1. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    The most cliche story premises.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mr Sci Fi, May 5, 2008.

    I see this quite a lot in Science-Fiction writing, but I think every genre has its formulaic cliche.

    I suppose the whole adage rings particularly true in this case: There are no new ideas, just different ways of telling the same story.

    Sure, but is there that particular story that just can't be redeemed in any manner of storytelling because it's been done so much? I have a few:

    Adam & Eve.

    Amnesiac wakes up alone and spends the story piecing his/her life back together.

    Nerdy guy becomes popular guy.

    Poor farm boy realizes he is the savior of an old prophecy and the last of an ancient race of heroes, and through the guidance of an old sage he quests around the world with a ragtag band of miscreants in an attempt to find a lost, magical item so he can use it to save the world from an evil dictator.
     
  2. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    That last one made me laugh. Seemed more random than anything, even though I know it's cliche
     
  3. Carpa Túnel
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    Carpa Túnel Member

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    Romantic Comedies, Always A Happy Ending. Every ones a cliche
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just because so many of those stories are often retold badly doesn't mean the next person who writes them won't strike gold with a fresh treatment of the theme.

    In fact, someone can take the exact same story, fully acknowledging its origin, and create a beautiful new work. As a perfect example, compare the new Battlestar Galactica with the embarrassingly horrible original.

    The amnesiac cliche has had a number of fine retellings. It's just a variation on the classic self-discovery theme.

    Frankly, I STILL like Star Wars.

    And romantic comedies succeed of fail depending on the character interaction, not the plot.
     
  5. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Yeah, I think it sums up the entire fantasy genre.
     
  6. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Aw, you killed a thread that had the potential to be fun. :(
     
  7. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I have to agree with Cogito on this. In fact, I recently read a wonderful and refreshing re-telling of the Adam and Eve story.

    Plot cliches exist because familiarity breeds comfort - but that doesn't mean that comfort can't be exciting as well.
     
  8. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just take a look at the Bourne Identity. I haven't read the book yet, but the movie was amazing.
     
  9. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Lol. I take it you're looking for additions to the list?
     
  10. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    That's what I was hoping for.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't believe in the no win scenario.

    Oops, wrong speech.

    I don't believe in the irredeemable cliche. In fact, why not take the most tired cliche you can come up with, and see if you can turn it into something brilliant!

    Sounds like a weekly story contest challenge to me :)
     
  12. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Well actually, that's why I started this thread. I just finished a new story and realized after I finished it that it was a retelling of Adam & Eve on a different planet, with a petty alien life form that seemed to resemble the concept of God.

    So I was like, "Great, I'm a hack now." So I felt like making fun of myself on this thread.
     
  13. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    How about the 'artificial reality/intelligence program becomes self-aware and attempts to destroy/take over the world' story line?
     
  14. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Don't you think the stories like the Matrix are cliches as well.

    (My idea fo a science fiction story: The Earth is protected by something [not sure alien attacks are so last year] by being placed in a child's eye.)

    Oh yeah! That would be awesome.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    aka Frankenstein
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Or Terminator.
     
  17. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Vampires.
    Vampires are cliche, but then again what if we have futuristic vampires. Watch out robots are going to suck your blood.
    lol!
     
  18. silverfrost
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    silverfrost Member

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    Or Battlestar Galactica on TV. :p


    One of my favorite stories is a retelling of Adam and Eve, but the whole time I was reading it, it never even crossed my mind that it was a cliche.
     
  19. FoxyMomma
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    FoxyMomma Contributing Member

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    Are you sure you can't call these archetypes instead of cliches?
     
  20. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Actually, I think that'd be more acurate Foxy
     
  21. FoxyMomma
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    FoxyMomma Contributing Member

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    An archetype can stand the test of time and be different on it's own without being cliche. I would definately call Adam and Eve, Vampires, Star Wars-esk things archetypes.
     
  22. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    "The Matrix" was pretty much "Neuromancer" with Ted.

    So it's cliche now, but Gibson practically invented the genre.

    But, as Cogito already said, Mary Shelley had the idea long before.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And yes, cliches are more often plot components or resolutions rather than entire plots. A theme is archetypal if it recurs persistently.

    A deus ex machina resolution is a cliche. The gunshot killing a witness before he can explain the cryptic clue he just revealed is a cliche.
     
  24. AwfulBigAdventure
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    Well, here are some of my favorite cliched endings:

    It was all a dream
    The story was all told by a dog.
    The characters a schizophrenic
    The person(s) are (were) dead
    The character has an evil twin
    The character convienently forgot something in his past (usually via amnesia) which he recalls now in the time of battle.

    Oh, and my favorite, a little something I like to call Baby Ex Machina: female characters, after having a baby are now granted with the earthly wisdom to change everything wrong with their life now that they are Mothers. I often entertain the idea that all of my problems could convienently be solved in a mere 9 mos if I can't think of a solution.

    Naturally, there are good things which use these devices... but it also draws many bad writers like moths to the flame. And that is amusing.
     
  25. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    I didn't want to start a debate here. So forget this thread. People are overanalyzing it.
     

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