1. Vacuum Eater
    Offline

    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    1

    The New, The Unusual, and the Obscure

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Vacuum Eater, Dec 7, 2010.

    There are many, many lists available online of cliches, so I thought: why not generate a list of non-cliches for a change? :)

    Of course, it's hard to come up with an idea that has never been done before, not to mention that non-cliches have the potential to become cliches themselves given time and popularity, but still . . . I've personally found that this is a great exercise for creating fresher, less predictable work. So, go ahead, post ideas that you'd like to start seeing more of in fiction!

    1) Instead of predictably falling in love, a hero and heroine who dislike each other upon first encounter grow to dislike each other even more. In fact, their mutual animosity begins to interfere with the project/goal they are working towards together.

    2) Main character in a journey-style adventure fantasy is old, overweight, plain, or all three, rather than the typical fresh-faced farmboy.

    3) In science fiction: Highly intelligent aliens who are nevertheless incapable of mastering human speech due to biological differences.

    4) In science fiction: Alien planets with diverse cultures, climates, and landscapes, as opposed to the typical mono-culture, mono-climate, and mono-landscape deal.
     
  2. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    * SF: Aliens who are individualistic and freedom-loving, and to whom human society seems like a collective.
    * Fantasy: The male and female protagonists set out to find the Sword of Perils which can only be wielded by The Chosen One - who turns out to be the female.
    * Fantasy: The rightful heir sets out to reclaim the power in the kingdom from his father's vizier. But since the rightful heir is tyrannic while the vizier is wise and just, the protagonist sides with the vizier.
     
  3. Jonalexher
    Offline

    Jonalexher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Just some that came to mind when you said those :p
    Definitely not cliches, but there are some out there

    Trying to think of one, but can't come up with a good one haha, I'll give it another go tomorrow!
     
  4. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    Although, in fairness' name, Don Quixote is a satire of the "chivalrous knight" genre.
     
  5. TobiasJames
    Offline

    TobiasJames Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    England
    1) The hero survives his trials against the evil Gods and their demons, only to catch flu and die of illness two days later.

    2) The detective, who has been chasing a mysterious villain for years, suddenly discovers that he is suffering from multiple personality disorder, and has actually commited all of the crimes himself.

    3) Harry Potter demonstrates a flaw in his personality. Any one will do.

    4) A gay dwarf.

    5) Just as Frodo approaches the mountain of fire to drop the ring into it, the volcano erupts and kills EVERYONE.
     
  6. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    The biggest fantasy cliche is people going ooh that is a cliche lol I mean by the standards of what is a cliche in a fantasy book - having humans in a general fiction book is a cliche lol I mean they do it all the time.

    OK what is a non cliche.

    1) Monotheism where the magic and religion intertwine
    2) Twins that have seperate personalities and aren't linked in someway other than birth
    3) The chosen one completly craps up and doesn't make it.
    4) The evil one is a case of mistaken identity
     
  7. Celia.
    Offline

    Celia. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    missing boston, washington state
    So was Shrek ;)
     
  8. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    "...4) A gay dwarf...."

    Well, there was an "openly female" dwarf in the Discworld series. Same dynamic.

    1) Sci-fi. The lizard-like alien is the good guy. (sure, it's been done, but not often)

    2) Fantasy. The Sword Of Power is just a metaphore.
    2b) When this is explained by a wise elder, the hero is still clueless.

    3) Romance. A year after he left to follow work, she gets a letter: "Having tons of fun here. Hope all's well there. Will write again when I get the time."

    -Frank
     
  9. R-e-n-n-a-t
    Offline

    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    2
    1. a main character who is a parasite fused into a human body. And the humans are the antagonist.
    2. an elf who is morally bankrupt.
    3. a dwarf who uses anything but an axe or hammer
    4. A vampire that doesn't sparkle
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    You're better off writing a fresh and stimulating treatment of a familiar story. Being different for the sake of being different is what the greenest of writers do - and I don't mean green as in eco-friendly.

    Most of the top rated books and movies are based on familiar storylines, presented in a way that makes them seem shiny and new.

    Don't jump through hoops to be different. Just be amazing.
     
  11. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    Ditto Cogito - that's Stephen King's formula. He took the Weird and Pulp fiction (and radio drama?) of his youth, modernized the styles and presented them to a new audience.

    -Frank
     
  12. Vacuum Eater
    Offline

    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    1
    Okay, if the primary goal as an author is to hit the bestseller's list, I agree. But if the element of fun is somewhat more important, playing around with new ideas can be challenging and entertaining. Moreover, if people never took chances, fiction as we know it would be nowhere as rich as it is now.
     
  13. Vacuum Eater
    Offline

    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    1
    These I'd like to see!
     
  14. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    LOL well actually the chosen one doesn't make it in the first book his brother does. However it isn't explained until the second book. He is then given a secondary role that then turns out to be more powerful but only because he gave up being king.
     
  15. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Almost sounds like you're referring to Jeb and GW Bush.
     
  16. VcatoV
    Offline

    VcatoV New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I don't know if anyone is familiar with "The Company of Wolves" by Angela Carter, but it is a wonderfully non-cliche take on the Little Red Riding Hood story.

    In fact, I think you can find a copy of it online here.
     
  17. R-e-n-n-a-t
    Offline

    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    2
    Here's some.

    The protagonist turns out to be the antagonist and kills himself. The antagonist is pleased that his spell of confusion worked so well! Lol.

    The protagonist goes to slay a dragon. . .falls off a bridge and is injured... and is rescued by said dragon. . . at which point he ends up falling in love with it.

    The protagonist is transformed into a spider by a witch or sorceror early on, and spends the rest of the comical book attempting to befriend the witch so she'll turn him back. They may or may not end up falling in love.

    An elf who's afraid of heights goes to live with dwarves underground.

    The protagonist is a weakling who can only defeat enemies by outsmarting them.
     
  18. Jonalexher
    Offline

    Jonalexher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    hahahaha
     
  19. Vacuum Eater
    Offline

    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    1
    1) In science fiction: highly intelligent aliens who have sophisticated cultures, yet are not anthropomorphic.

    2) Warrior women who look butch and wear just as much concealing armor as their male counterparts.

    3) Protagonist competes with the "Chosen one" to save the day - and wins!
     
  20. MetalRenard
    Offline

    MetalRenard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    France
    Totally EPIC.
    The Edge Chronicles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Edge_Chronicles
    Covers that with some amazing characters. There is a species where the females become HUGE and strong at puberty whilst the males never really get stronger.
     
  21. Quorum1
    Offline

    Quorum1 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    On my couch
    A story with a female protagonist who isn't a simpering idiot in need of a knight in shining armour.

    A story with a female protagonist that does not have a romance as part of the story.

    A story that pitts good vs evil, only to find that there is no such thing as pure good or evil - there is evil in good and good in evil.

    A story with a male protagonist who is saved by his superhuman girlfriend.
     
  22. cmcpress
    Offline

    cmcpress Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    London, England
    It turns out the monster is man!

    (copyright Futurama)
     
  23. MetalRenard
    Offline

    MetalRenard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    France
    Humans are always looking to colonise other planets. In a distant future, Earth has died and Humanity has moved on to another planet. Lets all go and recolonise Earth! (I'm writing this one :) )
     
  24. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Doesn't something like that happen in James Blish's "The Seedling Stars"?

    Those sound very much like the sort of thing Michael Moorcock would write. At least in one case it seems as if only the hero and his love interest have survived, but we later discover that it's the hero and his father that have survived, but the hero has been driven mad by the death of his love interest and thinks she's still alive.

    That was pretty much the motivation behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wasn't it?

    Medea.
     
  25. Jonalexher
    Offline

    Jonalexher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Tomb Raider.
     

Share This Page