One of my all-time favorite comments left on this blog came two weeks back when we were talking about the different genres within Christian fiction. Somehow in the middle of the comments we switched from genres to particular plotlines that show up within the genres repeatedly.
Commenter extraordinaire, Cara, described her least liked, often used plot as, “Guy meets Girl. Girl can't stand Guy. Guy and Girl develop a weird love/hate relationship…Eventually, Guy kisses Girl. Girl is furious with Guy. But because of that Girl somehow comes to the realization that she really actually is terribly in love with guy. (gag)”
So, as I laughed, that got me thinking; Are there plotlines that have been used one too many times?
Frankly, I always seem to like the “angst-filled romance” plot, the “Pride and Prejudice from yet another point of view” novel, and, as a mystery lover, I’ll probably never get enough of the “one dead body, six suspects, and a snarky detective” story. I can name stacks of novels I’ve read and enjoyed with these plots.
Of course, there are some that I just can’t stand to read one more time, particularly the “Girl must choose between poor Guy she loves and rich Guy who can support her” plot. I find myself thinking, “Am I really willing to sit through 300 pages when I know she’s going to go with the poor guy?” And there are some subgenres I just don’t get! Really, how many Amish books can possibly be written?
NOW LISTEN, before you send me lots of messages about how there are some really awesome Amish novels out or you have seen the poor guy/rich guy plot done well look at what I’m saying. My point is plainly EVERY PLOTLINE IS OVERUSED. Seriously think about that. There is nothing really new under this sun.
How many mysteries can be written staring a sleuth with a penchant for baked goods? How many heroines are going to be city girls trying to survive in the old west? And, for goodness sakes, how many times are people going to try to convince me that there is actually something romantic about blood-suckers? (Ooo, I’m going to get some comments about that one, aren’t I? ;)
If you really think about it, in some way every book is using a plotline we’ve seen before. The only difference is YOU and what you happen to like and dislike.
So, now it’s your turn! What plotline can you not stand to sit through one more time and what one have you come to realize you’ll probably buy in some form or another every time you go book shopping? :)