The Worst YA Novel Plan – Ever! PART 1

Ever wondered how someone writes one of those dreadful YA books? You know- the kind that’s just full of all the worst tropes and clichés? So did I! To try and understand what possesses someone to commit such a heinous crime against literature, I’ve decided to put myself in the mindset of one of these criminals (*ahem, I mean “authors”*) and create my very own plan for the world’s worst YA novel- ever! And of course I’m going to overload it with all the terrible tropes from my least favourite YA tropes post. This should be fun… So let’s get started!

Book 1: Special Snowflakes and Insta-love Galore

bella swanMeet Sally McEveryman. There is absolutely nothing special about her. She is so plain, with her mousy brown hair and ordinary brown eyes. Her hobbies include doing laundry and reading books. No one could ever find her interesting or attractive, because, as I said, there’s nothing special about her… or will they?

chad michael murrayEnter Harry the Hottie. He’s an impossibly attractive male. He is just the bestest! He’s one of life’s good guys! Yay!! Obviously, he has an impossibly incredible secret, that he cannot possibly tell anyone about, because that would be bad- because, you know, reasons. But then his eyes meet Sally’s across the room and…. *INSTALOVE*!!! Ding ding ding! (Okay you get the idea, stars realign, the whole world stops, yada yada yada).

*Insert kissing montage here*

In between kissing, make sure you quote better works of fiction, so kissing seems deep and meaningful.

Oh and add *lots and lots of info-dumps* here, so now everyone is totally clued up on how the world works. No one will question any of it for the rest of the book- especially not the main character who is very understanding and accepting of all strange things. Cos that’s just how she rolls.

Suddenly Sally is thrown into a world of intrigue and danger. Because it turns out Sally is the Special Snowflake that was prophecised- who knew? What a relief, she is special after all. HALLELUJAH! Everybody do a happy dance. Okay, now she must train to save the world from the terrible *threat*

*Insert training montage here*

But oh no, just as she is trying to concentrate on the two most pressing issues in her life (the end of the world and her new boyfriend- squeal!) she meets someone who will change her perception on everything: Bad Boy Bob. Now Bad Boy Bob is not your run of the mill hero- no he’s a sarcastic, leather jacket wearing rogue. And he doesn’t agree with the Powers That Be with how they’re running things. He also doesn’t think Sally is such a Special Snowflake at all. And some generic blond mean girls agree with him. Cue: crying, lots and lots of anxious crying.

bad_boy_by_g_rape_fruit-d5y3me3Sally desperately wants to hate Bad Boy Bob, but the only issue is there is some *insane* chemistry between them (emphasis on the insane). What’s a girl to do? Treat him like a leper and ignore him or desperately try to prove herself to him and all the generic blond mean girls? You guessed it- she tries to prove herself.

The Real Look of Lord Voldemort from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"And guess what? She manages to prove that she is the most saviour-y of the saviours. She is the Chosen One! Cue everyone’s amazing gratitude as she saves some tiny children from a burning building. Still, this won’t solve her problems- because there’s an evil villain prowling about called I-Am-The-Evil-Dark-One-Cower-In-Fear-But-Don’t-Judge-Me-It’s-Not-My-Fault-I-Have-A-Stupid-Name (I. M. Evil for short) who wants to ruin everything! Oh no!

But worse than that- Bad Boy Bob seems more appealing than ever AND he seems to be interested in her after all the saving the children thing. Which is not good- because all she wants is to be happy with Harry the Hottie- but Bad Boy Bob is incredibly distracting and sooo cute. She thinks she might love both of them. Also, destiny is telling her that one of them is her soulmate!!

*Cue angst*

Apocalypse1-630x420

Who will she choose?? Okay, the world is coming to an end (because, you know, reasons) but that’s not the most important thing happening here- seriously, we shouldn’t be concerned with the fact the sun’s gonna *literally* crash into the earth or something, nope, what we should really worry about is how this lovestruck teenager will choose between two perfectly decent guys.

I. M. Evil does some evil sh*t and kidnaps her parents or something (yes she has parents- they didn’t turn up earlier because they weren’t relevant to the plot- but turns out they knew she was the saviour all along, they just wanted to protect her from her *destiny*- keep up people). Now she has to choose between her family and the world. She can’t decide. Daddy dies. Cue: heartbreak and despair. Oh and Bad Boy Bob turns out to be her sworn enemy. So cue: double heartbreak. *Sally runs off with Harry the Hottie*

That’s basically the plot for book 1. Tune in next time to see what happens with Sally and co.

Top Ten Worst YA Tropes

Now after my post on why originality is overrated, I thought it might be fun to flip my argument on its head and talk about some unoriginal ideas I don’t like. Partly cos I’m a HYPOCRITE but mostly cos it’s FUN! Also I recently read this book:

eve

I’m not gonna bother reviewing it, because frankly I don’t want to waste more time on it than I already have and there is literally nothing *new* I could possibly say about it. It was pretty much the definition of bland. So instead I’m gonna take this opportunity to talk about my least favourite tropes in YA.

*Rather-Obvious-Disclaimer: there are exceptions to every rule*

And honestly- I love to be proved wrong and find one of my most hated tropes done well. But *most of the time* these guarantee an eye roll or a despairing groan. So here are my top ten worst YA tropes with a few of the biggest culprits as examples:

  1. essenseSpecial Snowflake Main Character– this one often combines two of my least favourite tropes: the Chosen One and the “I’m a what?” tropes. Basically this character is super special, because they have a gift that no one else has, so they’re gonna save the world. Oh and they had no idea that they’re special- of course. In fairness, there are rare occasions when this doesn’t suck- but they are few and far between, so authors need to *stop using this trope* (unless you’re writing something like Carry On, then all is forgiven). An example of this is the Essence series- because my-oh-my this character is a special snowflake indeed.
  2. unbecoming of mara dyerInstalove– I’m gonna try and not let this dissolve into another rant like the last one- but c’mon!! When does this ever happen in real life?!? And let’s face it, it wouldn’t even be a good thing if it did- it would be super weird and creepy if your boyfriend of two days started declaring his undying love for you! That’s when you need to get a restraining order- *not* to start ordering wedding invitations. I’m looking at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and so many others!
  3. The Plain Jane– I *hate* these characters. Not only do they come across as super whiny and annoying- but they also make no sense. I mean, they’re supposed to simultaneously be the ugliest of all the ducklings *AND* be the most desirable female with every single guy in the vicinity desperate to have your babies. Sorry, but to quote Cinderella Story:

you can't be both guys.png

The best example of this is Ana Steel in Fifty Shades of Grey. And all those hoards of attractive males brings me onto my next point.

  1. matchedThe Love Triangle– ahh the dreaded love triangle. Twilight made it popular and for some horrendous reason it hasn’t gone anywhere. Why? I have *no idea*. This bloody thing is everywhere and one of the worst offenders of this is Matched. Basically, it’s just an easy (and terribly lazy) way for authors to pad their plot with unbearable amounts of angst, as their main character frets over which wonderful person they’re going to spend the rest of their life with. And while we’re on the subject of the main character…
  2. selectionThe Nice-ty Main Character- you know the nice/nasty ones that kill you with kindness (you know the type). This is basically the main character who is allowed to be a total biatch, just because they’re so “lovely”. And we are constantly reminded how sweet and caring they are as they mess around two guys at once, two time and generally act like a whiny cow. And all the while, it’s somehow the guy’s fault that they can’t figure out their feelings. The perfect example is America in The Selection, because let’s face it she’s a right *insert-expletive-here*, but we’re supposed to believe she’s wonderful and completely selfless. Really? It’s totally selfless of her to spend 3 books choosing between two guys, is it?
  3. TwilightbookDouchbag Love Interests– and when we don’t have the horrible female leads, we have the horrible male love interest (sometimes we’re really lucky and get both, *ahem, Twilight*). These, often controlling, usually bullying and always brooding characters somehow steal the heart of the main character (*ahem, Twilight*- I could probably call this “the Edward Cullen Trope” after all). It’s like a recipe for domestic abuse. But hey, they’re good looking, so we shouldn’t worry about any of that. *Face palm*. And while we’re still on the subject of love, this is something that really drives me crazy:
  4. Bronzehorseman.jpgPretentious Characters That Recite Reams of Poetry– I’ve read a few lists ions ago, but haven’t seen this one about- probably cos most people like this. But honestly this just does my head in. I have never met anyone that does this in real life, but I swear, if I ever met someone that reciting whole poems was a good idea, I’d probably want to hit them too. Basically, this makes me violent- don’t do it, unless you want a banana aimed at your head. I could think of a ton of examples where this happens- Infernal Devices (although admittedly I like that anyway), The Bronze Horseman (yeuch!) and John Green makes so many pretentious references he may as well do it.
  5. aunt jennaNon-Absentee Absent Parents– okay, moving on from the romance in YA, this one bugs me quite a bit. I’m being fairly specific here, because I don’t mean the dead parents trope, which I don’t actually mind so much- even if it is overused. No, this one bugs me because it just makes the parents look really dumb. Basically, they’re the parents that are about but they’re so useless, they can’t tell their children have been entertaining demons in their room. Or even worse, the parents that know something is wrong, but still let their children run off to fight monsters. And cos I’m zonked, the best example I can think of is Aunt Jenna in Vampire Diaries (I know, I know, I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead). This often combines with…
  6. City_of_Bones (1)The Dumbledore– you know, the parent/teacher figure that withholds information for mysterious *reasons*. Just because the author doesn’t want to reveal stuff too early. Usually, it’s parents who knew their child had powers but didn’t tell them. Often, they find out their parents knew all along after they have some near-death experience. Which always makes me wonder why on earth didn’t they tell them sooner- you know, maybe they could have avoided all this. It just makes me think they need parenting lessons, cos there are some secrets- like your father’s an evil maniac- that parents shouldn’t keep from their children. Much as I love the series, Mortal Instruments is guilty of this.
  7. shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024Stupid Names For Evil Characters– so I don’t always hate this and I can forgive it most of the time (let’s be honest, I’m guilty of it too). I mean, I have to allow for the fact that dumb names like the “Dark Lord” or “THE EVIL ONE” will catch on when regular people are naming them. And this is usually okay if the villain has an alternative name (ie Voldemort). *BUT* what I cannot forgive is when the main character cannot tell that the guy with the obviously evil name is evil. And how no one else in the story picks up on it- I’m looking at you “Darkling”- how was that a surprise when he turned out to be evil for crying out loud?

Okay that’s my list. I almost put “The Brave Idiot” on here too- but I’ve warmed to that character in recent times, because I’ve read quite a few that are really good.

Agree? Disagree? What are your least favourite YA tropes? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you liked this post- stay tuned for something special coming next on my blog…