Stories we're sick and tired of seeing in the trending and featured section

opinion

#1

Hi everyone! I downloaded Episode years ago, back when there was only the Classic art style and the type of stories you’d find were more or less varied. Also before all those weird, embarrassing ads that Episode is now known for. I have to admit, I’ve lost hope in seeing the day when the Episode team will ensure that their story guidelines are respected and that their app doesn’t get completely flooded and over saturated with cliché, incredibly predictable and badly written stories. They won’t do anything about their trending section and they will keep on featuring some of the worst stories on the app, no matter how much we express our distaste for them. And I won’t go into the half-hearted “celebrity” endorsements, that’s a topic for another day. It seems that an unfortunately high number of authors write stories devoid of any kind of originality for the sake of having it become popular. Both authors on Episode and the Episode team are at fault here.

I’ve seen my fair share of incredibly unoriginal plots, but I’m curious to see if there are any that I’ve missed and/or what the Episode community thinks about them. Here are the stories I’m personally tired of seeing (of course, there is always the exception to the rule, blablabla…):

Bad boys
“But moooom! You don’t understand! He’s a good guy deep inside, I can change him!”
Bad isn’t cute, nor sexy, nor interesting, nor romantic. Stop thinking that a bad guy can change through love. That does not happen and should not be desired. It is not your duty to try and change somebody through love and it breaks my heart to see so many young girls being completely infatuated with the idea of getting in abusive relationships (and spending hours writing stories on Episode about how amazing they think bad boys are). Even worse, in some stories the bad boy only notices the MC when she gets a makeover! Why is that a thing?! And why is Episode promoting this?! What happened to the genuinely good guys? What happened to falling for someone who respects you? Do these authors think that I’d care if their bad boy character was run over by a bus? Because I don’t. After all, they’re interchangeable. Take one bad boy from one story and place it in another and I assure you no one will ever notice the difference. Also, this goes for both genders. Whether it’s a bad boy or a bad girl, that character trope needs to die.
(I feel like I need to confess something here: I get way too overjoyed when a bad boy in one of those stories gets into a car crash. Love it. But just imagine my disappointment when I discover that this bad boy is protected by plot armor and survives the crash unscathed… Damn you, plot armor. Damn you…)

Pregnancy
You’d think that with most of us knowing at least one person who’s gone through one or multiple pregnancies (moms rock!), these stories would mention pregnancy in a somewhat realistic and healthy way and not use it as a lazy plot device to make some kind of dreaded love triangle happen. And I’m not going to go into how much of an accessory the baby seems to be. Do these authors even know what they’re writing about? Also, why do these authors seem so scared to mention abortion as a valuable option for their protagonist to consider? Because as we all know by now, these stories are never about planned pregnancies, are they?

Love triangles
This isn’t remotely realistic, it’s ridiculous. And it’s not interesting either. Even if a bunch of guys were to fall in love with you all at the same time and decide to fight for you, I surely hope you realize how stupidly desperate that is and go find a man who has a bit more self-respect. If I had a crush on someone and they took their sweet time to decide between me and two (or three, or four…) other girls, you best believe I would run the hell away from that toxic situation just like I run away from those kinds of stories.

Kidnapping
First of all, how do the cover arts for these stories even get approved?! And how do the stories make it past the guidelines while being plastered all over the trending section? How is falling for your kidnapper such a hot topic on this app?! I’m so confused…

Makeovers
Because God forbid anyone finds a girl with glasses and braids attractive, am I right?

Stories about “sex, lust, lies, and betrayal”, especially sex
There are some great ways to write about sex in your stories. But none of these stories’ authors seem to understand how to do so. I could go on and on and oooon about this, but I’m assuming that the people who are already taking the time to read this post know what I’m talking about.

And it doesn’t stop there… Oh no no no:

  • Getting revenge on your cheating boyfriend (usually cheating on you with your best friend)
  • Sugar baby-sugar daddy relationships
  • Being in a reality TV show
  • Becoming rich and famous out of the blue
  • Becoming the most popular girl in school
  • Falling for a gang leader
  • Falling for your boss
  • Falling for your teacher
  • Falling for your step brother
  • Falling for a celebrity
  • Falling for your brother’s best friend
  • Falling for your best friend’s boyfriend
  • Falling for a married man
  • Falling for your roommate (usually a bad boy)
  • Falling for the father of the kid you’re babysitting
  • Falling for a criminal
  • Stories with no choices or choices that don’t matter whatsoever
    Remember when Episode had interesting choices in their stories? giggles
  • Stories with extremely dull summaries
  • Any combination of the above
    Notice how all of these are in Romance. And it’s always a female MC going after one or multiple male LIs.
    (EDIT, because how could I forget about this?!)
  • Vampires and werewolves’ shenanigans
  • Falling for your neighbor
  • Falling for your sister’s boyfriend
  • Falling for your boyfriend’s brother/sister
  • The man you’re arranged married to is an absolute monster with no redeemable qualities
  • The significant other of the man you’re after is an absolute monster with no redeemable qualities
  • The MC gets cheated on which conveniently makes her available to the other man she’s had eyes for

Are there other cliché stories that I forgot to mention?
What are your reasons to want them off the trending and featured section?
What would you tell an author on Episode who would want to write a story like this?
What story plot(s) frustrate you the most?
Any ideas on how to make these plots more enjoyable and original?

May I also add, to anyone who says something along the lines of “It’s not a big deal, they’re just stories, these authors are just having fun, let them be”, please realize that stories are never just stories. Stories influence us, more so when we are as young as the majority of readers on Episode. A ton of these stories also go against Episode’s guidelines and Episode does absolutely nothing about it and sometimes even promotes them (In My Bed, My Teacher My Gangster, It Starts With A Bra, Loving Bad, etc I’m looking at you). What happened to making interesting stories that can educate people on having healthy relationships, healthy goals in life, stay true to their values, reflect on deep and thought provoking issues…?

(Thank you so much to everyone writing in this thread, I love to read your opinions and I’m sorry I can’t reply to everyone! I really wish I could!)

EDIT: While reading some posts on this thread, I saw a lot of people were confused as to what a cliché actually meant. There is a big difference between a cliché and a trope and this is what I've gathered (click here)

A cliché is, by definition, an overused expression or idea to the point that it’s become predictable and/or superficial and has lost its originality and impact. The word “cliché” is meant to be used pejoratively.

Tropes have different definitions, but one of them is: an idea, similar to an archetype but not limited to characters, that is recurring and/or expected. They are familiar but not overdone and predictable to the point of becoming a cliché. All stories have tropes and a story can be considered great or terrible based on how those tropes are used.

Tropes are familiar to us and sometimes expected from a certain literature genre (in dystopian fiction, for example: the rebellion against an oppressive government or the near entirety of humanity being wiped out) Sure, what makes a trope become a cliché is sometimes subjective and what might be an overdone idea to me might be a brand new one to you. But to say that a cliché is merely something that has already been done before and is therefore impossible to avoid because technically everything has been done before at least once is incorrect. Clichés can’t be done right, because they’re already “tropes gone wrong”.

One example of a trope that remains in this grey area is “The Chosen One”. There are some amazing stories featuring this idea/character as a trope/archetype, but there are also a lot of terrible ones which turn this trope into a cliché within their story. This is why a lot of people have a hard time deciding whether “The Chosen One” is just a trope/archetype or a straight up cliché. And there’s really no real answer to this, it just depends on how this trope is used.

I hope I’ve helped someone out there understand these two words better as, I admit, I was confused about them myself. And there’s probably a lot about the understanding of tropes, archetypes and clichés that I’m still missing.


Discussion: What are your opinions on It Starts With A Bra?
Cliché, so sick of it
What do you like about Episode?
To Complain or to Compliment...?
#2

So trueee! There are only a few quality story’s nowadays!! :pensive:


#3

The worst things is when authors get more request for SEX scenes I mean really is that why u came to episode I mean o just hate those scene in stories it’s just gross I mean as an adult I would never allow my 13 14. 15 or 16 year old play because I really want an option for seeing it and and just skipping it most authors MOST WONDERFUL AMAZING AUTHORS ALLOW US TO SKIP IT OR SOMETIMES USE VERY LITTLE SCENES


#4

Well I don’t know what you all find in criticizing others they are taking so much of trouble for you all to read. If you all don’t like don’t read. Why do you critisize other stories? I don’t wanna be rude or something but I am stating the fact. One thing you tell me any “cliche” story according to y’all, will be able to write better than them? Are you all more capable or you all thing yourselves very great


#5

Honestly, I feel like criticizing is a good thing for many authors or upocoming authors. With me, I didn’t want my story to be a cliche or too predictable and knowing what readers dont want helps me as an upcoming author because I know that if I were to make a story that involved any of those topics given I would at least make mine different than the rest ; like a plot twist that the readers don’t expect. I’ve read books where the plots are so predictable. People are recycling the same plots and i just personally get annoyed. This topic was in no way to bash others, it’s just a way to express our feelings. So because of this, I now know what i don’t want my story to be and that’s cliche and/or predictable.


#6

Hey Guys! Don’t forget about falling for your sister’s boyfriend/girlfriend or falling for your boyfriend/girlfriend’s brother/sister (Yeah, that happens too!) categories. It’s bloody annoying! (I said that in Brit accent, Cumberbatch style! :wink:)
Honestly, why can’t anyone do something in superheroes, light humor, health awareness categories or something like that? Something which would give a positive message to the people to do good for the future of this planet. After all, it’s true that “We haven’t inherited this planet from our ancestors, but borrowed it from our next generations.” And we should damn right return it to them exactly as it was.

~AS007


#7

Stories are trending in user stories because that’s what the majority of people who use Episode want to read. If you got your wish and every story you personally found offensive or to be a problem was removed, people wouldn’t suddenly want to read the ‘good, wholesome stories’ you want, they would simply go somewhere else. There’s a reason Episode is so popular. There’s something for everyone to read! You seem to be going after the authors in your post but most of them are writing the stories that people want to read. Episode is a part of a business and they probably want to promote stories they enjoyed that they think the majority of their users would want to read. Otherwise, what’s the point? Instead of demanding authors of user stories (most of which are not being paid) write the stories you want to read, why not write one yourself and get it to #1 on trending? Maybe others will follow your lead! This isn’t meant to be rude, just constructive criticism of your post. I like good stories, too so don’t take me the wrong way. :slightly_smiling_face:


#8

@AllyJay I completely agree on this topic. The whole bad boy thing makes me the angriest because in some stories there are good guys, who go out on dates with the MC but she decides:"No, I only love the boy who treats me like crap more. "

And in the end who does she end up with? THE BAD BOY. No, no choices, no buts. We are forced to watch the MC date the guy we didn’t want for her. The good guy wasn’t even an option!

Loving Bad is an excellent example for this. The MC goes out with this really nice guy for a while. But she’s hung up over the bad boy from CHAPTER ONE. And at the end? OF COURSE SHE CHOOSES THE BAD BOY.

This makes me so mad to see a girl treated like this and to see she doesn’t do anything about it.

Tangled Love.
The player.
Literally anything with the words: BAD BOY.

These are all examples.

Take it from me, I’m one of those nice guys. I’m the type of guy who would treat a girl like she’s a diamond.

But how would girls see nice guys when all they do is obsess over bad ones?? (In episode I mean.)

And even though the bad boy is a KILLER, OR A RAPIST OR EVEN A ROBBER,the MC is like: I love him and I KNOW he can change!

This is getting really tiresome to open up the app and see in the feature section stuff like: _BAD BOY.

Well sorry for my long rant, but I had to say it.

I have read the other comments about Thridweels and pregnancy. And I would type out a very long paragraph about how I agree with you on all of them but that would take hours so I’m just stopping here.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Episode, but I am sick and tired about all these horrible clichés.


#9

Love triangle stories are pretty lit but some stories have the same plot


#10

I agree with you. You all write and get on top why critisize others. It’s in the trending action bcoz most people like and read these stories. This what episode is popular for.


#11

There’s something for everyone to read, however, when you first click on the app, it’s the same stories. It’s never updated. Yes, people do want to read these stories and honestly I have no issue with that, the issue I have is when EVERYONE begins having the same plot/ending as every other book. It becomes recycled books and that’s no fun. There’s never any plot twist. I’ve read so many episode stories where I already know what’s going to happen next because I’ve read other stories with the same exact outcome. Us stating our opinion on what we are tired of seeing doesn’t mean we should write our own book. It’s constructive criticism as I’ve stated before. And I truly appreciate Ally for mentioning what she doesn’t like to see on episode because as an upcoming author, I know that there are PLENTY of readers who do NOT like reading recycled books (by recycled I mean where they pretty much copied another book). I This as well isn’t meant to be taken rudely, I hope you see my perspective and don’t think I’m being rude :slight_smile: Thank you for stating your opinion on this thread.


#12

It’s just constructive criticism, it’s to help upcoming authors. She is not bashing the authors, she’s just stating her opinion. :slight_smile:


#13

@alilli.flora Exactly, I’d love a good plot twist! If these stories had plot twists that made them different from other authors I definitely wouldn’t mind checking the story out!

@LukeDaCat I totally agree. I think stories like that set a bad example to anyone. Why would anyone choose a bad guy who’s known to rob things, etc over someone who has their lifestyle together and wants to succeed in life? It doesn’t make any sense to me…

I can understand why many parents don’t allow their child to read any of the topics Ally mentioned because it sets an extremely bad example and I know stories aren’t supposed to mimic reality however, some things in episode stories just don’t make sense to me.


#14

@Priti As bnmfxo mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with criticism when it is done constructively and this topic wasn’t created solely to bash and tear down other authors. It’s important for authors (especially young ones like in the Episode app) to know what topics to stay away from in order to write genuinely good and interesting stories but especially thought provoking ones that discuss certain issues in healthy ways. This is all part of learning to be a better author. I’m sorry but you’re not a good author if all you do is recycle an overdone, uninteresting and sometimes damaging plot.

To answer your question, yes, a lot of authors in the Episode community can write much better stories than the ones currently at the top of the trending section and on display in the featured section. Without a doubt. I refuse to believe that the authors who merely recycle these cliché plots are what represent the Episode community.

I would be fine with the philosophy of “if you don’t like it, don’t read it” if the app wasn’t flooded with garbage stories. Now it’s just impossible to ignore them, they’re everywhere and make it very difficult to find the good ones. Plus, it actually affects the people who read them in negative ways (example: young girls who believe that falling for a bad boy should be their idea of true love and that a man can disrespect them all he wants as long as he shows somewhat of a good side and a dark past).


#15

I could not possibly agree anymore with this forum!
I particularly agree about the makeover one.
There’s never a story where the bad boy falls for the nerd girl before she got a makeover.
Yes, most of these story are well written but, the idea is way too overused!
What about stories from new authors with new ideas?
I think everyone should be given an equal chance! There’s more ideas beyond the ones about bay boys, makeovers and accidental pregnancies!


#16

@episodeloverl19 Hey, thank you for being so respectful. I understand what you mean and honestly, that’s how I felt about a year ago. But…

The problem is, Episode is not an app for everyone anymore. They used to do just fine without all the pollution of cliché stories and there were many different genres of stories being featured. It was awesome. But for some reason, they gave in to what is most popular with a certain type of user and there’s no variety anymore. With the way that Episode is promoting these cliché stories right now, anyone who downloads the app will immediately have bad stories recommended to them and it would take them quite some effort to find a genuinely good one. So of course those end up getting the most reads.

From a very objective standpoint, a lot of these authors give in to lazy writing for popularity. Popularity doesn’t equal good, and I think that’s part of what I’m trying to convey in my post. Since Episode does almost nothing to bring in variety to their featured and trending section, it is nearly impossible for any deserving author of any other genre than romance or drama to get their story noticed.

A lot of these stories also go against the guidelines on many different levels and are causing damage to the readers they influence. That’s not something that should be left alone.

I try to keep my replies pretty short, but I hope I made some kind of sense :slight_smile:


#17

Yet I’m surprised nothing is mentioned about the mean popular girl who goes out of her way to bully the MC including stealing her clothes recording her having sex and getting changed and my favourite drugging the MC.


#18

I agree with some of these points. The biggest change I think Episode should add is the ability to change your character’s weight. I would love to write a story about how normal it is to be any weight or height or whatever. It’s good and important to love who you are no matter what others think. I often try to diversify my characters and have girls with glasses, different personalities, etc. I wish that these type of stories would be featured more. On the other hand, I do know that Romance stories are very popular (even outside of Episode). I like to read romance stories occasionally, but just recently I wanted to read a fantasy story. I looked in the Fantasy section and all I could pretty much find was Romance, Fantasy stories. While that is okay, I just wanted a break from romance and read about maybe a princess or fairy or something. Even after I read a fantasy story that wasn’t about romance, Episode still recommended that I read a romance story right after. So, yes, I do agree that there is way too much of the same type of content on the featured pages. I think Episode could implement a separate section for the bad boy or pregnancy stories, that way they could feature other stories and target these specific ones to people who are actually interested.


#19

@AS007 Haha, I can totally imagine the accent :smile: And yes, I knew I was likely to miss a few “Falling for [insert off-limits guy here]” clichés :’)

I’d love to see more stories including positive messages in the spotlight! And with humor that is more sophisticated that getting to choose between kicking your cheating bad boy boyfriend in the stomach or in the family jewels (and then have the MC not do any of those things and run away crying instead).

I very much love that quote, and may I add: we should damn right return it to them exactly as it was or better!

@LukeDaCat Thank you! I knew I wasn’t the only one being frustrated by the lack of choice on who the MC gets to date! Why is the nice guy even there then, if all he does is bend over backwards in a corner and we can’t do anything about it. It’s so obvious where the story wants to take you and it’s never a good place (towards the bad boy…). It’s gotten to the point where you can already tell the whole plot of a story just by looking at the cover art and title.

Don’t apologize for your long rant, it was a pleasure to read it!


#20

@Melc144 Oh my! Yes! And it’s usually a rich white blond, blue-eyed girl wearing a lot of pink, isn’t it? And her friends are always devoid of any kind of personality or cognitive ability. How could I forget that one?!

@Daisy_Writer15 Honestly, I also really like romance stories, just not when it’s incredibly cliché. I totally get what you mean :slight_smile: I’d love to see more body positivity in stories and romance stories where the MC’s looks aren’t so emphasized. For some reason, if she doesn’t look like a super skinny lingerie supermodel, her love interest doesn’t even glance in her direction. It’s depressing.

I wish Episode would do a better job in choosing the stories they feature in their temporary sections. Because even those aren’t featuring the right stories sometimes.

Also, if you’ve published any stories with the characters that you’ve mentioned (girls with glasses, different personalities…) please let me know, I’d love to check them out!

@harsha I agree, I see it all the time and it’s honestly disturbing… Erotica really isn’t as great as these thirsty young readers and authors make it seem. Sure, it can be tasteful if done in the right way (and with an option to skip it, like you said) but I have yet to see more stories doing it that way. It’s especially alarming when the story completely revolves around those sex scenes with little to no plot. And Episode doesn’t do anything about this!