1. Alcatraz

    Alcatraz New Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Kilmarnock, Scotland, UK.

    Cliched plots.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Alcatraz, May 20, 2010.

    There are times when most of us come up with what we believe to be the best plot ever, and have fantastic ideas on how the tale will progress.

    Often, however, when explaining the plot and background, you suddenly get the feeling that, perhaps the plot and idea are a bit 'samey', if not cliched.

    To give you an example.

    I've just started a new WIP which when I started plotting and researching, in my head it sounded great, but when I started looking at other writings in the genre, I started to doubt myself.

    If you don't mind, I would like to share my plot and idea.

    (EDIT:- My story is UK based. Scotland in particular).

    Imagine a Venn Diagram. In one set you have the Security Service (MI5), and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and GCHQ. In the other set you have the various British Police Forces. In the intersection you have my fictional Agency, ISIS (Intelligence Security Investigative Service), an agency with both intelligence and law-enforcement powers.

    My protaganist is a former Military Police, (Special Investigation Branch) Sergeant who has been recruited into ISIS and he's sent back to his native Glasgow to liase with an old school friend who is now a Detective Inspector with Stratchclyde Police who has been investigating a Neo-Nazi gang who have sprung up in one of Glasgow's spralling Housing Estates.

    The Neo-Nazi gang also have suspected links to a fundamentalist Christian group who have 'Church Retreats' on the US/Canadian border, and who are in the process of setting up in Scotland.

    It is the involvement of this religious group which has raised the involvement of ISIS, based on intel from both the ATF in the US and RCMP in Canada.

    During a personal meeting between my protagonist and his Stratchclyde Police friend, the friend, and some civilians are killed in a very rare (for Scotland anyway) drive by shooting.

    The novel then follows my protagonist's investigation into the religious group and the Neo-Nazi gang, and how it keeps crossing over into the murder investigation of his Police Officer friend.

    So my question is; as a plot...Cliched or not?
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    A plot is a component of a storyline. What you are describing is a storyline.

    Storylines are not cliche. They are well executed, or poorly executed. Frequently encountered storylines are tropes. They become tropes because they work - again, if well-executed.

    As for your outline - here it comes:

    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has 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 this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?
  3. Aeschylus

    Aeschylus Contributing Member

    Jun 19, 2009
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    Washington, DC
    Of all the thousands upon thousands of works of fiction ever written, every storyline will sound cliche. It doesn't matter how original it sounds to you, you'll originally find someone who has written something that has a similar-sounding storyline. You can't avoid that. Like Cog said, it's all about execution. It's about the way you write it. If you write it well, and add depth and original elements, it will turn out well, but only if you make it your own. It's about ownership over your own writing, nothing else; the cliche-ness of the storyline doesn't matter. The final product will only seem cliched to other people if you're not able to master your product.

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