Tropefails

So over at Fantasy Magazine they have a blog post asking commentors what fantasy tropes they want to avoid.

I commented on a beginning that one sees often in slush, or in my case in online sf/f/h writers workshops, of a surly swordsman smoking in the corner of a bar waiting to begin his violent tale. (full disclosure here, I once started a tale in this manner) It struck me that there are other stories that you see over and over that just don’t work.

There was one that I saw both an SF and a Horror version of that had a male main character who starts off with a self-condemning voice in his head. He goes on to brutalize and murder a woman and finds out she’s not who he thinks she is. Then the authorities kill him. I can’t tell you how much that story line repulsed me. The authors told me in each case that they pretty much wanted to show a bad guy get his in the end, you are supposed to hate him and then enjoy his downfall.

Yeesh. I’m the guy who gave up on Lolita after he threw the book at the wall at least three times in the first third. Now it may be because I had just sired a beautiful daughter, but I can’t stand reading a book or story wherein the main point is: Look how sick this jerk is!

Slushreaders, feel free to share your personal favorites. Only the first comment needs to be approved, the rest go straight through.

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