Tropes and Crutches

The results from the Patreon poll are in, and to nobody’s surprise, I’ll be working on the next chapter of Mutual Benefits next. As well, speaking of, thank you to each and every patron I’ve either maintained or gained in 2021. The recent outpouring of support has meant the world to me, and once again I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have such a dedicated following for my silly little stories.

Speaking of, I got an interesting piece of feedback recently. A reader recently pointed out to me that I’ve fallen back on the trope of “socially awkward high school male falls for the popular white girl.” My first instinct was to reply with, “Well I suppose, for two stories…” But then I thought about it. Being More Social and Mutual Benefits are practically built around that, so, guilty. But then again, When In Toronto kind of begins like that too. Even The Good, the Bad and the Molly has a bit of a ‘socially awkward guy’ vibe to it, even if it’s in a different context and even if the girl he falls for is by no means popular.

I’ll be frank, a part of this is just me writing situations that likely I can identify with. As I mentioned, Mutual Benefits was based on events that happened to me. The only differences were, I’m not Chinese and I only ever thought to ask “Taylor” for sexual payment in lieu of monetary payment. Everything else, including the car ride where “Taylor” loudly complained to her friend about not getting laid, were based on true stories, so if anyone tries to complain to me that the premise is too unrealistic, ha.

Another part of this is just a frustrating coincidence. As far as I know, Quinn is the only protagonist in all of my Season 2 writing that is a shy nerd that falls for a popular girl (apart from maybe Ken from When in Toronto, to an extent). The rest of the stories feature wildly different characters doing wildly different things. It’s possible that my followers saw a premise that was similar to Being More Social, my most popular story by a mile, and went, “Ooh! More of that, please.”

Either way, it’s a reasonable piece of criticism. I remember blogging more than once about how some writers have a tendency to write the same type of story over and over without branching out, and I’m not immune to getting caught in this cycle. I don’t want to use the ‘wimp to pimp’ story as a crutch, and now I’m more aware of its prevalence in my writing. I’ll be sure to branch out in future stories so I’m not just telling the same stories over and over, and only appealing to the same people over and over. I’ll talk to you all next week.

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