Can you believe I opened THIS can of worms?

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.

4 thoughts on “Can you believe I opened THIS can of worms?”

  1. Great post! All of these tropes are potentially disastrous! But we as readers do give our favorites a break on that. You probably can’t ditch all of them, but how you handle them is critical. You do a good job and I will be sure to have a cover-up on hand for possible sightings!

    1. Oh, Sharon … you’re a lifesaver! Nobody wants to catch a glimpse of me in a swimsuit. Whew.

      I’m glad to know other readers give a pass to writers too … I know I do!


  2. Tracy X Hartman

    I certainly give passes to my faves a lot. Even the love triangle. BTW- There’s a day that’s warm enough in CO to wear a swimsuit??

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