If you want to write something that will get lots of views, you’re not alone. Yes, some people might call it selling out, but I beg to differ! It is fair enough if you spend time thinking about your readers and what you can do to make them happy. After all, who wouldn’t want to get reads for all of their hard work? So all of you authors probably want to know what sells on Episode. I mean, there’s no harm in knowing! Even if you decide that making popular stories isn’t for you, it is great to know your competition.
To be honest, I don’t even see it as selling out if you add a few tropes that you know will get attention. You just need to make sure that you care more about making a story you love. It’s only selling out if you let your money-making needs take over the plot and quality of what you make. It’s all about taking some of the story points that sell and making something new and unique that hasn’t been done before. I’ve spoken about “the same, but different” in my post on writing Episode stories, and this is the best way to do it. Make stories that people will recognise, but make them new and fresh!
So sit back and relax. It doesn’t matter if you end up using these selling points or not! Knowing the things that sell helps you to use them and avoid them. If you’re keen on building your audience, you could start with a story full of cliches, then move onto something more you once you have loyal readers. You can always learn something from the popular stuff in stories if you keep your eyes open.
Out of all of the genres on Episode, Romance sells the best. Take a look at your app! Popular romance stories have millions of reads, and Episode knows it! Most of the Episode Featured Stories are also in the romance genre lately, because it makes so, so much money. I mean, that is one of the main reasons why Episode’s stories all seem the same, but why would they change up their plan if what they’re doing works so well? Not enough of us complain that their stories are generic and samey, so they don’t really have a reason to do anything different.
That’s not to say that you can’t do something different with a romance story yourself! Of course you can! I’m saying that Episode doesn’t do anything new. That doesn’t give you a free pass to do the same! You can make your story really unique by putting your own spin on the romance genre. The tropes I’m going to speak about later have been done to death. If you can change up that formula, you could be tapping into a gold mine!
Recommendation: Try writing a romance about a kind, sweet guy. There aren’t many of those on the app and loads of people are looking for them! You can use the romance genre to your advantage whilst still making something new.
The Bad Boy
People love their bad boys. It seems teenagers in particular fall in love with a guy with a little edge and a leather jacket. If he teases the MC and gets her in a lot of trouble, even better! The bad boy is often moody and passionate, dark and mysterious with a way to draw the MC in straight away. Your bad boy might have a dark past that makes him act the way he does. He might be a rich guy with parents who don’t care. He could be hardened by his life in the ghettos. Bad boys come in many shapes and forms. They can be rich or poor; popular or a loner.
Cliche as hell, am I right? But there is an appeal for a lot of people, so it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for reads. Do you know what? Bad boys can be really interesting if you give them enough characterisation in your story. I don’t want to read about a guy who is nothing but a bad boy, but I am open to read about a LI who starts off as one.
One of the things that probably works so well about the bad boy trope is how versatile it is. As those boys come in so many different shapes and sizes, it can be really easy to add them into your story and make them seem new and fresh. Of course, not a lot of writers use that versatility well, but you can do it if you try. It sells for a reason: Episode readers love the mystery.
Recommendation: make sure you give that LI a lot of thought. Don’t let being a bad boy define him completely.
The Gang Member
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of cross-over between the gang member and the bad boy. They’re different, though! The gang member trope is a lot more specific and not as versatile as the bad boy. If you’re looking for what sells on Episode, either the gang member or the bad boy are probably your best bets
The gang member is, obviously, in a gang. He’s hard, tough and ruthless. You might be told in the story that he’s a player, or that he doesn’t really love girls. And I don’t mean that he’s gay! No, that would be too unique. I mean that he’s just waiting for that oh so cliche girl to come and change him. The girl who’s not like other girls. She’s basically your typical mary sue. The MC always has to start off as good, innocent and naive. Then, by the end, she has to be changed. Being with the gang member makes her tougher and “sexier”, and she learns about the “real world”.
I don’t really like this trope and I avoid stories about gang members or leaders. It does sell, though, and so it is a good trope to think about. Just make sure you don’t make the same story that’s been written 500 times before! As there’s less versatility with this one, it’s harder to make something new.
Recommendation: try not making the MC naive at the start. We’ve seen that story way too many times. It would be nice if the MC taught her LI a life lesson or two! Being in a gang doesn’t teach you everything about the real world.
Ok, this one is really hard to write about. I don’t really like pregnancy stories. On an app for young girls, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to make pregnancy seem romantic and fun. It’s not and it would be hell to find yourself in the situations some of these MCs are in! I’m looking at you, teacher stories. That’s illegal and just wrong for so many reasons. Why would anyone like it?
But hey! We’re here to talk about what sells on Episode, not what tropes I think are stupid. We’d be here forever if I started talking about that! Lots of readers like pregnancy stories for the same reason I like to watch videos about the deep web. We don’t want to do the thing ourselves, but reading about it or watching a video satisfies the urge to know more. I guess I get that. They get loads of reads, so it is good to think about that when writing your own story.
Often the MC will have gotten pregnant by someone she shouldn’t have: her teacher or friend’s boyfriend or something like that. There’s a big moral grey area with a lot of these stories, but I’m not here to judge.
Recommendation: try adding other plot points to the story. Don’t make the whole story about being pregnant. It’s been done to death on its own, and it’s really not that interesting of a topic.
If you’re looking for a story that doesn’t have to promote illegal activity, the millionaire trope could be for you. Writers can add a little bit of bad boy flare to these guys, but there’s no reason why you have to! No every LI has to be bad! I mean, you can even have the broody, silent guy in this story without him falling into the territory of other tropes. You just need to be able to do it properly.
The idea of this trope is that the MC is a poor or average girl. She meets a millionaire and they fall in love. Then she’s not so poor anymore! In fact, she’s filthy rich and her life is perfect. It doesn’t sound really realistic, am I right? Well, it doesn’t have to be like that. Being rich doesn’t solve all of your problems, and it would be nice to see a story show that from time to time. But still: I can see the appeal of this one. It’s fun and light-hearted (usually) and who wouldn’t want a nice, rich guy to fall in love with them and sweep them off their feet? I sure would… if we had chemistry.
This trope is pretty harmless, even if it doesn’t usually make a lot of sense. Of course, it takes over the plot way more than, say, simply making your story a romance, so it will take a lot of thinking. Plus, you’ll need to find a way to make this trope different in your story, which can be the tricky part.
Recommendation: try making the MC get rich on her own. It’s a nice message! At the moment, most of the rich women get there by marriage. You can change that.
The idea of this story is a reality for many girls all over the country. The execution, on the other hand, makes forced marriage seem a lot more romantic than it actually is. Sure, I know women who are happy with their husbands and their lives now, but that doesn’t mean we should make it seem like forcing someone to marry is ok or cute. It’s not fine as long as they fall in love, so you have to be careful. There’s a way to do this right and a way to do this very badly.
In this trope, the MC is thrown into a new world because she’s going to have to marry some random guy. She hates the idea of getting married to him, but chances are that she doesn’t have the power or agency to do anything about it. Then maybe some guy will come and save her, or maybe she’ll realise her future husband is quite a nice guy and fall in love with him anyway.
It’s quite a sad message for young girls, but it doesn’t have to be done that way. I’ve seen MCs rise up to the challenge and plan their own way out of the marriage. I’ve seen them tell their betrothed that they don’t have to follow tradition and they can choose where their lives go. That’s nice! Then if they fall in love, they’re doing it on their own terms.
Recommendation: try having the MC protest and do something about the marriage on her own. You don’t need to have other people get her out of the mess. Help is fine, but make her useful too!
Becoming a Princess
Oh, I dreamt about this when I was a little girl. Who wouldn’t want to find out that they’re actually royalty and that it’s now their job to learn how to talk properly and which spoon they should use for what meal? And the makeovers! A good makeover can show the MC that she’s naturally pretty, but that she just doesn’t dress so well or know how to sort her hair out. Yes, I read all of the Princess Diaries books as a teen.
But this trope has been done to death. It seems as though everywhere we look, there’s yet another girl who either finds out that she’s the daughter of a king or learns that the guy she’s been dating is the prince of some made-up, far-away kingdom in Europe. There are loads of stories like that on Episode because it sells! And it sells because it is one of the most common fantasies young girls have. If you’re not careful, you’ll just be copying the things that came before you. You need to find a way to make your story new and fresh.
Recommendation: give the MC some personality. One of the biggest issues I have with this trope is that the MC can be so bland! I want to know what makes her a good princess. I want to know what makes the prince fall in love with her. Make her interesting! Don’t let her be perfect! How is she a better princess than all of the other girls out there who were flirting with the prince? Give Cinderella a mind of her own.
We have already seen that this story sells by the Episode team themselves. We’ve had a fake relationship with the bad boy who treats you badly but still loves you. Cool. If Episode is willing to buy the rights to a story like that, then there must be some reason! It probably does get quite a few reads! Especially since this was before It Started With a Bra times when we started questioning Episode’s choices.
This trope is pretty clear. The MC has to pretend to be in a relationship with some guy for what they promise you is a good reason in the story. It might be to make her ex jealous after he slept with her best friend (that happens a lot more than you think) or it might be because the LI needs to prove to the media that he isn’t heartless. Or if you’re really lucky, it’s both. Of course, they go through a lot of stress: people don’t believe them and someone is trying to break them up! Gasp! But it’s all okay because they are actually in love in the end.
Recommendation: try thinking of some different reasons why the MC and LI would want to pretend to be in love. Why do we have to stop at jealous ex and heartless LI? Why not make this a story about secret agents using marriage as a cover or something? You can work this story, girl!
I can’t lie to you: I’ve never read a story like this on Episode, but it sells! It’s usually about some leader of the pack guy becoming “mated to” the MC (I don’t think most of these writers know what “mating” actually means). What they really mean is that the werewolf has imprinted on the MC like a little
He is sometimes a bad boy, but he doesn’t have to be. Sometimes she will be from a rival pack and other times she’s just a clueless human. The thing they all seem to have in common, though, is that the LI is the one doing all of the falling in love and the pursuing and the MC just kind of accepts this. It’s rather passive. I don’t like that idea and I’d file it as a harassment claim, but hey! This is Episode and it sells! Since when have people cared too much about weird messages like that?
Recommendation: try making the MC and LI imprint on each other. It’s a lot less icky and a lot more romantic when the MC shows that she feels the same way. Sure, we see in her head and we know she does want it really, but the LI doesn’t know that and he still tries it on. That’s worring.
This sells on Episode for a reason. Most of us love the idea of getting a magic makeover that will sort our lives out. Then, people who never even noticed us will find us attractive and that one guy we’ve always had a crush on will start taking an interest. Sure, I can get behind that. In this trope, the MC either starts the story with braces, bad hair and glasses or we see in flashbacks that she used to be like that. Either way, by Chapter 3, she’s not like that anymore. Good for her!
Then everyone in school wants to know who she is and she finally has the courage to talk to the hottest guy in school. He notices her for what seems like the first time. In some versions of this story, though, you’ll find out that he did actually have feelings for you for a long time and was just too broody and annoying to tell you that. You anger the mean girls by being too pretty and by taking some of the attention away from them. Why? Well, you know. Mean girls can’t have their own personality and real reasons to be mean to you. The MC has to be a victim for no reason other than being good-looking. Poor her.
In the better versions of this story, the makeover is only a starting point. Her new looks might get the LI’s attention, but that’s not enough for a good relationship. So they bond because they have stuff in common. The makeover might give her the confidence she needs and makes him notice her, but it’s her personality that keeps him.
Recommendation: try making her question if he would have noticed her before she was hot. That sends out a great message.
The Chosen One
Heads up, wizards! Harry Potter is here! Most people in the world have seen or read Harry Potter (or both), so we know what the Chosen One is. This isn’t the only example, but it is one of the most famous! You probably know that Rowling is filthy rich now. Her books did amazingly! People love reading about a Chosen One. So yes. This one sells on Episode, too.
The Chosen One trope is about a character who has to save the world in some way. They’re the only one who can do it and if they don’t everyone is doomed. Usually, they have some friends who help them on the way and some old, wise magical person will tell them the prophesy or point them in. the right direction. Then they struggle like crazy! The chances are that they don’t think they can do whatever they’re supposed to do. It’s really hard and they’re just not strong or powerful enough. They have doubts, but by the end, they’ve managed to save the world and fulfil their destiny.
In the fantasy section of Episode, this sells the most. I guess loads of people want to be told that they’re special and given a task only they can do. I get that! If writing wasn’t already my special task, I’d feel the same way! I wish that were true. How cool would it be to be the one chosen to write a great story?
This is another versatile trope that gives you a lot of scope to make it your own. Your story can be about a lot of different things and have a Chosen One in it!
Recommendation: what if the MC isn’t the Chosen One? That would change things up a lot.
The Love Triangle
We have all heard of the love triangle trope before. If you haven’t where have you been all your life? It’s all over Episode because it sells so well! People seem to really love it.
In the love triangle, the MC usually has two guys interested in her. They have very different personalities and she likes them for different reasons. The most common version of this is the good guy and the bad boy. They both love that MC and they want to show her that they’re better than the other guy! She might just be drawn to the bad boy because of all of that passion and mystery, and the good guy makes her laugh and shows he cares. The bad boy tells her that he’s no good for her and that she should stay away from him, but darn it! He can’t stay away either! When she’s with the good guy, she almost forgets how much she obsesses over the bad boy. Almost.
This one is all over Episode and I can think of about eight different stories that follow this trope right off the top of my head. It’s everywhere! And then she usually ends up with the bad boy and I hate it because I’ve already fallen head over heels for the good guy. But seriously: how cool and new would it be if the guys realised she’s messing them around and became best friends, leaving her out of the picture? I mean, it’s fair enough to be trapped between two guys, but for a whole 50-chapter story? If I were them, I’d tell her she’s pushing it.
Recommendation: why not have guys who are both nice to her, but in different ways? Represent different parts of her life? Why not two girls and one guy?
Romeo and Juliet
This one can be found everywhere because it’s easy and gets loads of reads. There’s no question why Episode is full of them: it sells really well! No, they don’t have to die like in the classic story. The most important thing is that it’s a forbidden romance and they really shouldn’t feel the way they do. They need to keep their love hidden from someone who won’t like it.
This could be because they’re from different magical races, families or kingdoms. All that we need to know is that these two groups are fighting, for some reason, and that their love conquers that. They might even find that in the end, their love is the thing that stops the two sides from going to war.
There’s nothing wrong with this trope at all. It works well and it sells, and I think we should see it more on Episode! Shakespeare used it for a reason.
Recommendation: this trope has been done with normal, everyday people loads. Try thinking of new groups of people who could be against each other! We’ve seen it as a race issue and humans vs zombies. What else can you come up with?
There are loads of tropes you can try out to make sure your story sells on Episode, but make sure that you make them your own. If in doubt, try out the Tv Tropes Website for more info on tropes you can use. You don’t have to sell out! It’s kinda hard to avoid tropes, anyway, so just use them well!