for the boy next door, new neighbors, foreign exchange student or heck–if you must–the step-brother’s best friend.
Case 3: One, two, three, four, five’s Company. Not a Crowd.
This one is less a forbidden, more I’m just seeing it get over used some. Not all in all a bad thing, but a little unsettling. McFarlands, Westfords, Matthews…and let the parade of last names go on and on. I like big families, siblings, happily ever together afters–I am a sucker for Cheaper by the Dozen. But some tragic event leading up to a girl being surrounded by a family of boys, including a crush, while a totally interesting plot element lacks some realism. I know a few writers that pull this off quite well, but this is usually through a series element, not all at once.
I know that seems to be a common trend with me. I love using books to escape as much as the next person. I promise. But when I can’t keep track of all these boys names being paraded by me (because undeniably they will all begin with the SAME letter) the nifty element, potential life growth and romance gets buried like homework under a pile of smelly laundry.
The Solution: Pick one or two of these guys and twist the plot a little more to make them stand out amongst the clan. Or make them live in a hotel or hostel or boarding house, or something else than one big, cohesive family unit. That, or practice your characterization and redistribute your realism. If I believe it, I can get behind it.
Any recent trends or fads that I seemed to have missed out on that you feel should earn their place on the list? Let me know.