The "TikTok-ifacation" of writing


Literature has been an escape and a path to knowledge for a very long time, from the earliest classics to modern novels. Authors have had their own personal style, ones that readers could recognize just by reading a paragraph of their writing. But nowadays, it seems as though many authors have lost their own personal touch, and instead of writing a story that is focused on their characters or plot, cater to a particular audience on the app, Tiktok.

BookTok is a section of TikTok where people make videos discussing books and authors. Many people find great recommendations on there and get into reading because of it. While this is something that is predominantly positive, it has a few negative aspects as well – like making reading a chore for many people, instead of an enjoyable hobby.

Popular tropes have surfaced all around BookTok, creating a large audience of people who would read a book solely because it had a trope that they enjoyed. The bad thing about this is that many authors pick out a trope that is really popular and base their book around the trope instead of basing it around the character or plot. It heavily brings down the quality of the book. Yet, there are some books that do that but are still extremely popular; one of these books being Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.

Fourth Wing was marketed as an epic fantasy enemies-to-lovers with dragons. Sounds delightful, right? Wrong. The characters of the book are extremely shallow, with no originality or personality. The main love interest, Xaden, is the ugly copycat twin of Rhysand from the famous series A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and Violet is just another "super small and petite but can fight wars and defeat grown men with her bare hands" bland main character. I could name 50 female main characters that fit her description perfectly.

Not only were the characters so mundane and bland, but the writing and world-building of the book were also really bad. Violet would recite the history of the world out loud because Yarros did not know how to add that information any other way. Like, it would be a whole page of Violet reciting a history textbook from memory because she's just so different and special that she can memorize everything. Girl…

The hype over this book had me and everyone else thinking that it would be the most jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, amazing book that we would ever read. But then after reading it, I found out that the only reason people liked that book was because of the "enemies-to-lovers" adult romance scenes which were so utterly boring that I skimmed through every single one.

Though this isn't the only book that does this with an overwhelming amount of hype, it is the prime example of authors pandering toward people on BookTok. (Also the romance wasn't even enemies to lovers, it was denial to acceptance.)

The standard for books, especially fantasy and romance, has stooped so low it's lying flat on the ground right now. I think that authors should start to focus less on tropes and actually work on their writing and world-building. I can't seem to wrap my head around how people actually enjoy those types of books just because they have a popular trope.

Opinion by Arob Altower