Working Against Popular Tropes.

#1
Hey~ back here with random ramblings.

I keep again and again coming back to vague ideas for a story I want to write...but nearly every part of it contains something that's - for the most part - disliked by the potential readers that like the genre I'm thinking of writing in (portalfantasy/gamelit)...and then I keep adding more and more of those onto the pile.

A brief example is that I want to write a multiple POV story (quite a few people don't like them so thats strike #1)
with incredibly different MC's (A murderhobo powerleveling in the woods while a more social character finds a party and relies on people. Probably alienating people who don't want a non murderhobo character along with people who do.)

Or I want to write a character that is irredeemably an asshole who takes advantage of people and trolls, cheats and is immature...along with one who acts nice and treats people well. I feel like I'm alienating both the crowd that thinks making a character a troll means they are "evil just for the sake of being evil and that's boring. Should kill them off they arn't fun to read about" along with the crowd that thinks the other character is a goody two-shoes who's getting walked all over just for having basic human empathy.

It's like I'm going down a list of the tropes that piss people off on both extremes and thinking to myself "I want to write about that".

Anyways thoughts? Have you ever wanted to write something that very obviously goes against the grain? Like if you wanted to publish a novel and proposed something a publisher would sit there saying "rework that Idea you can't include that". Have you ever not done something you wanted to do because you were afraid of backlash?
Alternatively...(trying to think of a reader's perspective) do you have any tropes you would like to see but that get bashed on by others and don't end up being included in stuff because of that?

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#2
I’m writing a LitRPG, which is something that appeals to a lot of people on this site, but it’s got a female MC (not so popular) and lots of swearing (also not popular). Also, because there’s mentions of graphic sexual things I have to include a warning about that, which will drive away a lot of people, but at the same time…there isn’t any actual sex yet and I’m not sure if/when there will be. So there goes the readers who came for the sex stuff.  

But I love the story. I’m having a ton of fun writing it. So it’s worth it. 

As far as not doing things because of fear of backlash—I will admit that while there are a fair amount of nonbinary characters in most of my books, I don’t include nearly as many as I would like or as feels natural to me because I’m afraid of backlash. It’s very cowardly of me, but I’m working on it. 
I pride myself on being able to handle criticism, but criticism coming from people who are just angry that a certain kind of person simply exists…that hits different, and takes a different toll. I still try to deal with such things in stride, though. 

My advice is this—if you think you’ll enjoy writing the story enough for it to outweigh the unpleasantness of potential backlash, then do it. Write the thing :) It might not have as huge an audience as something cater-made to a specific demographic, but it’ll still find its people if you write it and get it out there. 

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#3
I'm going to be honest, that sounds rather interesting and I'd love to see it. It sounds like a great set up to seeing both sides of the world with each character acting as a foil for the other.

Yes what you're describing has the potential to turn a lot of people off, but as with everything in writing, if it's done well it will sell. You might have a steep drop off in early chapters as people don't give the story much of a chance, but those he get past those first few chapters will be sticking around. Let's be honest, no mater what you write about someone's going to get pissed and dislike it, so if you want to write about something write it.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#4
I'm writing an OP power-fantasy litrpg style storyline, but with a character who makes emotional mistakes and isn't perfectly optimized and takes a long time to make any serious progress, who regularly struggles against on-level or below-level opponents. It's still got plenty of readers, but it has its fair share of complaints as well.

As long as you're prepared to handle the backlash, go ahead and dive in. One man's 'too slow' is another man's 'perfect'; one man's 'I hate multi-pov' is another man's 'multi-pov is the best!'

Do what you're doing as well as you can, and you'll find readers. Maybe not as many as others, but there'll always be someone better, no matter how high you reach. Focus on doing as well with your story as possible and its audience will come. Perhaps a very small audience, perhaps very slowly, but it will come.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#5
All the time. Subverting popular tropes is where I live. xD Sooooo many generic stories, I know it makes money, but I want to do something different.

Trickster's Luck is about a new player to an established game who gets a special rare class! But... dozens of other people already have it, and the class has drawbacks as well as perks, and she spends most of the time losing.

Bloodshard is a progression fantasy about a commoner who accidentally ends up with magic powers going undercover in the nobility, but... never ends up even equal to the lowest members of the noble strata, barely able to do basic stuff that kids can do, and spends a lot of time resisting progress because training is hard and painful.

And Zu Mari is somehow offensive to both people who love xianxia and those who don't, being too much of a parody for those who want it to be serious, not enough of a parody for those who want a parody, while not actually a parody at all but something more along the lines of a farce played straight.

But I love doing non-standard things and have fun with them even if they have minimal audiences. A few hundred readers still counts as success in my book.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#6
If you like it others will too. Good writing and skillful execution turns a dumpster fire premise into gold. Just like crappy scribblings can turn brilliant ideas into a soggy sack o’ turds.
Do what you want, but make it the best it can be. You can go trope heavy while simultaneously subverting expectations by keeping things fresh and snappy. Plus, if you’re not pumped to write, you’ll get bored and potentially set yourself up for undue suffering and drudgery. You gotta wanna write it real bad to make it good.
Wishes,
RM

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#7
Sounds like a hodgepodge of ideas to be honest. The reason some of these tropes are hated is because there is no ying yang dynamic, if a character is spineless then they’ll usually remain that say, if a character is a murderhobo then they usually stay that way. Maybe you can move beyond that instead of just adding onto the pile.


Either way write whatever you want, no one can stop you.


Edit: also there is usually a lack of depth, but that’s a general problem with fictions.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#9
Firstly, as others have said, write what you want. Something written with passion and desire will always be better received than something forced and uninspired. Maybe longer to be picked up, but quality shines. Secondly, if you can write it decently then people will read. My story has multiple people and I'm slowly gaining a follow. I'd like to think that's because I'm writing it well, so do what you want. Good works spread.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#10

Bluelightning42 Wrote: A brief example is that I want to write a multiple POV story (quite a few people don't like them so thats strike #1)
with incredibly different MC's (A murderhobo powerleveling in the woods while a more social character finds a party and relies on people. Probably alienating people who don't want a non murderhobo character along with people who do.)

Or I want to write a character that is irredeemably an asshole who takes advantage of people and trolls, cheats and is immature...along with one who acts nice and treats people well. I feel like I'm alienating both the crowd that thinks making a character a troll means they are "evil just for the sake of being evil and that's boring. Should kill them off they arn't fun to read about" along with the crowd that thinks the other character is a goody two-shoes who's getting walked all over just for having basic human empathy.

Those sound like good characters with plenty of opportunities for conflict.  As you write, you can learn more about them and develop them as rounded characters. 

As others have said, write what interests you and hope that it resonates with some readers.  It will, and don't worry about the ones who won't like it.  

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#11
In my opinion, no trope or trend in fiction is inherently bad, it's all a matter of how well you implement/execute it. Example: Amnesiac protagonists are an overused trope in fiction, I generally have no interest in them, but there's nothing that makes them inherently bad. However! I specifically chose to write one of my subplots around one of my protagonists having amnesia because I thought it would be a lot more interesting to write how that actually affects them, and how they're living their life under that circumstance, as opposed to using it as an excuse to info dump a bunch of lore about the world. In fact, he's usually the one who handles the exposition, ironically enough.

And aside from that, there's just the fact that you're always going to have people who like/dislike any given thing, there's never going to be a unanimously liked option. Just write what you like because I generally feel like having enthusiasm about something you're creating will result in a better product on at least some level.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#12
Writing a story with only one POV sounds boring for all involved.

I'd say, most importantly, you should write what makes you happy. I'd ask yourself, if not writing what makes you happy means you can't eat at the end of the day then why suffer for no one but yourself? I understand everyone wants readers and everyone wants to read but what's the point if you don't even like what you wrote?

I'm not sure if this is the advice you were looking for, but ultimately you have to decide what you care about. Is it what you write? Is it the figurative crowd of people that may or may not read your work and that may or may not like it no matter what you write?

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#13

ThirdSun Wrote: Writing a story with only one POV sounds boring for all involved.

I'd say, most importantly, you should write what makes you happy. I'd ask yourself, if not writing what makes you happy means you can't eat at the end of the day then why suffer for no one but yourself? I understand everyone wants readers and everyone wants to read but what's the point if you don't even like what you wrote?

I'm not sure if this is the advice you were looking for, but ultimately you have to decide what you care about. Is it what you write? Is it the figurative crowd of people that may or may not read your work and that may or may not like it no matter what you write?


I actually wasn't really fishing for advice I just felt like making a post and gave a conversation topic of sorts with an example.

Regarding your response however...I'm writing as hobby and to unwind from my real job hence I'm not releasing anything to make money. In this specific case I could always not release anything I wrote and just keep it to myself...but part of the fun of writing for me is having readers and people who comment. 
I can take criticism and mindless hate... but as everything, that has a limit and I don't want to specifically seek it out. Basically the readers I have in my current story (Dungeon Core & Slice of Life) are all really nice and I've seen the comments/reviews in general and action LitRPG series on here and they all seem much harsher. Not sure why my brain is specifically wanting to bait them.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#14

Bluelightning42 Wrote: I actually wasn't really fishing for advice I just felt like making a post and gave a conversation topic of sorts with an example.

Regarding your response however...I'm writing as hobby and to unwind from my real job hence I'm not releasing anything to make money. In this specific case I could always not release anything I wrote and just keep it to myself...but part of the fun of writing for me is having readers and people who comment.
I can take criticism and mindless hate... but as everything, that has a limit and I don't want to specifically seek it out. Basically the readers I have in my current story (Dungeon Core & Slice of Life) are all really nice and I've seen the comments/reviews in general and action LitRPG series on here and they all seem much harsher. Not sure why my brain is specifically wanting to bait them.


That makes sense. Artists want people to consume their work. Sorry if I came across harsh. not what I was meaning to do. I get it though. You should have a target audience and you should please those people, right? Makes sense. I guess you can't please everyone though.

I write horror stories with multiple perspectives. I guess my stories aren't universally loved but I like them.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#15
I'd do what others said and throw down what you actually want to write rather than what you think will please people. Your heart will be in it more, the words will come easier, and the book will read more authentically.

It's also worth noting that there is an audience for nearly anything on this site. I write a non-fantasy, non-isekai, non-gamelit/LitRPG, non-third-person-POV, non-male-lead story and have still managed more than 100 followers. Not much compared to most of those on rising stars, but when I actually stop to think about it a hundred people reading my stuff is wild.

It's also also worth noting that the forums are not necessarily representative of the site readership as a whole, let alone your specific audience.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#16
Just write a multiple lead novel. But beware of the problems that come with it. I for example am writing a 5 Mc multiple lead novel about 5 siblings searching for each other. Since none of them live in the same setting, I literally have to create five different places, while also creating different groups of people with whom the MC interacts. 

If each MC were to interact with only 5 characters, one would have to remember would be around 25 names. Also, another problem will be, how do you plan on balancing the limelight each multiple lead character gets.

Multiple lead novels can become the reason for your novel to succeed, but it can also highly likely lead to the fall of your novel, bc of stuff such as too many characters+  unequal limelight, and so forth.

Re: Working Against Popular Tropes.

#17

Bluelightning42 Wrote: I keep again and again coming back to vague ideas for a story I want to write...but nearly every part of it contains something that's - for the most part - disliked by the potential readers that like the genre I'm thinking of writing in (portalfantasy/gamelit)...and then I keep adding more and more of those onto the pile.
Write what interests you is my advice. Always. I don't write for royal road. I write for me. If someone wants to tag along on my journey, they certainly can. Remember, it's your story. But... if readers is your thing, and you want to put in tropes the reader base generally doesn't like, I wouldn't expect popularity. But hey, you never know.