1. My love will heal you syndrome.
Love cannot cure dysfunctional behavior. You can love someone through their recovery, but the journey is theirs to undertake. If the character is severely dysfunctional and verbally, physically, or emotionally abusive, your hero/heroine should run, not marry them.
2. The Eeyore syndrome, or “Thanks for noticing me.”
Your hero/heroine’s self-worth should not be based on who pays attention to them. Let’s model heroes and heroines with intact self-esteem: no more doormats.
3. The Jessica Rabbit Syndrome
Your heroine does not have to have large breasts and wear stiletto heels to be sexy. Your hero does not have to have six-pack abs and a seven figure bank account. Sexy is confidence, humor, and a good character. Those traits come in all shapes, sizes, and income brackets.
4. Bad Boy Syndrome
Bad boys make horrible partners. So do bad girls. Stop glorifying them.
5. Bad Ass Syndrome
Heroines have become physically and verbally abusive and behave as badly as the worst of men. Now we have women beating up men, women beating up other women, and men beating up everyone. That’s not what the suffragettes fought for. Bad ass means being courageous enough to do the right thing, even if it comes with a price.
You can write a gripping story without relying on these memes for tension and conflict. Your words have power. Wield them wisely.
Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.