Cringy Character Tropes

I have a few character tropes for heroines that kinda make me want to throw my Kindle at the

wall. I don't have anything really insightful to say about them--if you're an avid reader, you've come across these tropes a few times yourself, and have likewise come across people like me who are also irked by them. But I have to get these out of my system, so here goes.


Trope #1: The Short Fuse Chick

This protagonist is moody and angsty. Other than her one best friend who she confides in, she has a tendency to treat people like crap, especially the boy she has a crush on. She also tends to fall into teenage-cliches, such as perpetually being annoyed at her siblings and despising her parents. That is--if her parents are alive. Often her angst is attributed to the fact that one or both of her parents were killed when she was a kid. Her childhood is often tragic, but (in my humble opinion) no excuse to be a jerk to everyone all the time.


Trope #2: The Wet Blanket

This protagonist has no personality. Onwardly she may have original thoughts and clever ideas, but outwardly she is dull and has nothing interesting to say. Yet, for reasons unknown, men vie for her attention (think Bella from Twilight, here). She may be pretty, or plain in appearance...it doesn't matter. Despite her doldrum demeanor, she exudes some kind of pheromones that make every girl want to be her best friend and every guy want to be her boyfriend. Because of her mysterious desirability (which is in no way backed up by one iota of personality), these heroines are often involved in another annoying trope: love triangles.


Trope #3: The Immune Bad Ass

This protagonist wears leather pants, wields weaponry with the ease of an added appendage, has ninja fighting skills, drinks her coffee black, and would never be caught dead in a dress. Basically she's toxic masculinity with a vagina. She almost never loses a battle and has zero flaws, other than being emotionally unavailable and refusing to let anyone get close to her. Males in her world often serve as sidekicks to her badassery, or comic relief. Some feminist authors fall for this trope believing that giving their heroine any emotions, softness, or traits typically associated with femininity is making her weak. Whereas I'm scratching my head thinking "Um, why can't a female be 'girly' and a badass? (Cue Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Don't get me wrong, I love a strong heroine and can't stand Mary Sues. But there needs to be a balance here, because (other than in comic books) very few readers can connect to heroines that are essentially emotionless fighting machines. Relatability is the key to connection, and this character is totally unrelatable.


I wonder if these tropes bother others? I am pretty picky. To be fair, none of these are deal-breakers, but they will make me roll my eyes and care less about the MC, which in turn makes me feel less invested in the outcome of the story. On the other end of that, I have awesome character tropes that I adore, but I'll save that for a future post.

Archive