There are an incredible amount of overused cliches in YA fiction, which we’ve all begun to see over and over again. I’m not saying that certain trends can’t be reworked and made interesting again because some of them DO WORK. There are just some things I wish people would stop writing about and I’m sure that I’ve probably used some of them over the years. Here’s a list of some things to avoid if you are writing or plan on writing YA. This could help you in the long run.
-An immortal falls in love with a mortal character (or the other way around). An angel falls in love with a human. A demon falls in love with human. A vampire falls in love with a human. A cheeseburger falls in love with a human. A magic elephant falls in love with a human. Eventually that immortal character thinks seriously about giving up his immortality to be with him or her! OR the human character has to become immortal somehow to be with the demon, angel, vampire, or cheeseburger (yum). The best example of this is obviously Twilight, but it’s gone overboard within the past five or so years.
-The main character is so beautiful, but she doesn’t know it! AND EVERYONE LOVES HER. She’s so clumsy and awkward, but she’s constantly surrounded by admirers. “Why doesn’t anyone like meeee? I’m so awkward and unattractive!!” Oh wait, but John, Fred, Jimmy, and Alan are all asking me out on dates. NO ONE CAN RELATE TO THIS.
-The villain ends up being the main character’s brother, father, sister, or some other distant family member which causes the MC to rethink stopping or killing the evil doer. I think maybe I’ll call this the Star Wars complex. At the end of the book we don’t need to hear, “so and so is MY FATHER?!” We’ve probably already assumed it because the books is probably filled with OBVIOUS clues.
-The main character is terrible at everything until the final chapter of the book where they accidentally release all of their powers killing everyone evil and saving all of their friends. This is too convenient. Making your main character instantly good at everything is just as bad.
-The main character’s best friend is always clueless and sort of dumb. How he or she lived before meeting the main character is a mystery to me.
-The person stalking your female main character becomes the LOVE INTEREST. When a boy is basically sexually harassing your female main character in every scene, DON’T MAKE HIM THE LOVE INTEREST. He is a jerk and she should NOT fall in love with him.
A few of these things could work and probably do work, but some of them are vomit inducing when seen constantly in recent novels. I do work hard to keep them all out of my own writing. Still, every one in a while they sneak in and I try my best to edit them out.