1. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

    Jan 24, 2011
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    How to keep an original idea from becoming a tired cliche

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Birmingham, Mar 17, 2013.

    I'm writing about a world that faces a new reality, a true change in paradigm. I try to write about regular people, their thoughts and emotions as they adapt to this new reality. One of my characters is a dictator who tries to realize just how he can use this new reality to his own advantage. As it happens, the biggest advantage I could find for this character, is that he concludes the new reality would make experiments on human beings a lot more accurate and meaningful to science.

    That dark turn of events really takes me to things that have been done in the past, as I have characters who are appalled and disgusted by the dictators, while thinking about the good that could be gained from such experiments. I don't want to elaborate on what the new reality is (no, it's not mutants) but it takes me back to movies like X Man: First Class, and to Extreme Measures (Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Morse). And all of the sudden my original spin, and that move by that tyrant that truly evolved ORGANICALLY in my head, turns into the old cliche about sacrificing few for many through a series of the most perfect scientific experiments any scientist had the opportunity to do. I really want to uncliche it, and I know it might be hard for you to help me as I'm being a bit vague. Maybe I should just take my mind off it and focus on other aspects of the story for a few days.
  2. Youniquee

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Nov 18, 2010
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    Under your bed.
    I would say...stop trying to hard to in-cliche it. No matter what you do, there's going to be cliches. It's how you write it, how you pull it off, that really counts. Cliches can be used and the book still be good.

    I think you really should think of other aspects of the story and then come back to it if it bothers you that much. Try read and watch a variety of books and movies in the genre of your book...that might help you think of a more 'original' idea.

    Hope this helped :)
  3. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    The character himself will usually un-cliche an idea. Why not give him a side story that has nothing to do with
    the big picture - or seem to, but can be used later as a metaphor for what's going on.
  4. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Ideas are not cliche. Ever. The sin is a tired, lackluster treatment of an idea.

    Don't blame the idea. Blame the execution.

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