1. AmeliahFrankie
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    AmeliahFrankie Member

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    One cliché to far?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AmeliahFrankie, Aug 5, 2009.

    Just a quick question:
    I'm currently working on a script for a teenage drama series and wonder if you think starting each episode with a "dear diary" type monologue would be far to clichéd?

    As a teenage drama, it is already full of clichés, and I'm thinking this might be one too far...

    Also, does general opinion think this is far too cheesy to use anyway?
    Please help!
    Thanks :)
     
  2. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    There are plenty of horrible shows like this out there with so many cliches it's unbearable. I doubt that your "Dear Diary" goes too far. Look at the audience it would attract...teen girls who write in diaries...
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Strip the word cliche from your vocabulary and you'll be fine. Use the ideas that you know are the right ideas for what you are doing and don't worry about what anyone else has done before.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Way too cliche. And I don't think its ever a good idea to ignore cliche ideas. Some people are okay with them (see: above :D) but there are certain people (see: me) who will put your book down and never ever read you ever again if you do something so obvious and cliche as a diary entry. It could be the most amazing entry ever, but you use the words "Dear Diary" and I'm gone.

    But I'm just one reader, one who despises cliches more than any other aspect of writing. You should do what works for the story, regardless of what anyone else says. (Although I would suggest finding an alternative to diary entries :D kidding!)
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The thing is, what one person thinks is cliche, someone else won't. I can't think of any TV shows that had a regular "dear diary" element to it, and not that many novels, other than the "Dear Canada" series that was published by Scholastic. It may be that some people have encountered a concept a lot, totally by accident, and others have rarely encountered it at all. Everything seems overdone at one point or another.
     
  6. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    R.A. Salvatore does a Journal like entry quite a bit in his Legend of Drizzt Series. Though it doesn't start with 'Dear Journal' or 'Dear Diary'

    BUt I haven't come across many books with this or shows. Well Doug often had a Dear Journal scene. Not sure if that was at the end or at the begining.

    But yeah. I haven't come across many books like this.

    Anyways I say if thats how you want to write it, go for it.
     
  7. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Gossip Girl does it. The story is framed as a blog by the anonymous "Gossip Girl", making each episode a narrated, dramatised diary entry. The Princess Diaries are usually in diary form. The Georgia Nicholson series (Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, etc) have diary entries in them. Then there are real diaries like Go Ask Alice or The Diary of Anne Frank. I dunno, it just seems to me that in this particular genre its overdone. That said, I guess teenage girls like reading diaries of other teenage girls, so...maybe my opinion doesn't really matter :D
     
  8. Deeples
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    Deeples New Member

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    I am one of those readers who doesn't appreciate clichés, and I appreciate them even less as a writer. I suppose the reception of clichés depends on one's audience, and the teenage drama audience seems pretty receptive - even so, I think that for real marketplace success there should be one unique aspect for every cliché... Or at least one really good unique aspect that is the cumulative equivalent of all the clichés. You know?
     
  9. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    No, I don't. If you write it well enough, the cliches don't become a problem at all. It's as simple as that.
     
  10. Deeples
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    Deeples New Member

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    That may be simple, but I think that, frankly, most people do not write it well enough. That's simple, and harsh, but true, I think.
     
  11. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I can agree with you there, but it doesn't change the fact that good writing can make anything endearing.
     
  12. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    I don't know if writing a story as a diary/journal is necessarily a cliche...it seems more like a structure thing. I just finished reading Fudoki, by Kij Johnson. The main character is dying, and she has all these empty notebooks, so she starts filling them up. There was nothing cliche about it. I think it depends much more on how the diary is written. Although, I would immediately be put off if someone literally wrote, "Dear Diary." I think maybe only tweens and kids write that way, but I'm not a teen anymore, so I'll let them weigh on that. :p
     
  13. sorites
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    sorites Senior Member

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    Doogie Howser, M.D. (actually a diary - on the computer, no less!), Sex in the City (her column was like a diary), Star Trek (Captain's Log, Stardate 1234)
     
  14. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow I had never realized how often it was used.

    Though I still say if you want to add it, go for it.
     
  15. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you don't write well enough, does it matter how unique the idea is? The unique stuff that is successful is still done with skill.
     
  16. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Don't worry about cliches.

    If you want my personal view as a reader, major story cliches can be a serious detriment. Like the ignorant farm boy who is destined to topple the evil empire and become king/emperor, get the princess, and slay a dragon on the way. . I'm just not interested in reading that story any more. But I will say that I had to read it quite a few times by different authors before I got so tired of it. This story is still, and always will be, popular. With enough skill, you could easily write it again, a little differently from everyone else, and become famous for it. .

    Why? Because the story is a good one. Doesn't matter how many times it has been done; it's still a good story that people like reading. In fact, probably the best way to reach a massive audience would be to write something cliche. It only earns that label if it's popular! Whereas something truly original (if that's possible) would almost certainly be a little strange by default. . limiting you to a niche market at best.

    Your diary entry is only a storytelling device. . Saying this is cliche is like saying third person is cliche. And it is, in fact, less used than the vast majority of applicable methods.

    How many stories have I read that began with a third person omniscient view (it was a sleepy day in sleepytown. .)? I don't know; hundreds.

    How many stories have I read that began with a diary entry? I don't know; I can't remember the last one.

    Ask yourself those questions, then decide if your method is used too much. .

    The answer is irrelevant anyway. What matters is how well it works for your story, and how well you can write in that format/viewpoint/whatever. .
     
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  17. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perfect example. Also, if you know what details to look for, you'd be amazed by how many variations of Cinderella there are. People still don't get tired of it. If you do it well, it doesn't matter. That's also why it's so important to read/watch a wide variety of types of story-telling. That was, I think, one of the reasons Paolini failed (in terms of story elements, anyway). He had so few sources to draw from that the resemblence to Star Wars was too obvious. When you have a wide variety, you may have some ideas that are tired on their own, but the combination of ideas makes it interesting.
     
  18. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    I agree with other users here, and remember most things are a cliche for the simple reason that they work and thats the reason they are constantly used. Just write what you feel is best and it will find its perfect audience, after all, i bet there is not one novel that everyone in here could agrre on being a classic, everyone will have their own opinion, and if people don't like it, then it probably isn't their thing.
     
  19. murphcas
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    murphcas Member

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    If it's a script for television i don't think it would be too cliche. I don't really see many shows with a 'dear diary' opening, but then again I don't watch tv a lot.

    I think even if your script is the most cliched and corniest piece out there that the majority of pre-teens will watch it. Maybe even some teens too. For example, me and one of my friends used to watch The Secret Life of the American Teenager mostly because it looked so corny and cliche that we had to just to see how it was. It became addicting to watch after a while and it became a way to get a good laugh. I don't watch it any more. I used to watch it on my computer because I didn't want people to know that I was into it haha.

    So I wouldn't get discouraged. If that show can get a fandom I'm sure yours can too even if it is one cliche too far because your script is probably better than that one.
     
  20. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I like Diaries, but I wouldn't like it if the character actually said or wrote Dear Diary.
     
  21. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    My thought too. Sounds like a granny was writing it? Too...detached.

    Teen girls are full of immediate expression (well, atleast in the diaries I spied into). One page could just have a pencil stabbed into it, the next an endless one-sentence babble about the new boy in school. Hormones.

    And yes, I know you're a teenage girl and I never have been, but am I not right? :)
     

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