I’m genuinely curious: what makes a mafia/gang story so appealing?

I have been reading a couple of trending mafia stories, either from the app or screenshots in IG. Best to my knowledge, mafia stories could be the most popular subgenre in Trending. Needless to say, so far most of the mafia/gang stories I’ve read in this app tend to be not good. Not just because of the usual slew of problematic themes and characters, but also because they are badly written stories in general. Especially the ones with the mafia princess MC and tend to be extremely violent and quirky.
Thing is, I also read some good gang stories on occasion, which are War Dogs, Poison and Venomous (the featured one). They contain a lot of similar elements of mafia/gang stories of course, but somehow these are often executed better in stories like above.

Anyone, whether mafia romance fanatic, hater, critic and in-between, what are your thoughts on how, what and why mafia stories are popular? Are they really glorifying or romanticising gang violence? Have you read any good stories with mafias or gangs? Is it even possible to write an absolutely good mafia story? Would I be able to stop obsessing over them from now on?


I think it’s because of the drama and the idea of the “hot (usually Italian) men” who changed who they were for the Mc and will fight to the death for her or whatever.

If you’re writing a mafia story it’s a lot easier to write more drama into it, like the MC getting kidnapped, stuff like that. People love drama so people love the stories that are more dramatized.

At least that’s how i think of it.


i feel that people read it for the hate/love relationship or the dominant, strong man changes for the soft sweet (usually tortured) girl (those are popular tropes)

War Dogs is great and theres another one i can’t remember atm… and i do believe it’s possible to create a good mafia story with actual drama that comes from being in the mafia; its just hard and some people dont have the time for research

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Yes, it is possible to write a great mafia/gang story! Think of Goodfellas (literally a true story) and Scarface (sadly fictional.) Believe it or not, I have learned a lot of life lessons from watching and reading mafia/gang stories. Mafia/gang stories are not meant to be glorified for the romance and drama that goes on in them. True mafia/gang stories are about how the mafia/gang runs. which a lot of people do not actually know. I completely agree with you on how some of the mafia stories aren’t very good. It’s sad really. It is a good genre to write. pretty interesting. but people misuse it. Also, Wardogs is so, SO GOOD!! It’s such a lovable story with amazing characters. sad it ended after all this time!
I hope that helped you! I’m sorry I rambled on and on though lol
All the love,
Neha! xx


Tbh I just like the drama cause it’s such a dangerous thing I just find the drama interesting

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No tea, but I have yet to see one that’s well written. I’m not really looking to find one that is, either.

No idea why they’re popular and I really don’t like them and avoid them. They just aren’t relatable or realistic at all and I really would prefer MCs that aren’t constantly battling with death and infamy.

I’m sure there’s a few that aren’t like that, but everything that sort of surrounds gangs (and I literally live a city or so away from a huge gang territory, I’m not even kidding) is super taboo and I’d really like to not associate with it.


i think a lot of authors write about that topic, because theres pretty predictable and straightforward conflict. like that’s probably one of the hardest parts about writing - thinking about how to create tension between your characters to keep readers invested. and with mafia/gang stories that tension is already kind of built in - you just have to fill in the details. not saying its right or wrong, just an observation.

Wanna post something up that excellently explains my opinion about most mafia stories

I’ve read a good few mafia stories on episode, mostly the well known ones. And also several on other platforms. I may be alone in this, but I personally find the drama the least appealing part of them whilst it’s gripping and it’s a strong hook, my main reason for reading them is the strong bond between the characters.

I will be clear and say that I have read each one as nothing more than a story of fiction and with no relation to real life, because that’s what I enjoy when reading, the escape from reality stepping into someone else’s shoes and life.

But in these stories they tend to centre around family, around a unified front against everything. They have strong dedication to those who they love and will protect them at all costs, which is true and deep love. Sure, it may not be done in the normal and conventional way that people approve of, given that they are in the mafia, but it’s a touching connection, when written well.

A lot of these stories when well done, are filled with raw emotion and are relatable, even with the huge difference between reader and character’s lifestyles and morals. In those stories, we can still empathise with them and connect on some level somewhere because we are shown more than the “badass mafia leader” and “sassy bad girl”.

My draw to these stories is reliant on the way the author can write it. If it has no feeling in it, then I’m not interested. I’ve seen many on episode that could have been good, but are seemingly written to hop on the mafia bandwagon and score some quick reads.


Honestly, I’ve never ever seen a “handsome” or “hot” mafia/gang leader ever. There’s nothing hot or handsome about smoking and being on crack. That would just ruin someone’s face