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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    List of Cliches

    Discussion in 'Writing Prompts' started by Link the Writer, Feb 20, 2011.

    Hey, not sure if this been done before, but I figured it'd be a cool game where we post cliches we can think up of. (and hopefully reach a number...like say #100?) Note, that some cliches don't have to be bad. It's just simply a list of things that have occured over and over again.

    I'll start!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    (1) In a story about an assassin, the assassin must have a dark angsty past and spend the book/series doing a lot of soul-searching.

    (2) If the hero is an orphan, then he/she lives in a terrible orphanage or with horrible caretakers.

    (3) If the hero has to deal with parental abandonment, it's usually the dad's fault.

    (4) If the story is set during the Napoleonic Wars, then it's a gaurentee that it's naval and the protagonist is a young British man who can't seem to get a woman. If he does score one, the woman leaves or dies later on.

    (5) In horror, the ghost is usually Asian. God forbids we have a Caucasian, Black, or Hispanic ghost walking around.

    (6) When aliens attack Earth, it's usually either New York City or London. When was the last time you saw an alien movie where it was Paris or Moscow under attack? (and the movie centered around that city.)

    (7) If a movie is set during the American Revolution, then it's probably a romance, no doubt from the perspective of a young Colonial man. The British, however, are just plain nasty and one-dimensional. Never do you hear a British soldier give the characters his side of the whole thing besides a curt "You are rebel pigs!!"

    (8) If there's a movie about WWII, it's gonna be revolving around Hitler and Europe/Russia. I'd love to see a WWII movie about the British duking it out with Rommell.

    (9) When you have a scene of chaos, there's almost always a little crying child in the streets that someone yanks away from the line of fire just in time.

    (10) Movies about disabled person (at least the ones I've seen) either had the disabled be a psychopathic killer or have the whole movie be about how they won't let the disability stop them.

    (11) This is a forumula for most action/adventure. Guy finds problem, travels to different country, bangs female companion, shoot a bunch of bad guys, and solves the problem (finds an artifact).

    (12) When the heroes incapacitate a mini-boss that's been a thorn on their side for quite some time, the heroes (being good guys) almost always tie the person up thinking that this time, the person will learn.

    (13) There's always that rich family that has a portly, rude son that shows his distain for the protagonist.

    (14) In almost every crime movie or natural disaster movie, that little kid in the hospital will NEVER get hurt.

    (15) In almost every crime show, at least one of the protagonists has a dark past that's explored in a future episode.

    (16) In almost every crime/police or medical show, there's the jerk boss who apparently lacks basic human empathy. (House being a funny inversion of it)

    (17) In almost every crime/police show, when they have a scene about a single mother and her kid (usually an infant), my heart freezes as I expect the absolute worse to happen to them. Same if there was a kitten or puppy.

    (18) In ghost documentaries/movies, the protagonists are almost always a young American family living in the suburbs of one of the New England states.

    (19) Ghosts are either here because they need help or because they wish to torment the living. They are never here because they wished to be here.

    (20) In mob movies, the characters are Italians.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Well, that's 20 I can think up of for now. Your turn! :D
     
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  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    (21) When somebody on an internet forum gets sufficiently bored to assemble a list of cliches, it's usually on a Sunday and he's normally from Alabama. ;)
     
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  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    22. If you have a lesbian couple, the relationship will end horribly with someone either dying, going mad or both.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    (23) Can't decide who the dog owner is? Put the dog in a small circle with the dog's (usually abusive) owner and the kid protagonist calling for the dog. At first, the abusive owner will entice the dog with something the dog loved (like a treat or a newspaper) and the dog will go to him. Of course, in the last minute, the dog will suddenly figure out where the boy is and go back to him.

    (24) Bullies in the media are bullies because they have a crappy homelife. Once you clear that mess up, the bullies (or one singular bully) turn a 180 degrees and become nice. So, y'see, kids, that mean person is just misunderstood!

    (25) That crazy looking old man that your mom tells you to not talk to is really just a kind, nice person. Okay, yes, it's true that most strangers that act strange are decent, but NOT ALL OF THEM ARE!!!

    (26) Heroes that look different from the people they save on a regular basis tend to angst and wish they were normal.

    (27) Hey....did your daddy get killed by the hero? The hero you know is a good guy? Then discard that belief and start a manhunt for this hero, rather than chalking it up to a freak accident or politely asking the hero to join you for a private dinner so you can talk about it peacefully.

    (28) Superhero flicks follow this same formula: Tragic death of loved one, normal kid/guy obtains special powers, kid/guy trains in special power, kicks ass, angst, has a girlfriend, angsts some more, and fights to keep his identity a secret.
     
  5. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    (26) And the friendly old neighbour who keeps himself to himself but is always outwardly polite when spoken to, turns out to be a Nazi war criminal.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Speaking of Nazis....

    (29) There's almost always a movie about a former Nazi on a quest for redemption. He usually dies at the end after saving a minority group his former "best mates" were fighting against.

    (30) In a movie set in a large city, the setting is almost always in the slums or at least the bad parts of it.

    (31) Almost every movie set in the 1970s is about football.

    (32) Need a minority group to spicen up your otherwise "all white" cast? Shove a plucky little Asian boy in and have him speak in broken English!

    (33) Movies apparently believe that people not from Europe or North America live like it's 200 years ago.

    (34) The British and Russians are almost always the villains in American movies. If they're not villains, they're sarcastic and take jabs at everyone.

    (35) Every Dickens protagonists are orphans living in the slums of (insert city) and they get their miserable butts beaten on a regular basis.

    (36) It was apparently a good time to be alive in Medieval Britain.

    (37) Ninjas. Where to start? They're usually avenging murdered relatives (usually the dad...).
     
  7. Ellipse
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    38) Damsels in distress. Seriously, can't these ladies do something useful like slay the villain for the hero?

    Hero: *bursts through the doors* Princess, I am here to save you...My god, what did you do?

    Princess: *hands over the villain's severed head* Here is our prenuptual. Now let's go get married!
     
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  8. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    ^ lulz ...

    39) Said princess/heroine is about as busty as a pin up and can't stop screaming... or is portrayed as a dumb blonde..
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    40) When someone who doesn't want to participate in something, instead of just moving along to something else, feels the need to make a passive-aggressive comment about how they think the person is lame. It's interesting because said passive-aggressive commenters obviously don't have much to do themselves, do they? ;) But yeah, this one always happens between Malfoy and Harry Potter and whatnot. ;)

    41) When the main character wakes up, thinks about themself and their life in an excuse to infodump, and then looks in the mirror and thinks in first-person about how they look.

    42) When cheesy purple-prose similes are used to describe a character. It's okay if it's from the POV of someone who has a major crush -- otherwise, I don't want to hear about how someone has eyes as blue as a clear pond, or hair as black and sleek as the night sky. Nope, no thanks.

    43) When it turns out that the creepy stalker is really just someone who wants to "protect" your hot woman MC.

    Link, I started a thread like this in General Writing a long time ago, but it got overrun with lectures about how it's only cliche if you make it that way. lol I guess that's true, but it's having much more success as a game here in the games section. :)
     
  10. demented-tiger
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    I'm writing a science fiction novel where aliens attack Earth in a variety of locations. I focus on an alien attack that starts in San Diego, and through a lengthy series of land battles moves into southern Arizona into Phoenix, with other battles near Flagstaff (a city near the Grand Canyon) and Las Vegas; before moving into a series of obscure villages in eastern Arizona/western New Mexico, then culminating somewhere in west Texas. At the same time, I have at least 2 characters who journey from California to Florida by ship while fighting aliens in Panama and the Caribean (where they've invaded South America and the Caribean) and meeting soldiers from Cuba, Columbia, and Venezuala. And the aliens are defeated not by American ingenuity spread to the rest of the world, like in Independance Day, but with the help of good aliens who contact and help everyone at the same time - but since I'm American, I'll focus on America.



    44) The USA is always the one to save the day from the evil mutants, aliens, robots, terrorists, ect... Regardless of where the adventure is or if there might be other law enforcement/military agencies in the area

    45) Groups of space craft are always refered to as fleets, commanded by admirals, and organized into naval units - even refered to as "Navies" - when most space programs grew out of air forces (NASA was an outgrowth of the US Air Force, for example)

    46) On that note, how battles in space always play out like battles in the air - fighters can only accelerate forward, must still fight drag on thier control surfaces, and somehow pull off complex air combat manuveors in an enviroment where all movement is governed by thruster firing

    47) The government always has a top secret program to deal with or investigate paranormal phenomina without alerting the general public and/or erasing all trace said paranormal events occured if they do get exposed - unless that's the whole point of the story.

    48) Unless they're specifically Dark Elves, all evil fantasy races are either butt-ugly humanoids, monsters, or have a monster form they transform into for the final battle

    49) All superheroes are from America, unless they're in an anime, where they can be from Japan too

    50) If fantasy isn't set in the middle ages, it's either steampunk or urban fantasy
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    This is fun! I think once we get to 100, we can try to get to 1000.

    51) Dwarves always mine underground.
     
  12. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Elves always live in the woods and have pointy ears and fight with bows and arrows.
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Don't forget that they're immortal and have deep regrets. ;)

    (53) That strange, plucky person that's different from you and your people is almost always the last of his/her kind.

    (54) In movies about football, they will occasionally have the leading football player swear to win a match for the sake of a poor sickly kid that he knows. Of course, he never considers what would happen should he FAIL to carry out this promise.
     
  14. Archnenna
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    (55) In a book/movie you're a teenager that woke up with superpowers? No, you don't decide to use them for fun and personal gain like normal teenagers would - you rather complain all that time how it's a curse and decide to use them only to help people.

    (56) If you're in an American sitcom, expect to be grounded for everything, and I mean everything you do. Woke up too early? Grounded!

    (57) There's a villain with strange obsession over you? He's your father.

    (58) If it's a horror movie - the big guy that's chasing you cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT be hurt by bullets or any kind of weapon, and even if you cut off his head, expect him to be back

    (59) There's a psycho chasing after you? Don't talk to the police. They won't believe you.

    (60) You just saw a very violent ghost in your room that threatens to kill you? Don't tell your parents, they'll accuse you of lying.
     
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  15. demented-tiger
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    61) If a computer's voice is male, it's probably going to suffer a malfunction that will cause it to try and take over the world and kill people

    62) Basically, any computer capable of artificial intellegence is going to inevitably turn against its creators

    63) If a princess isn't a spoiled, prissy little brat, she's a tomboy out to turn her society's definition of how a noblewoman should behave upsidedown and backwards

    64) Whenever a good cowboy draws his weapon in a bar or on the street, he's usually sober AND a better shot than his opponent. And he never shoots first, or if he does, there's good reason

    65) Dogs will always hate cats and vice-versa

    66) Mice = good. Rats = bad

    67) The Earth of the future will always be the seat of some sort of "Federation" based on modern democratic principles, unless the hero is a rebel colonist fighting for freedom

    68) The Earth of the future will always be independent and have a collection of colony worlds; and it will be a force to reckon with for any alien opponent

    69) Good aliens always look like people, evil aliens will always look like insects or sometimes reptiles

    70) If bad aliens look like people, it's because they're really parasites controling a humanoid body, or they've developed a scientific/biological process to convincingly disguise themselves as humanoids so as pass unnoticed among normal people while going about thier nefarious business
     
  16. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    71) In romantic movies one of the two major characters (usually the guy) nearly always owns a dog.

    72) In romantic movies the male lead typically starts out as a wanker then has some sort of change of heart.

    73) Girl friends of a male characters past come to his aide to show him the error of his ways.

    74) Cheesy dialogue.. no problem.. add another explosion, bad acting, add some more bullets.. it can only help the movie along right?
     
  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    75) Two people can't get along? Don't worry! Have them go on an adventure complete with singing animals and by the end, they're best buddies!!

    76) Did you misunderstand a hero's comment to be a personal attack against you? Then please leave the hero's place of residence. Before you leave the lot, pause and take one disgusted look over your shoulder before resuming your angry march of angry-ness. Oh, and do not, under any circumstances, let the hero attempt to explain him/herself.

    77) Got bitten by a zombie? Hide the bite mark from the rest of your people until it's too late.

    78) In a horror movie, the black guy always dies first.

    79) Babies and dogs are great at picking out good guys and bad guys. So next time that woman you suspect to be evil enters your house, approach her with your infant and wait until they start bawling. Because, y'know, they can't just be cold or hungry or have crap in their diaper.

    80) Disabled people in cartoon shows for kids are just there for PC patrol. The show would've run just fine without them.

    81) Bully picks on you? The teacher will almost always believe the bully, despite evidence to the contrary.
     
  18. Archnenna
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    82) If it's a teen TV show or movie, expect the actors be at the least age of 23.

    83) You know that it's great to be a dangerous criminal in the cartoon. You know why? The police has no guns to hurt you with; instead, they have some weird lasers.
     
  19. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    84) Cartoon police never carry working guns, they carry batons and can never seem to catch the bad guys, enter the super hero....
     
  20. Archnenna
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    85) If you're a blond girl in a horror movie, no worries: you know you'll die last

    86) For soap operas: you find something out about your child (for example, that they're sick and slowly dying) and of course, you don't tell them. You two are not the real parents of that girl, but don't tell her. Your friend's daughter got kidnapped - don't tell your friend. It's for their own good :rolleyes:
     
  21. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    Ooooohhhh Soap Operas

    87) You marry the love of your life, she tries to kill you, you become divorced and pine over her for 10 years thinking she's died of some horrible tragedy even though she tried to kill you. You find out that she has survived and you bump into each other at random. There are sparks, fireworks.. you wind up married again.

    88) You find yourself in prison for attempting to kill a relative.

    89) You have to have emergency surgery to repair unrealistic trauma to your brain or heart and live! It was a miracle!
     
  22. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    More soap operas...

    90) A woman stabs a man and kills him. There's no blood on the knife nor on the man's shirt - not even a drop. But later when the police is looking at the evidence, the knife is all bloody and so is the shirt.

    91) Someone raped you and you've suffered for more than 15 years? Next time you see him forgive him and get married to him!

    92) Your parents shamelessly left you and twenty years later they appear and ask for forgiveness. You forgive them, of course!

    93) You know that cute guy that always smiles at you when you walk past him? Well, in the next few episodes he'll make a deal with the villain and he'll be the one responsible for everything bad that's happened to you

    94) When something happens (someone raped, murdered, kidnapped), it's always explained as God's will

    95) When your friend comes over, don't say hi or greet him in any way - ask him if he'd like to drink something and before he's even able to answer, take out a crystal bottle of whiskey and give it to him

    96) When a villain is plotting a massive evil plan against a good guy, he or she will always plot it out loud, and even though the said good guy is half a meter away, he won't hear anything

    97) Both the villain and the good girl get pregnant - the villain with the other villain and the good girl with her beloved one. The villain decides to marry the good girl's beloved one by making him believe the child is his, and the good girl won't say a thing because she wants that baby to have a father. She doesn't even think about her own baby - of coure that the villain, who's done so many bad things to you, comes first

    98) Everyone looks like a supermodel. There can be no chubby or fat people, except if they're the jealous villain

    99) You didn't have sex - you made love

    100) If you're in a soap opera, you have to isten to your parents, do as they say and ask for their approval of your relationship with your beloved one - it doesn't matter if you're over 30
     
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  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well done! We've made it to #100! Now let's see if we can't get to #1000!! Keep it up! :D

    (101) Heroes of media everywhere, if you must deal with a council, they will never believe in what you are saying, even if evidence is staring at them right in the face. Hell, even after you save the council from the annihilation you were warning them about, they'll still be blind to the next big threatening thing that's coming. So, bottom line, heroes. Just ignore them and let the terror come to them. You can always come back with a squad and pick up the peices. Or wait, better yet...leave the place a smoldering ruin and just go have the exciting adventures elsewhere!!

    (102) In almost every movie about the American Civil War, there's a scene where two men meet on a brook. One man belongs to the Union army while the other belongs to the Confederate army. They exchange meger supplies like a box of cigars, or one of them lights up the other guy's cigar, or they simply drink out of the same drinking cup. Whatever action they're doing, one of them will ask the other why he's fighting. After the question has been satisfied, they part ways peacefully. It is unclear if they end up killing each other in the climatic battle. However, if they happen to be the main characters, expect to see one or both of them die or...they abandon the war and run off together as deserters.

    (103) Snakes are evil, hypnotizing creatures.

    (104) When two people are spending a whole moving searching for each other, they will usually miss each other by an inch. Meaning, they could've found each other had they simply turned their head in a particular direction and ended the movie right there.

    (106) The British have a way of making epic last stands/marches. If you want to have an epic last stand/march, make sure the characters in question are British and have mournful music play as the poor lads get blasted and the British flag waves with defiance in the midst of cloud, smoke, and gunfire.

    (107) In a father/son movie, the father doesn't pay attention to the son and the son hates him for it. Son will run off and nearly get himself killed. At the end, he will reunite with dear dada and they are best buddies.

    (108) The quiet kid in the corner has special and quite destructive power, so of course, the bullies tempt fate by poking at the kid.

    (109) A movie with an old black man and a young white boy? The white boy is a racist snob and the old black man has to sooth the racisim out of the kid. At the end, the kid is buddies with the old black guy.
     
  24. psychotick
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    Hi

    110) What I want to know is why does the blond screamer running away from the man with the knife, always run slower then he walks? And why does he walk menacingly in time with sombre music? And isn't there at least a tiny chance that she won't fall and twist her ankle? Please!

    Cheers.
     
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  25. daydreams
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    111. Except for walking around indoors with your shoes still on.

    (Ok, not a cliché, but still a peculiar thing.)
     
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