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  1. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    What cliches do you hate?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Morgan Stelbas, Nov 16, 2015.

    I am a very amateur writer in that this is the first time I've actually had a media to converse with other writers, as I had a tendency to keep my work to myself. I've decided that if I want to learn, I have to get out there and get advice and tips from the pros... a.k.a. you guys!

    One thing I've come across from reading various threads is the mention of cliches appearing in stories. I know there are very common ones, but some I've never heard of, and one in particular I used in a recent project and didn't even realize it was a cliche!

    So, to avoid inadvertently including cliches in my stories, I would like you to list the ones that you see the most or hate the most, or both.
     
  2. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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  3. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Storytelling is an art form. Everyone does it right. Everyone does it wrong.

    You're new; bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to make a good impression with your work. You're worried if you include clichés, you won't be taken seriously or no one will respect you as a writer or you'll be laughed at or whatever.

    However, you've got to be true to yourself. Write what makes you happy, and fuck everyone else.

    You know how many clichés are in my vampire story?

    ALL OF THEM.

    You know how sorry I am about it?

    I'm not.

    Courage, grasshopper. Just write the story that's in you, and write it with confidence. That's the only thing that matters.
     
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  4. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Thanks for that link! I was searching for a thread on it already and didn't see this one. I'll take a look at it.
     
  5. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Thanks for this confidence boost! I will write what I write then! ;)
     
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  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Most of the things cited in the opening post of that thread are not clichés. They're tropes.

    Clichés = avoid unless you're intentionally writing satire or using them for humour.

    Tropes = fine. It's probably advisable to have a couple of genre-specific tropes in your work. Just put a different spin on them than other authors have, or combine them in different ways.
     
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  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    It's not about the cliches. It's about the bad ones. Bad because they're either tired or stupid. Some cliches have been used so often they're just bad. There's a reason that "the butler did it" has become a commonplace expression. Because it simply happened too often. Others make no sense.

    Think of a horror film - any damned one. Young pretty girl running away, screaming. Bad guy walking after her, unhurried. He catches her. Probably because she trips and falls. How many times have you seen it? How many times have you sat there and gone "Oh crap, she's going to trip and he's going to catch and kill her"? It's that that's the problem. The cliche that has been so overused that it's not only improbable, it's just tired. People know what's coming next and want to switch channels. And how much more fun would it be if she got away and then fell off a cliff?! Or how much more fun would it be if the car went off a cliff, didn't explode and the man survived the fall, crawled out of the car only to be savaged to death by a wild bear?!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  8. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Right. I saw the other thread. Tropes ok,, but proceed with care ... cliches bad.

    I really was looking for cliches, not tropes. Some mentioned are the big ones, like girl running and bad guy/monster slowly walking to catch her.

    I'm also looking for some smaller ones. Ones that aren't even a sub-plot but can be included at some point and then avid readers will groan.

    I don't want to use the example because I'm just plain embarrassed that I used it, found out it's a cliche, and then realized I had gotten it from some books I read as a kid. So, here's my attempt at another example:

    The cliche where in thriller, or horror movie a person says they'll be right back and they are inevitably the next one killed.

    These are the types of cliches that I would like people to list, so that I can be reassured that I actually do know about most of them and that the one I used was merely a fluke. o_O
     
  9. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Thanks Greg. The ones you listed are very well known. It's true, I do like the element of surprise and would gladly twist these to surprise my readers. At the same time, I guess I was hoping for more subtle cliches that aren't conducive to the plot, but are really overdone.
     
  10. Ippo
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    Ippo Member

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    I hate that "You are the chosen one" -"What? I am the chosen one? What does he mean by that?" cliché. Seriously I can't look at it anymore.
    Or: Fierce cop who doesn't follow the rules is about to crack an important case about a notorious criminal who is all over the news. The police commissioner takes the case away from the tumultuous police officer, so he goes out to do it on his own with his unlikely partner who sticks to protocol like flies to shit. They catch the bad guy and arrest the corrupt commissioner, too, because he was in the dirty game all along. lol

    But anyways, don't be afraid to fuse well known characters into your story! There are so called archetypes like the corrupt policeman or the underdog athlete with tons of fighting spirit. Just create something of your own with it.
     
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  11. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Those are good...er, um, I mean horrible cliches.
    Thanks for those examples and your tips!
     
  12. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    What if we reverse the cliches? I think I'd bust a gut laughing if the guy sauntering along with the giant meat cleaver in his hand tripped and fell. Falling on his own knife, maybe. Avoid the cliche by flipping it around.
     
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  13. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What genre are you writing in? Many of the ones suggested have been fairly horror-specific. People can probably chip in with a list if we know a bit more :)
     
  14. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi DDDV,

    That was one of the things that I loved about Buffy. Cheerleader type going out and kicking monster butt! Awesome! And while we're at it Wonderfalls - the chosen against her will and really doesn't want to be "fate's bitch" hero! And she can't get out of it either. Everytime she tries to escape her fate, shit happens and she ends up right back where she started. Damned awesome!!!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  15. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    I usual write YA action, or action with a touch of high tech sci-fi, or YA drama/love stories. I'm curious about writing full out sci-fi or fantasy, but I've never written in those genres yet, even though I like reading them.

    I guess any cliches in the drama/action/romance/sci-fi would be great.
     

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