By all technicalities, the title of this post is “Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books that you enjoyed otherwise”, but it was too long, so there you have it.
There are a lot of them, to be honest (if I’m getting the definition of plot device right, which I don’t think I am but whatever, it’s 1AM in the morning and I’m not sorry ’cause I’ve been wanting to get this rant out since forever): the love triangle, the alpha male saves the world and changes for you concept, the whole insta-love idea, etc, etc. Most of my pet peeve-ish plot devices are centred on the romance aspect of novels. To be honest, it’s not because I have a thing for a good romance (don’t get me wrong, I do, but that’s not the point), it’s because so many YA books are centred around a romance, and if it isn’t there’s still some kind of romance in there, because authors believe that there has to be romance in order to get reads. While this seems like the trend (let’s face it, if there isn’t romance, half of the readers out there won’t touch the book), I find that the most cliché plot devices are utilized and that bothers me beyond reason.
The Love Triangle
I am so done with love triangles. Yes, I get that the whole indecision and internal conflict help the author get some words on the pages, but it has really become a drag since, nowadays, this device is in every other book, and usually drowns out the entire plot. Oh, the world’s ending? Sorry, I can’t hear you over my personal romance issues, call back later -beep beep beep- Like get over yourself and your life, if you’re going to go save the world, the get on it, and make you decision later, because, since we’re reading fiction, there’s a 98% chance you’ll be alive at the end of the war (if there is one).
Alpha Male Saves the World and Changes for You
I’m pretty much done with this concept too. I understand that girls find this immensely attractive – oh, look at my big and strong boyfriend save me from this guy who barely brushed my arm /swoons. – yeah, no, it’s not hot, it’s nauseating. I personally think it creates an unrealistic expectation for guys to be bulky, sex gods, as well as creates an unhealthy sense of what a relationship should be like for girls. If he’s really beating the brains out of a guy for brushing against your arm, you shouldn’t be running towards him, you should be running away. Also, the idea that a girl can change a guy, especially one with violent tendencies, is also unrealistic, and is how many can fall into the cycle of abusive relationships. I just can’t find it in me to support this, at all, even in fiction.
It’s insta-love, if you don’t hate it, get out (but don’t really, ’cause honestly, I appreciate every one of my readers, bless all your souls).
Honestly though, it’s probably the most overused concept – the girl is destined for the guy, there’s an instant connection when he brushes past her in the hall and glares at her, there’s a heart stopping moment when he walks into the room and the focuses only on her – it’s tiring, and I just want to throw those kind of books out the window (but don’t actually, ’cause I paid for that thing). Worst one is when the two are “destined” for each other. Yay for prophecies… This is probably my lest favourite plot device ever.
Other story lines that I feel are tired are the whole kid-saves-the-world-dystopian style and the second-book-lover-disappears-and-everyone-goes-emo style.
I sincerely hope that this doesn’t offend anyone. I just can’t anymore… That being said, I’m a glutton for punishment and still constantly read these types of books… It’s a bad habit…
Which plot devices are you tired of? Which ones do you wish you could see more?