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  • Writer's pictureJenna Moreci


HelloOoOo everybody!

We bitched about the worst family tropes in fiction and today we're flipping the script! Sometimes fictional families are the best! They're caring and supportive. Or, they're absolutely heinous and that's what makes the book so fun to read. We're talking about all the family tropes–whether it's parents, siblings, or married couples–that make my heart sing. First, I'm breaking down my all-time favorite family tropes in three, two, one!

This video is sponsored by Skillshare. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Number 1: The Found Family

There was no way I could make this list and not mention this trope. After all, it's the law! Found family is one of the most popular tropes in fiction. I cannot think of a single person who doesn't enjoy it. I'm sure someone out there doesn't, but they're wrong! You can't sit with us! There are few things more pure and good than reading about a band of outcasts coming together to form one big, happy family! Do I need to elaborate? Does this require an explanation? It's cute. It's adorable. We love it.

Number 2: Villainous Parents

I don't know why, but I really love it when the main character's parents suck. Make their parents the villains of the novel, and it's even better! I feel like this reflects negatively on me, so just be aware: I have a good relationship with my parents. I just think this dynamic in fiction is juicy! It's bad enough for a character to have to face off with a villain, but when that villain is someone who made them . . . with their genitals, talk about awkward! It adds an extra layer of drama! Maybe the main character resents their parent's cruelty. Maybe they feel bad for having to go up against them. I don't care! I want all of it!

Number 3: The Girly Dad

We have a big, burly dad character, usually some kind of soldier or warrior. But when his daughter's around, best believe he's gonna let her paint his nails. Put on a tutu, and do ballet together? Absolutely! Wear a tiara and join her tea party? Of course, he will! This dad is down to girl around. First of all, it's just good parenting. Show up and participate, ya damn cowards. Second, it's cute as fuck. I wanna join their tea party! I don't even like tea, but I know you're sipping air, anyway, so whatever. I appreciate this level of adorableness in my fiction. Keep it coming. I'll eat it right up.

Number 4: The Surrogate

Maybe the character is estranged from their family. Maybe they're an orphan. Maybe their parents are the villains. That doesn't matter, because the surrogate is gonna fill the void in their cold, black heart! Okay, it matters a little . . . But still, I love a good surrogate character. Sometimes they act as a parental figure. Other times they're like an older sibling. Sometimes they're just the weird aunt or uncle. Extra points if the character is the last person you'd ever expect to see as nurturing! Why do you think everyone loves Gordon Ramsay on MasterChef Junior? Hello!

Number 5: Head of the House

Shit went down. Could be a death in the family. Maybe financial struggles. Possibly the downfall of all of mankind. Whatever it was, the MC had to step up and take on significant responsibility in order to keep their family afloat. They don't necessarily have to be the head of the household, but they usually take on some kind of leadership role, usually as a surrogate parent, the breadwinner, or both. I love this trope so much that I think I've written it in every book I've published thus far.

One, I personally find characters in this position really endearing and easy to relate to. A lot of people can understand having to sacrifice elements of your life in order to care for someone else. And if they can't understand this, they can at least sympathize.

Two, it allows writers to craft mature protagonists, which is my personal reading preference. Characters who handle a ton of responsibility tend to be more mature than other people their age, which is especially helpful if the characters in question are young, like teens or 20-somethings. It's fine if the MC is immature in other ways, but I at least want them to understand sacrifice and responsibility. And this trope tends to cover that for me.

Number 6: Stupid Nicknames

I don't know about your family, but in my family, the nicknames we got were either very weird or very embarrassing. And if we're talking about siblings, the more annoying the term of endearment, the better. "Hey dickface, get out of the way! Shit-for-brains, hurry up! We're gonna be late!" When I read stories where everyone in the family is perfectly loving and respectful and not getting on anyone's nerves at all, I'm calling bullshit! Obnoxious teasing is the lifeblood of a familial relationship, and you can't convince me otherwise.

Number 7: Only I Get To Call Them a Bitch, Bitch!

I think it's adorable when family members, specifically siblings who are constantly at one another's throats, are the first to defend each other. "Yeah, he is a dumbass, but I get to say that 'cause he's my brother! Is he your brother? No! I didn't think so. Back the fuck up!" I love this trope because not only is it relatable, but I think it reflects how families are supposed to be. Sure, you might not always get along, but a healthy family who cares about one another should have each other's back.

Number 8: Father Versus Son

I don't know why I'm this way, but I fucking love it when a son is at odds with his estranged father. The dad is a controlling, toxic dick weasel and his son is like, "Fuck that! I'm my own man. Get out of my face!" I eat that shit up! It's so entertaining and oddly attractive. I think it might be because of the “daddy's pride and joy” stereotype. That label is often linked to characters who have no voice or agency, they just carry their father's torch. Fuck his torch! So a guy who is willing to take a stand against the man he's supposed to “make proud” is in my opinion pretty brave and kinda sexy. You stand up for yourself, baby! I love you!

Number 9: Happily Ever After

Contrary to popular belief, sometimes people get married and like it. Media tends to present marriage as the old ball-and-chain, and while I don't think marriage is for everyone, I also don't think this stereotype is beneficial to anyone. I love stories, particularly romances, that capture the beauty of a couple who actually likes being together. For starters, this trope is super versatile. Happy couples who have been together for a long time tend to act like best friends, so not only do you have romantic instances to work with, but you also have super fun witty banter to play with. Two, the sex scenes, in theory, can be spicier. If the couple has a history, they should know one another's bodies and what they like. You don't have to trick the reader into believing she had a million orgasms. Her partner has been fucking her for years now, they should know how to flip that switch on.

Number 10: The Orphan

Everyone hates the orphan trope. They were expecting it to show up on my worst list. Well, guess what? You're wrong, bitches! Let me tell you exactly why the orphan trope is so effective. First of all, your character is immediately sympathetic. Not a whole lot of people can relate to losing both of their parents at a young age. But I think we can all agree that in a majority of circumstances, that would suck.

Second, your character is an automatic underdog. Unless they've somehow inherited a fortune that's been locked away in a goblin bank, being an orphan will probably result in a life that's an uphill climb. Because of this, we're rooting for the character. They've been dealt a shitty hand and we want them to succeed!

Lastly, and most importantly, the parents are gone. No matter the age of the MC, useless parental figures fuck up a storyline. They get in the way! If it's a young adult novel, we're gonna have to worry about curfews and permission. If it's an adult novel, we're gonna have to worry about holidays, check-ins, and possibly their health. If these elements do not play a direct role in the story, it becomes tedious to read. Here's an idea: kill off the parents. Now you don't gotta deal with all that crap, and we can get on to the good stuff!

So that's all I've got for you today!

Author Jenna Moreci.

Those are my all-time favorite family tropes! Some of ’em are wholesome, some of ’em are villainous, but any way you slice it I’m here for it. What are yours?


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