1. Daphnes
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    Daphnes Member

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    A plot that isn't too cliche

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Daphnes, Feb 19, 2009.

    Now I don't mind cliches, but I know some people do. I have a plot idea, and want to ask if it is too cliche. If it is, then how I could change it to make it less "done before a thousand times".

    My characters get called to a portal to another world with mythological beings. The one who calls them tells of an invasion from the underground by monsters and corrupt individuals. That's the basic gist. What do you think?
     
  2. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    People love cliche. Look at Batman, that movie made mad $$$$$$$$$$.
     
  3. Daphnes
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    Daphnes Member

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    Yeah, I'm one of those that don't care how cliche it is. Maybe I shouldn't care. I don't know.
     
  4. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    If it is done in a similar way to the thousands of recent 'portal into another world' stories, then it isn't just cliche'; it's boring, trite, overused drivel.

    If you can somehow do it in a different way, (there's a movie where a modern American carrier ship goes through a portal that brings them a few days/weeks before Pearl Harbor. THAT is unique and interesting) then it will no longer really BE cliche'.
    Delivery is ofttimes more important than the bare bones of the story.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In the end, the quality of the writing will determine the worth of what you've written. It really doesn't matter if your idea is cliche or not as long as the writing's good. You could have the best idea in the world, but if your quality of writing isn't good enough to put that idea onto paper, then that idea is pretty much meaningless.
     
  6. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Cliche sells. Most popular books and movies seem cliche to me. But most people don't mind as long as the story and characters are engaging. Many times, it is the characters that make the story.

    I'm one of those people who tend to avoid a book if it's just too cliche (unless it's massively popular - then I read for study). But that's only because I've read so many. Most people really don't seem to care. I went through hundreds of cliche fantasy novels before I developed a major aversion.

    If your story is great and the writing is great, then the book will be great. So I say, go for it!

    Best of luck:).

    Edit: lol - thirdwind already said it
     
  7. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    As has been said, it's all in the delivery. No idea wil get off the ground unless you can write it well. But let's see if I can make something non-cliche out of what you presented...

    So, you're sick of seeing modern day kids falling in the ol' portal and slayin' dragons in the Dark Ages, huh? Okay, how about Dark Ages kids slip into a portal and end up slaying modern day dragons? The "monsters" can be battle tanks and attack helicopters and other modern war-tech. The "corrupt individuals" can be evil mega-corporations bent on world domination. And maybe this mega-corporation is using computer chips in people's brains to control the entire world, so these heroes from the past are at an advantage because they were born chip-free. You see where I'm goin' with this.

    Actually, this is still "cliche" by some people's standards, but it's not bad for somethin' I cooked up in a few seconds. At least it's a mix of cliches, rather than one obvious cliche. It's like Dungeons and Dragons meets The Matrix or something. **shrug** Take it or leave it. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I've never seen this idea, specifically. Brilliant, I'd say, and I would read it, definitely.

    From here, it REALLY is a matter of delivery and writing style. I can see this story going either way. Really boring, or really, really interesting.

    Think of all the crazy and interesting situations one could find himself in, were this to happen!
     
  9. Daphnes
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    Daphnes Member

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    So your idea is a reverse of mine? Instead of kids from Earth stumbling into a mythological midevil world, kids from a mythological midevil world stumble into ours?

    That might be cool, but I'd rather fight dragons than tanks.

    I watched the Matrix recently. It gave me an idea of having a computer world where a virus is causing trouble. These two people find the computer and fix some things, but one of them has to go in while the other stays outside. They download a kind of RPG game, where the guy on the inside can transform into a ninja, archer, knight, or whatever. And he fights monsters like that.

    The other guy has to stay outside to pull the guy on the inside back in when he needs to.
     
  10. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Well, we were merely giving you a way to change the bland plot into something more entertaining.

    Another way would be to not have it a kid, but an adult, and not just a boring, office-worker adult, either.
    Maybe a guy in a war gets sent back in time, or a budding writer or boxer or something of the sort.

    But if you start in the modern world, it's easy to get lost in almost comedic scenarios. (Like Kid in King Arther's Court)

    I like your idea, it reminds me of Megaman exe., but is sufficiently different.

    Sounds good, actually. I hope you write it!
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, I thought of it more like "kids from a medieval fantasy world" stumble into a "sci-fi / cyberpunk dystopia." It still offers the freedom to turn tanks into metal dragons that breathe nuclear warheads (or fire if you're old school).

    Creativty is a beautiful thing. Just look at everything you see, hear, and read and ask "what if." There's always a story waiting there. Even look at your own story concepts and wonder what could be. It's only a matter of time until you come up with an idea that hasn't been seen before, or at least hasn't been presented in the way you'll write it.

    But finding an idea that hasn't been done is like questing for the Holy Grail. Even after you get it, it's still just a freakin' cup; it's what you pour into it that counts.

    Also, I don't mean to be a downer, but the computer world / virus thing has been done to death, probably moreso than the portal idea. (Tron, .Hack, Code Leoko, The Matrix, the list goes on and on.) Sorry. :(
     
  12. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Come, now! You REALLY don't get much out of .Hack which is a slow, boring anime with an untapped potential.

    Code Leoko is interesting, but it's still an in-the-school children's cartoon.

    The Matrix is completely different from the idea he proposed. (Which is more similar to Megaman .exe)

    And none of those above are BOOKS.

    Am I right?
     
  13. Daphnes
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    Daphnes Member

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    You mean the second idea reminds you of Megaman.exe?

    Edit: Yeah, you posted right before me.

    It's true that just about every idea has been done before. It's not really about keeping a story from being cliche. It's about keeping it LESS cliche than others. I started a thread for some character personalities I wanted to use, but the computer world idea would only require two. Not five.
     
  14. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Yes, with the guy who goes in and fixes the virus while his friends remains outside in order to withdraw him when he needs to.

    It is different, and has the potential to be exponentially different; it merely, upon first thought, makes me think of that game.
     
  15. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't seen more than an occasional episode of .Hack, and I only saw that because it came on television, same goes for Code Leoko.

    The Matrix is similar because it involves someone entering a computer program with the help of an outside "controller" who can alter that person's "persona" (like the knight, ninja, archer example). In The Matrix, the controller would upload weapons skills, piloting skils, and weapons to the person inside the program.

    I've never played Megaman.exe, so I don't know what to say about that.

    Books or not, people will compare what you write to what they know. Look at all the out-of-book comparisons being made in this thread alone. If I write a novel that is similar to a movie, people will still say it is cliche, even if such a novel has never been done before. At the very least, I'll be accused of ripping off said movie.
     
  16. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cliche isnt bad though. unless you have poor writing abilities and can't expand and develop new ideas with the help of a head start (the cliche), developments/paths that can make cliche into something more meaningful (for the reader, and hopefully the reader).

    Look at fantasy, consatantly ripping off old ideas... some of it works (those that can take it to another level)..............some fall flat on their arse.
     
  17. TwoToTango
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    TwoToTango Member

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    It doesn't really matter how cliche something is. It's the delivery that counts, good or poor writing, interesting or flat characters, a comprehendable setting etc.

    Really, the story teller (which in this case is you) is what matters, not the story or how many times it's been done. If you keep worrying about what is cliche and what is not you could just end up discarding good ideas because they've been done.

    And I mean. If a man can take "Space fantasy ninjas" and turn it into Starwars you can make pretty much make any idea good.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Forget cliche plots. A plot (or a storyline for that matter) is just a framework upon which you build a story. If the writing is good, it doesn't matter how many other stories have similar storylines and plots.

    If you have a story to tell, write it. Trying to force it to be something else just to try not to make it look like a dozen others is bound to make it feel contrived.

    You could say that Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy turns his life around and wins the girl's heart. is a cliche. Even if it is, it remains a powerful plot at the center of many, many successful stories. Focus on good characterization, rich details, exciting action, lively dialogue, etc.
     
  19. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I like what one of my friends said.
    'Don't worry about chiches when we live in a world where the want to write a story is also one.'
     
  20. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    My main fantasy serial starts out as the "Teens fall into strange fantasy land and fight bad guys" motif. Cliche, yes.

    But I put all my heart into making it its own story--not caring whether the premise was overdone or not (in fact I never even thought about it until seeing this theme brought up as "cliched" in writing forums), but caring about making it the best story I can make it, in its OWN right. It's evolved into a very massive, complex storyline that has more to do with personal growth, interpersonal relationships, and overcoming one's own demons than with kids falling into a fantasy world and fighting baddies.

    What I'm saying is, who cares if an idea is cliched?--since it probably is, when broken down to its bare essence. It's the writing of the story, putting flesh on its bones, that makes or breaks cliches. Don't worry if the idea's been done. Write it the best you can, then see if it needs to be worked on. Like your characters in your other post, it could turn out a whole lot different from what you'd planned.
     
  21. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Because it was well written, well acted and masterfully dark and serious cliche, thus invalidating any negative criticism directed toward the cliche-ness of it.

    Yeah, I agree with this post, and everything else said along the same lines. Don't think of your story as a cliche, but instead as its own entity. Don't try to pick it apart and criticize it against other established works until you're done, because you never know how it will end up.
     
  22. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    Don't be concerned about your story being cliche. Like Carthonn said, cliche sells. But if you're trying to avoid being cliche, don't look as much at the plot itself: look at the execution. A completely original plot could be made into an incredibly cliche story which a cliche story, if executed correctly, could be original. It all depends on how you carry out the actual writing process.
     

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