I opened my wormy can in a Facebook group by asking some cozy mystery readers which tropes they hated.
It was a tad disingenuous on my part because I had just finished the first draft of a manuscript and was getting ready to do a revision. Not that I was pandering or trying to write by committee, mind you, but if everyone hated a certain thing, and I had a chance to not do that certain thing, well, I’d be foolish not to listen, right? Right?
Well, listen I did. For a long, long time because these readers had loud and proud opinions!
- love triangle (I lost count at all the people who agreed and expounded on this. It was far and away the biggest gripe)
- business owners closing their store to chase clues (second biggest gripe)
- more job-related gripes include the sleuth having a specialty job she doesn’t know how to do; having a job they never go to; the character gets dumped by boyfriend and moves home to start a business
- too perfect an ending
- “she got out of a bad relationship and inherited a fortune”
- sleuth accidentally stumbles on the solution
- author doesn’t play fair with the clues
- sleuth puts herself in danger because she doesn’t think it through
- and there were opinions about law enforcement … some people don’t like the cops to be inept or jerks; “I don’t care what the police say, I’m doing it!”; sleuths who talk about how they solved previous crimes, like the police did nothing; characters who sleuth because the police aren’t doing enough; characters (or authors) who know nothing about the law
And there were more. So many more. I got disheartened and gave up when I saw that over the course of my books I’ve done, oh, most everything they hated.
Except the love triangle.
So I’ve got that going for me.
Can you believe I was so stupid to ask this?? I might as well have asked people to critique me in my swimsuit. Readers, I’m curious, even if you hate some trope, will you let a beloved writer get away with it? And for the love of all that is holy, next time you see me wandering the streets in my swimsuit, please find me a cover-up.