Is your typical bad boy/mob boss/powerful CEO outdated?

Hi everyone,
I’ve been in the episode community for not so long. I’ve started reading episode originals (yeah…poor me…) then accidentally discovered I could actually read community stories without having to pay gems (that was life-changing, really). Then I’ve binged all the huge (+1 million reads) LL stories we all know too well.

Recently I’ve started writing my own story on Episode, which brought me a different perspective from the community. As a non-English native speaker, but most importantly, a simple reader, I didn’t care about forums or anything related to episode beyond the fact that I was reading stories. Now that I’m publishing myself on the app, I’ve had the opportunity to discover forums, episode community on Instagram.

My point is now that I’m feeling that I’m part of this community, I feel there is a kind of contrast between all the criticism these “mainstream” stories are getting on the forum, and the obvious recognition these exact same stories are getting. But this has already been discussed countless times, and that’s not my point here.

I’ve noticed that it’s very common that these typical stories are usually written by someone who already has some kind of “fame” by that I mean the authors often are already well-known and have important visibility (through Instagram, another story they wrote, others famous authors they know & who can easily help them promote their story etc…)

Which leads me to the central question: Do you think unknown authors need to come up with innovative story ideas or else they won’t ever get truly noticed?

Do you think that today, it’s still possible to create a very cliché story and get a lot of reads when you’re brand new to the community, just like back like it used to? (I wasn’t there, so I elaborated this theory based on what I’ve read so far on the forums)

In my opinion, I believe it isn’t. **I feel that today, people are usually looking for something which goes deeper than these overused clichés and that if your story doesn’t distinguish itself from the others, it’s practically impossible for this kind of story to be a breakthrough when you start from nothing.

Then, you ask, these stories still get millions of reads, how do you explain it? Here’s what I think: I think these millions of readers, are, just like I once was, what I would say are “ghost readers” and by that, I mean that they are on episode for sure, but they’re not implicated at all in the community: they’re not on the forums, they don’t have an IG dedicated to episode (which is totally okay!). They just go through the Top Community Section and randomly pick a story to read.

But the thing is that the few stories that get to the top 100 are usually the same created, as I said, by authors that are already well-known and can “afford” to write clichés since they’ll know it’ll get popular either way. The other stories which are often more “behind” the 25 first top stories trending are actually the one who made efforts regarding the plot. But because

Please note that I’m mainly talking about romance & drama stories!
So I just want to know what you guys think! Do you agree/disagree with me? Let’s discuss!

(also English is not my native language, I apologize for the lack of clarity?)


That was a well thought out post. Okay so let me run through it to find the questions you asked.

  1. Do you think unknown authors need to come up with innovative story ideas or else they won’t ever get truly noticed? I think it’s easier for new writers to try to emulate what’s already popular with the hope that because their story is like the popular ones, they’ll get the same reads. While possible, I think it’s a lazy way to try to gain notoriety. I do think that when a writer takes the initiative to come up with something new (even if it’s just putting a twist on the “cliches”, and they promote it sufficiently, it can receive popularity.

If. It’s when people concern themselves with wanting popularity that their story will be a cliche, rushed out mess. . When people take the time to develop their characters, plot and focus on making their story the best they can - that it really does stand out for the quality.

As far as the bad boy thing, a lot of readers are young girls who want to read the bad boy stories… .which is why this cliche is so popular. If you want to stand out- you can write the same type of romance story with a good guy and it will stand out. If you write a slow-burn romance, it will stand out.

Basically- if you want to get a bunch of reads, I feel you’re writing for the wrong reason. If you are writing to tell your story the way you want it and aren’t worried about getting popular, but rather focusing on making a well-written, directed and thought out story, you’ll get popular all on its own.

  1. Do you think that today, it’s still possible to create a very cliche story and get lots of reads when you’re brand new to the community, just like back like it used to?

Yes, unfortunately, the age demographic that Episode is aiming for makes it extremely possible to write rushed, thrown together bad-boy-mob-vampire-ceo-boss stories to be popular. It’s a sad truth. Pick any horribly directed, flat, boring “mafia” story and read the fanmail section : “omg I luv this story! when u put out more! will be sex scenes??” - these are the types of readers that we have.

^^this answers the “how do these cliches messes make it to a million reads” question as well. Young readers that want “taboo” sex stories…that’s the majority demographic we have.


In my experience, a well presented trope is still extremely popular on Episode. You might see a few come friday :ok_hand: :smirk:


Welcome to the community :slightly_smiling_face:

I hate to say this, but I actually think that they have a better chance to get noticed if they stick with what is already popular. I‘m pretty sure I’ve seen more small authors take off with overused plots, than others with really unique ones :confused:
Original concepts might be appreciated more I’ve seen 5 paragraph long fanmail for certain stories, but never for cliche ones, but unfortunately they usually attract a smaller audience.

It’s not the same because the reads dropped overall, but it’s possible. And it’s possible with a non-cliche story too, but less likely. I’ve seen examples for both.

I think the people on the forums mostly think like this, but we are only a small part of the community. As @ColeCatalyst mentioned, many others want to read about sex. I’m pretty excited to see what will happen when Ivy goes live, because I low key hope that this trend will move there, and something new will start on Episode.

But then again, I’m worried about this:

Because if it’s really mainly the young readers who read these stories, then nothing will change and there’s no point in creating the mature app. Unless these young readers will figure out a way to use it, which I hope they won’t


Thanks for your answers!

I totally agree with you and I guess that’s what makes so many of their story unfinished or abandoned after a very few updates, if any. People expect to get 1m+ reads overnight

You have a point there, but I’d like to add that sometimes writing a well-written story/episode/scene (or at least something you feel proud of)actually makes you want to be recognized and appreciated for it, even if its not through hundreds on fanmails.
Like, you can spend hours coding a scene and seeing that your story is being read can feel like you’re actually being rewarded. In that perspective, I don’t think that wanting your story to be read is something bad, since you’re looking for criticism and feedbacks.

You said it. I’ve barely seen a story getting more than +1 million reads without having at least an inch of typical cliches we already talked about.(im not saying they’re bad, not at all! I actually enjoyed a few tbh, but its a fact

I think the forum audience and the overall episode audience have very different expectations.

Yeah, I’m very curious about it too! I feel it could really give a new perspective to the app, as much as I hope this won’t be ruined by under aged readers…


I don’t think it’s bad to write and want reads. I think it’s bad to only write for the reads. That is where the distinction is. People who spend hours writing and perfecting their stories are the good stories that deserve reads and to be rewarded.

The people writing for reads are easy to spot.

  • The story pacing is off, there’s no proofread, the story’s plot is always all over the place, there’s no clear reason behind anything and they are copy-paste versions of thirty other stories with different names
  • examples:
    mafia stories- MC is always from a broken home and needs money or (polar opposite) the MC is a goody-two-shoes who happens to meet a murdering mob boss who magically decides not to kill anymore because “there’s something about her.”

CEO stories: the MC is always applying to work for the company and it’s immediate “love”, Those are the stories I believe that people write just because they are what’s popular.

The characters are undeveloped and flat, the storyline is badly written and cliche to the point of being ridiculous or my favorite on these particular stories is the Author popping into it to say that " this is my first story, sorry it’s bad, episodes are short, I know. they get better". It’s clear from statements like that that give me evidence that they aren’t interested in creative writing so much as just getting a certain # of reads.

  • I honestly wish I could say that, but I can’t. The majority of stories that are on Episode are cliché stories. I believe that authors unknowingly create these kinds of stories because clichès stick with you after reading a story, and it’s very likely that they didn’t know that they were doing a replica of another story they read in the past.
    • However, I think that most of the authors notice that clichè stories get more reads so they decide to do a story with similarities in the plot. When they’re asked, they say that they don’t consider it plagiarism or copying a highly popular story, they consider it inspiration. I think that there’s a huge difference between being inspired and just straight up copying an idea.
      • Then again, there’s the authors that have no creativity and see clichès as story ideas that anyone can reuse (as the plots been reused hundreds of times).
  • It was always like that. Clichè stories are unavoidable and they’re always in the trending section. Stories with clichè plots are usually the ones that get the most reads and recognition. Sadly, that’s the way it is and the main reason why it’s so hard to find original stories and plots.
    • I believe that a great amount of people read clichè stories and that’s why they’re so popular. But a lot of people (including me) are looking for innovative and original plots. There’s more than enough clichè stories (not to mention Episode originals) for clichè story lovers to choose from, so why keep them piling up? I say it’s time for more original stories.

As @Annieways said, most of us forum users want to see more original stories but that’s not even 5% of people that read Episode stories. I think we’re too small to make a change. Yet.

Hiding this because I wrote a lot. 😬

I’m a firm believer in the actual story and in its power to entertain me as both a reader and as a consumer of media. I think if a story is entertaining enough it doesn’t really have to be that out of the box in order to get the reach.
What matters to me and I think to a lot of others is 1. How entertaining the story is. I don’t care if your story is the most diverse, most original thing in the entire world if it’s boring I’m not going to read it. On the same side I don’t care if your story has every cliche in the book. If it’s written well and I’m entertained…I’m going to read it.
I think one of the benefits of the recent guidelines change, enough people in the community making a fuss, and a few other things is that the trending sections seem to slowly be getting a bit more diverse in terms of actual content.

For starters we all need to learn the difference between a cliche story and a bad story. Because they’re not the same thing. I’m a firm believer still that if a story is written well it can have every cliche in the book. What matters is the actual story. How it’s told, how any cliches are presented, and even how original it is to a certain extent.

I’m going to add though that in terms of reads it depends on a bit more than just how cliche it is. How often authors update, the chapter length, promotion, skill of directing and grammar usage all really play a part.

This depends highly on where you’re coming from. I think for a lot of people active on the forums this is true, but I think for the majority of episode users this is false. We have to remember that episode is an interactive platform still very much aimed towards roughly 13-25 year olds who are here to be entertained by what they read. If the story is at least entertaining enough a lot of them will stay.

You also mention that a lot of users aren’t really active in terms of the community and I definitely agree with you, which is part of the reason why the same stories stay so front and center all the time.

But I’m also going to elaborate a bit on the idea of the same stories and authors. I think it’s important to know that a lot of the bigger authors have been on the community for 2+ years. They’ve gained a good amount of readers who will at least try what they put out. Barring the fact that episode has to review stories to show up on the trending section a lot of them could probably throw a story out today and be ranking by tomorrow. I’d get mad but at the same time they’ve been working for years now so I’m going to choose to be happy for them and try to work better on my own stories. :woman_shrugging:t2:


I totally agree with you on that point, but now I wonder if the well-known authors who write this kind of stories are actually still writing for reads? I mean, yes, it’s probably satisfying for them to get thousands of fan mails & stuff (since its what they wanted in the first place), but I think you end up getting used to it? Do you think that once they’ve reached the level of # they were expecting, they’re still writing for reads?
I don’t think they do. I guess even though the original motive of their story was bad and self-oriented, this is not something you can’t get rid of. Maybe it’s up to that point where they start writing for good reasons & the story can possibly get better. (But tbh as they’re already stuck up with empty characters, i guess they’ll focus on a more well-thought plot) This doesn’t make the beginning of the story better, but at least they’re trying What do you think about it?

I agree with you. I feel like Episode reached a limit in terms of innovative content since, as you said it’s always the same & they know it. I guess it’s also why Ivy was launched, in order for the episode app to be able to elaborate new content, since the audience’s expectations are slowly but definitely evolving.

Yeah, I’m sorry if my post made you feel otherwise. I actually read and enjoyed a lot of cliches story! I just feel like it could be great to see a little more of changes among the top stories trending.

That 's very true, but I feel like it’s too bad that these authors, who earned this audience, don’t use it to come up with new story ideas. I said earlier in this post that it was bad to write for reads, but once you get them, why not try something new?

You said it, whatever they’ll publish will be at least checked out by their usual readers.
Why don’t try to come up with a more elaborated plot then?

I wasn’t really talking about your post, but more about the fact that people often equate the trending section with bad stories by default. Yes there are bad stories, but there’s also really good ones. I also think you could argue that there is variety in the trending section already. You have to remember that when it comes to genres like romance and drama that nearly everything has been done and probably at least ten times. Romance/Relationships/Drama have been around since the dawn of time. It’s not really a matter of: Oh the author is lazy, it’s more a matter of: oh this has been done before and this too and this too.

I think the bigger author’s whose stories I read do this already. Yes it might be in a cliche way, but they’re still coming up with innovative ways to do it.

I’m also going to defend the genres and say this: people can write what they want. I want new and original just as much as anyone, but at the end of the day we have to let people write what they want. :woman_shrugging:t2: (Within guides of course).

I’m going to direct you to my og post here. This is an app for entertainment. I will also argue that the more popular stories I’ve read do have more elaborate plots. :woman_shrugging:t2:

I think it’s by author whether they still write just for reads. I’ve seen some stories that start off awful and get better because the author has learned more and that their original intent was to write a good story. We all grow in that aspect. However, there are authors that won’t work to “hone their craft” so-to-speak. The story start with blank, pointless characters and continue to feel rushed and not thought through.

So, to me, I think it depends on the author. If they truly wanted to write a good story and just didn’t have the experience, I think that they will continue to try to fix, “revamp” or just work to make their story better. Others, who just want to rush out content on a story just to get attention, will continue to write trash content that is disjointed, conflicting or contradicting to their characters/plot because their intent is still just to get the reads.


This is an interesting question because I feel the opposite… but at the same time, not entirely. And a big part of it comes down to Episode having this big author subculture.

Popular authors will make buddies with other big authors and almost exclusively promote the other in a reader-based quid pro quo. You can imagine how that would amplify reads and keep them at the top spot. (It’s also why you don’t normally see big authors speak out against other big authors - or at least instigate anything - because doing so can burn bridges with popular friends of popular authors, not just the one they’re fighting with.) I’ve noticed that big authors also like to support ones who seem like they’re “up and coming” in terms of reads, story content, etc. It can be very cold and economic.

On the other hand, I’ve also found that readers tend to outgrow the author (of any size) eventually. So big authors will write what used to get them the top reads but no longer does because pieces of their fanbase keep moving on to other things. They get stale for people despite them recycling plots and cliches. So… people like cliches, but perhaps not as much as one might think.

Also, hi! Welcome to Episode. :alpaca:


Some write on Episode as a source of income (only source or main source for some), so yeah, I think some are still writing for reads (even if that isn’t their main motivation).

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I disagree about big authors partnering up with other big authors. I know plenty of big authors who are bffs or super close to small authors.

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I think this is important to point out, because Episode is a job (or at least provides some sort of income) for quite a few authors. Plus, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to see success on the app, and that success is really measured by reads on Episode. :woman_shrugging:t2:

Overall, I don’t really think any of these tropes are outdated. We can still put our own spin on whatever big subject we want to write about.

I personally keep going back to the same few tropes constantly because that is just what I LOVE to read about, and I stay away from others because I’m not a big fan.

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I’m actually writing a fantasy/horror story with a CEO as the LI. But he’s not a bad boy and he’s only one part of the equation. I’ve got the series mapped out. It will be a trilogy. I will release it once I finish season 1. I hope i will be able to give this trope a new breath of fresh air.