1. raetrixx

    raetrixx New Member

    May 2, 2010
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    Dearborn Heights, MI

    Avoiding cliches in my story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by raetrixx, May 4, 2010.

    I have this idea for a story (it's not developed much yet, so it's hard for me to give that many details) that involves a 17-year-old boy being sent to a harsh juvenile facility for a year. I've noticed that many stories about juvenile delinquents or just prison in general tend to have so many cliches that make it uninteresting to read and almost cheesy in a way. Obviously all types of writing have cliches, but some of the stories I've read about this subject were just loaded with them and, frankly, were god awful and predictable from the beginning. So my question is, what specific cliches for this kind of story should I try to avoid as best as I can? I've come up with some already, but I thought it would be a good idea to get opinions from other writers on this :)

    (Oh and if it helps at all, the story takes place in 1984)
  2. arron89

    arron89 Banned

    Oct 10, 2008
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    A story about prison set in 1984 will inevitably be linked to Orwell's 1984, just thought I'd lead with that...

    As to specific cliches, it's hard to say. There tend to be archetypal characters that get associated with prison stories (the crooked warden, the tough yet sensitive cellmate, etc) but, like all archetypes, they are grounded in reality and are quite useful in many situations. The key thing is to animate your characters and endow them with enough personality that they overcome their archetypal status and cease to be cliches. If you leave them as one-dimensional 'tools', then the cliche will defeat them.

    Cliches in terms of ideas are usually pretty easy to avoid if you write with care and thought, but it can take considerable discipline and precision to avoid linguistic cliches, which are what really kill.
  3. Manav

    Manav New Member

    Mar 26, 2010
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    Imphal, India
    1) The boy gang up with other boys and running away, forming a gangster group and ruling the streets.

    2) A big fat warden or guard who abuse the boys.... the boy murdering the warden or whoever.

    3) The boy came in the facility for a minor crime, but becoming a monster due to his harsh experience there.

    The boy after this experience becoming a good person, went on to become a law-maker or something, will be a change. His experience in the facility both hindering and at the same time pushing him towards that end..... if that makes any sense :) Of course you have to add many gripping sub-plots to make the story a success. Hope this helps.
  4. black-radish

    black-radish New Member

    Apr 5, 2010
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    Well, everything I know about prisons, I have either read or seen in a movie.

    You should try and inteview someone who was in prison, let them share their experiance with you. :)

    Good luck!
    ~ Lola
  5. Evil Flamingo

    Evil Flamingo Contributor Contributor

    Nov 7, 2009
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    San Diego, CA
    If you were to do interviews, as was just suggested, I would also do them from the view of a guard as well. Both sides have very interesting views. But what's more striking is when you discover the similarities. Capture that, and you have the ability to stay away from cliche in the plot line.

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