There comes a point in the life of every reader – or at least every reader named me – where certain genres, certain themes, and certain plots just seem completely, 100% overdone. I was browsing io9 today when I found a list of the 10 stories in sci-fi and fantasy that editors say are overdone. Zombies, mermaids, time-travel, parallel universes.
1.) Romantic Dystopias
Girl lives under oppressed government, girl meets boy, girl decides cushy situation sucks because she can’t kiss the boy of her dreams, and therefore the government must be destroyed. Dystopias where the plot is driven by romantic tension and not by the plot itself just infuriate me, and while it can work occasionally, it’s just become so completely overdone that I just want to see it go away. Divergent and The Hunger Games have cornered the market. Throwing more stories at it just seems like overkill.
2.) John Green-esque Contemporaries
You know it’s a bad sign when books are pitched on how much they can be compared to John Green’s work more than on the merits of its own content. The more times you can name John Green in your synopsis, the better, and a John Green quote on your cover, or a good word in a publication? It can make your book a star. But when everyone tries to emulate John Green’s style to the point where it’s almost become its own genre? No thanks.
3.) The Generational Family Literary Fiction Bore Thing Whatever
I know this is a perennial award winner, the tale of multiple generations of a family, or of women and daughters, or even one person with multiple lives, but haven’t we told it almost every possible way there is to tell it? Yes, this one wins awards. That’s about all it does. Let’s move on.
4.) Paranormal Rape. I Mean Romance.
This one transcends demographics, but when girl meets boy, boy is some supernatural creature, and boy gets super controlling of the poor innocent virginal girl, it just makes me gag. Twilight, Wings,, the Anita Blake series, True Blood to an extent. I’m just tired here. I want something different. Vampires, mermaids, werewolves – it doesn’t matter.
5.) The 40 Year Old Middle School Kid
More of a personal preference than anything, and definitely an unpopular opinion, but I dislike how so much middle grade fiction these days seems to be written with the 12 year old either coming off as 7 or 47. Really middle schoolers seem lost in the lurch as fiction either tries to go “Harry Potter for adults” or just cartoonizing 12 year olds, who basically are teenagers, especially nowadays. It’s the same thing with YA getting darker. Can’t we throw our middle school friends a bone and tell stories that they identify with, not just stories that seem way too literary or way too childish? My coworker’s 12 year old told me the other day about how she identifies more with YA protagonists because middle grade fiction is too young for her. Let’s fix this.
So here is my question to you. What genres, tropes, plots, characters, etc are you looking to die off, and what are you desperate to see in the future? Let me know in the comments!