1. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    cliche fantasy claim to the throne plot avoidance help

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Alex A., Mar 26, 2011.

    So I've made an outline and devoted making a map of the world. However the plot involves a marquess being usurped by his power hungry uncle after the cancerous death of his father and then later reclaiming the throne.

    However, the power hungry uncle is an overused cliche in fantasy and i wish to avoid it.. how can I when hes a main character.

    If i end up not changing him out.. how can i make it different than the other "evil uncle" stories?

    please help
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development?

    Don't worry about using a well-worn story concept. There's a reason they are well-worn.
     
  3. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    Thanks for the confidence boost.. i needed it.
     
  4. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    You can avoid making him an evil uncle altogether. Make the uncle an evil aunt, or a family friend, or a powerful general or bureaucrat, or the gay lover of the dead father, the leader of some religious cult, or something entirely different. Who says he has to be an uncle? There are certainly different possibilities where the usurper doesn't need to be an uncle - many historical examples will attest to this, and maybe choosing something other than an uncle will also give you more story ideas to expand on.

    But if it HAS to be an uncle for whatever reason, then don't make the evil uncleness define the character. Cliches are not inherently bad in and of themselves; they are bad because people use it as a shortcut for characterization. If you hear "evil uncle", you associate it with certain traits immediately, so the evil uncle character doesn't get a chance to develop. Thus, you have to develop the evil uncle into his own, unique character, and, most importantly, one who has a believable motivation to usurp the throne. Wanting the throne just because he's evil, or because he wants power, or because he wants revenge, is too simplistic and, yes, cliche; give him a reason. For instance, maybe the evil uncle disagreed with the father on domestic policy, favoring the rights of the commoners over the power of the nobles, so he usurps the throne in the name of the commoners against the nobles. But being a noble himself, he idealizes the commoners and is unable to actually help them in realistic ways and he makes the economy collapse, not to mention the fact that the nobles want to kill him now and are raising the child of the dead father to do so.

    Something like that. The second way is a bit more difficult in my opinion, but just as good an option; ultimately, all in all, I don't believe there is anything wrong with cliches, so long as you put a unique spin to it and make it your own. Still, perhaps it might be better to avoid it altogether somehow.

    Good luck, and hope that helps.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find myself wanting to see it flipped altogether: The usurping Uncle _is_ a better ruler, and _is_ saving the country from the incompetence of the marquess. He's eaten up by the fact that he did indeed violate the line of inheritance, but he's not willing to see his nephew destroy his country.

    Of course, that sort of leaves the plot up in the air. Where do you go from there?
     
  6. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    well here is the gist.. the uncle is acting as regent of the Duchy while the father is ill and the son is away on a tour of the realm. However, he has ruled for three weeks before the marquis returns and he notices some changes in his city. the uncle gets accustomed to the throne and sees his rule better than his nephew's and instead of giving away the crown, he attempts to kills him and exile him as a traitor.

    the uncle is the duke of a lesser city where he is known for his oppressive rule.. but he has a disciplined military.. i guess hes like kadafi(spelling) of Libya.. ultimately his plan is to be king.. and be overlord
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Again, it doesn't matter. What matters is not the synopsis, but what you do to bring it to life. You could write a story about walking down the street, twiddling your thumbs (I've done it, to make the point).

    What's important is whether the idea inspires YOU enough to put the work into it to develop it into a good story. Don't get all hung up on the story concept.
     
  8. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    alright thanks
     
  9. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say write it. I think clichés are something you have to write yourself bored off to really get out off. And everybody first book usually sucks anyway. So if you are fascinated by a take the trone story with an power hungry uncle go for it.
     
  10. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like Cogito said, just write your story. A cliche is acceptable to the reader if it is well done. Besides, as you write out your story, you'll learn new things about characters and may find that your cliche is not so cliche after all.
     
  11. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    could have done without this... I'll have to actually publish it and rub it in your face in a few years when i've lost all my money on this ****ty book.. huzzah
     
  12. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    But if you keep working and improving on it, you will get there. Don't let that get you down.
    Success never comes easy. It comes with hard work and determination!
     
  13. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    well hopefully the fact that i have been writing since I was 8... so 11 years... will help my case
     
  14. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I've been drawing for about 9 years, and I know my drawings can still be improved a lot.
    Same with writing, imo.
    Just write your book and see what comes of it :)
    Good luck!
     

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