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…):
“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…)
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?
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.
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…
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 (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 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 and archetypes that I’m still missing.