Word Wednesday

Word Wednesday: YA Trope Word Crawl

  Welcome back to Word Wednesdays guys! So today I am focusing on something every writer considers at some point. Is my story falling into a trope? This is especially true if you are writing young adult (YA) literature.

So, I have done some digging and there are some great lists out there for YA tropes! There are four blogs that I have gathered this list of tropes from, The Honest Bookclub, Emily Mead from the Loony literature blog, Amanda from strangest chemistry books, and Johnnie Macke from teen.com.

Instead of just listing these tropes I decided to turn them into something we can use for writing… a word crawl! Of course, tropes aren’t always bad, if they are done well there is not reason why you cant have a love triangle or a chosen one… we just want them done well.

YA Trope Word Crawl!

You’re sitting at your keyboard deciding what to type, and you come to your first big decision; why is your main character? Male or female? Oh, that’s right- you’re writing YA, must have a female lead. Write for 15 minutes at a medium pace to warm up to the obvious female we are about to encounter.

You’ve gotten to know her and I guess she’s bound to be perfect… perfectly perfect… write to the nearest 1000 to create the perfectly rounded number.

But perfection is not enough for YA, we need major upheaval, but something bigger than one person. I know! Society is broken, desperate, segregated! Roll a dice, multiply the number by one hundred to represent the factions/ segregations in your society!

Then you realise that she cant be too perfect either… no one would believe her! I know! Get rid of her parents, that makes up for the fact that she’s perfect everywhere else! But how to make them disappear?

  • They were violently killed when she was a child (write 500 words, an extra 500 if you decide that they were killed by another family member)
  • They were abusive so they have no contact (Sprint for 10 minutes)
  • They are alcoholic/ drug users so are silently in the background (Write for 15 minutes)
  • They mysteriously disappeared (sprint for 250 words)

So they are gone, or so she believes; but then she sees the brooding guy in the corner, sprint for three minutes while she falls in love with the tall, dark, and handsome stranger.

Things start getting frisky between the two strangers, with love making the world shine; write for 30 minutes while they get through the madly deeply in-love stage.

Then everything starts going wrong, the stranger is something different. He comes from a family of creatures of the night that are…

  • A true good form of an evil creature (sprint for 15 minutes)
  • The last of their species (sprint for 300 words)
  • Desperately searching for comrades or family (write 500 words)
  • Part of a rebellion (Sprint for 10 minutes while she has a harsh introduction to the ranks!)

But once she learns their deepest darkest secrets, she spends all of their time with them… seriously; school has completely disappeared. Write for 30 minutes while she contemplates all her lost lessons but clearly doesn’t care!

After so long, she realises that they are hiding something, and that’s when she learns…

  • She’s the answer to the broken society (write to the nearest 500 words)
  • She can end a war (write 1000 words as quick as possible)
  • She can prevent a war (sprint for 15 minutes)

But how could that be possible… she is just one girl. Isn’t she?

  • She is only half-human (write for 50 minutes, having a break half way)
  • She’s long lost princess and that her parents were really royalty (write 300 words in 10 minutes)
  • She really has the ability to summon/conjure magic (write for 5 minutes, after all she doesn’t really need to practice to know what she’s doing does she?)

Hang on, why are they fighting? Of course! The children are in danger! Wait, but there are no parents protecting the children, I guess the main character must do! Sprint for 30 minutes while she rounds up all the children and persuades her family/ rebellion to find a way of saving them all.

Then its time to face the evil, the bad guy, the evil king. But she must face him alone, for she is the chosen one. No other will do. Write for ten minutes while she realises what she has to do.

The battle is almost over, but wait, we can’t have a happy ending. This is YA after all! Write slowly for 20 minutes as you drag out the excruciating pain for the reader.

So, how did you do on the word crawl? Di you identify all of the tropes? I didn’t really hide them lets face it! Am I missing the trope that annoys you the most?


Helen x


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