Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by hedda, Nov 20, 2016.
1. Bad boy falls for innocent girl
1. Destiny, prophecy, chosen one.
2. Superpowers given by random chance to the main character.
3. Special snowflake characters with a melodramatic victim/inferiority complex.
4. Incomprehensible names in SciFi and Fantasy like "al'ctheodr" or "blaffledorp."
5. Swords as main military weapons in SciFi where guns already exist.
6. Handheld lasers.
7. Handheld plasma shooters.
This cliche is indeed annoying, not because of the set-up, but because the boy is never actually bad, just kind of a dick. Otherwise it could make for some pretty compelling drama.
I agree with your post bar this one. I still think this is a powerful concept. That there can be certain things outside of our understanding and control. I guess it is how it is handled. Usually it is more human story telling of a legend, so there is no proof of a chosen one, and it's up to the hero to live up to the legend... See the matrix
I've seen you complain about this in another thread, and I thought you might like the sci-fi I write.
Its comedy sci-fi, and I've tried to use names like this in a satirical way - kind of like the pun names from Asterix comics.
For some reason I figured your hatred of it might mean you'd get a kick out of what I do to it.
zombies result from X disaster
psychologically disturbed teen aged girl makes everyone unhappy
psychologically disturbed teen aged boy is just misunderstood
red-headed self-centered super-powered super-hero
tattooed bald heavily-muscled biker with a machine gun
tattooed bald heavily-muscled starship pilot with ray gun
somebody stop meh
To my knowledge, it has not been proven scientifically that this is impossible within the realm of the laws that define our universe. As such, it is not impossible that such a thing might be invented in the future. If so, it would likely replace kinetic based personal weapons completely, thus making it very commonplace. With that in mind I would challenge that while it may be annoying, it is not necessarily a cliche. To say such things, one would have to include automobiles (ground based, flying, levitating, etc) to the same list, as an example.
My choice for annoying cliches in stories:
(it's like these people only read Tokein. Doesn't *anyone* crack open a D&D Monster Manual for ideas?)(Yes, I realize it's copyrighted material, but it's also food for the imagination).
3. super intelligent alien species that are bi-pedal/humanoid
4. Aliens that are out to get us.
...and my number one most annoying story cliche EVER, comprehensive of books, movies, video games, and all communication platforms:
Ancient megalithic structures representing older-wiser-better-then-we-currently-are people. This imagery is everywhere. "The Gates of Argonath" in Lord of the rings, for example. The "Ruins of Orr" in Guild Wars 2, and so on. It seems like every time I turn around I'm seeing these things in movies, reading about them in books.
It would be nice to see someone write an epic book about a nation or people that are the ones *building* these things, instead of watching a bunch of characters silently stand in awe of wonders of the past, left to crumble because people are so weak and flimsy now. Just.. GRRRR!
Really?? I love it. I played a video game series, Jak & Daxter, that was like that. I actually want to write a story really similar to that, because I love it so much. For me, it makes me realize that no, we aren't the smartest, wisest, greatest generation to live. And just because people lived in the past doesn't mean they were unintelligent and incapable of making awesome things.
Only you can prevent forest fires stop the dark lord.
The Trio of main character, hyper-competent character and comic relief
"As the Prophecy foretold"
"I'm an elf, so of course I'm good at everything"
World which have been in the late medieval period for thousands of years
Gods that don't do stuff.
"Due to something you could not foresee, I now seek vengeance"
"My race is typically evil in the media, but now we're just sexy goths."
And Number 1 on Hal's list of annoyances is, love triangles, particularly in YA stuff, though G.R.R Martin is just as guilty.
I find Orr more tolerable than most, but that might be because I was around them when I played GW1.
Handheld lasers that blind its victims are fine and easily believable. I'm talking about the "melt through armor and do lethal damage to its victim" type of handheld laser weapons systems. It's not completely scientifically impossible, but it's implausible in terms of battlefield effectiveness. Light's just really inefficient compared to kinetic methods of energy transfer. Even if you had a science fiction power supply that supplied lasers with enough energy to transfer the same amount of force as a conventional projectile, the laser would still lose a lot of that energy simply due to the properties of light and how lasers are built, and as such, the power supply would have to be extremely powerful to compensate for that. A railgun would be a far more efficient use of that electricity. The reason why lasers require heatsinks is because a lot of energy is trapped in the laser unit itself.
On the battlefield, your weapons would optimally have as little moving parts as possible so there's not much room for error. The battlefield is a dirty place. There's lots of dirt and blood flying all over the place, and your weapon is bound to get dropped and bumped. Even our current rifles jam all the time because they have lots of moving parts and dirt inevitably gets stuck in them. Drop a handheld laser, and whoops, the lens is cracked or the diode is out of alignment, etc.
Also, if you shoot anything metallic, it would create a disco ball effect and blind everyone in the room. RIP eyes.
I'm not completely against lasers either. Mount a laser weapons system on a hill and it'll destroy anything that comes into line of sight with it, uninhibited by wind and bullet drop. Lasers are f*cking badass, but they're not suited for handheld infantry weapons. It's the same reason why we don't have miniature handheld rocket pods. (Yes, I'm aware of incendiary ammunitions, but that's different.)
Ahh, the old story: droid meets droid, droid becomes chameleon, droid loses chameleon, chameleon turns into blob, droid gets blob back again, blob meets blob, blob goes off with blob and droid loses blob, chameleon and droid.
How many times have we heard that one?
Rob Grant, Doug Naylor
Ug. It drives me bananas. I mean, it's good the first few times you run into it, but for me I've always found myself feeling a great sense of loss when those things are depicted, but it seems like everywhere you turn humans are doomed to slowly crumble away and never advance any further than their predecessors. Maybe it's because in some ways it applies in the real world. While they were not necessarily high-tech or anything, the Egyptians (and the Mayans for that matter) absolute kick our butts when it comes to building with stone. Yes, we have skyscrapers, but how many times have we seen videos of these same structures being demolished so something else can be built. "You were made as well as we could make you" "but not to last". I know it's totally off in the land of philosophy and the like, but why do we no longer attempt to build such grand things (be it in real life, or in stories)?
Halisme - you have a point there about Guild Wars vs. Guild Wars 2. The sunken, then raised, version of Orr sure feels a lot more than 200 years old.
You do have a point about light. It is, effectively, only able to do damage via thermal methods, and if you had enough energy behind it to do instant catastrophic damage, it would have some fun effects on the air it traveled through (all the gas would instantly be turned to plasma, which would then expand out rapidly, and then things just get messy from there. Reminds me of xkcd.com and relativistic baseball).
I know why they do it, but it drives me nuts too. One of the things that I've always been impressed by is authors who can make names recognizably "alien", but not complete gibberish.
Oops, my MC is the second one, although she kills for fun, and she is more like in her 20's, so idk if it still counts. I mean you can't be unhappy when your dead, idk.
Most annoying? Like MOST most annoying?
MC is gifted a super power but all they want is to be normal. NORMAL. WHAT?
Can I get a high five?
Douglas Adams comes to mind.
Rural youth learns that war, while undesirable, is something noble and good and sexy, instead of becoming a hallow, brainwashed, fascist murderer.
Thank you for a spark! Off to make some murderers.
or equally the "all soldiers are shallow brainwashed fascist murderers" style which was quite prevalent in the vietnam years and is making a resurgence now.
on a similar theme , MC is traumatised because of something that happened in Vietnam/the Gulf/Afghanistan
and MC has left his life a special forces soldier/Black ops agent to do something noble and good taking care of old ladies/small golden haired children/fluffy kittens (optionally because of the trauma per above) but is reluctantly forced to use his skills to rescue his wife/girlfriend/best friend / fluffy kitten.
The things I've noticed that I do in my storied are listed in bold.
I hate movies, TV Shows, and books that are like this. It's so old and so predictable. The brave, adventurous, and handsome white male lead, the sexy, smart and not-quite-as-tough/damsel-in-distress female co-lead who you know will usually end up with the male lead at the end and the bumbling, stupid [usually] black comic relief, or at least considerably unattractive from the two leads. This comic relief eventually:
1. Dies in the 2nd act just to give the male lead a reason to go after the bad guy.
2. Goes after the female co-lead, setting up a "dramatic" love triangle. Usually set up in TV shows or movies with numerous sequels.
3. Does little or nothing to advance to plot, becomes the load, or stumbles onto the solution of the movie by mere luck.
A few more, mainly from movies and TV shows:
* Stopping a bomb or an end of the world device with just a second or so left to spare.
* Plot devices in movies now a days where a bridge/wormhole connecting to another universe/dimension or a gigantic beam of light in the middle of a city threatens to destroy the world.
* "I am your father" or something along those lines.
* Action films with a beautiful woman with little to no muscle definition going to bat against well-trained and muscular bad guys and women and they somehow always come out on top. (No, I am not a sexist before you guys attack me.)
* Bad guys monologuing their plans or tragic backstory to the good guy for no reason other than to further the plot.
* Love stories in YA dystopian books in general. Everyone should be too psychologically damaged to be in a relationship. Also, the main characters are usually beautiful, smart Mary/Marty Stus while everyone else is ragged, dirty and can't seem to survive on their own.
* Main characters are a man and a woman? They have to get together or at least kiss at the end.
* Fake out deaths where a characters who should be dead somehow survives.
* Bad guys who are just bad just because the movie/show/book needs a villain, i.e. bad guys with little to no depth. No, I don't want monolouging for five minutes straight to make up for it, I want to see why they are bad and why I should hate them or even support their actions/beliefs. Bad guys with no depth don't come off as threatening and there's no tension or excitement when they and the good guys finally fight.
* Inspirational speeches before a big battle or speeches that tell how screwed the world really is.
* Good guys who always win, always succeed or always get what they want at the end. It's not realistic. Why don't they lose for once or don't get their love at the end? I want the bad guy to win for once.
Love stories. I hate how love stories get into everything. Love stories are fine sometimes, but they're in EVERY story now. The new fricking Mad Max had one.
"You know what this story about interstellar game theory needs?1?!"
"A sweet ass love story where the protagonist trollz for hot alien booty!(lol selfie hashtag)"
action sequences where the bad guys can't shoot for shit but the good guys kill with every shot ( I don't suffer from this - in my last big battle sequence the 'good guys' took 4 casualties , out of a team of 10 , including one principle character)
I recently read that the original Beverly Hills Cop movie was supposed to have a love angle between Axel Foley and the female lead.....
...until the studio realized that Axel was going to be played by a black man.....
I am always extremely peeved by the Bad Guy, Bad Aim Syndrome. Or rather: Story Extra = Extra Bad Aim Syndrome.
Seriously, why in the world is it that main characters have god-like aimbot and are able to headshot people from 30 yards away completely consistently while using two pistols at once... while an extra cannot hit the main character from 5 yards away with an assault rifle? Many otherwise good shows like Arrow suffer severely from this.
I get that the character can in some cases be a badass with high quality training, but it's always an immersion killer for me when they effortlessly trample armies of side-characters. It's like they're fighting mannequins, not people.
In a close second is the tissue-armor we see in countless movies, books, TV series, and games. Armor was a game-changer in ancient and medieval warfare. Knights in plate armor during the late Middle Ages, for example, were almost immune to anything but close range musket volleys and armor piercing pole weapons. We don't have any record of even a single named knight who was ever killed by a longbow, yet we see peasant archer militias annihilating knights in droves in movies like Arn: Knight Templar or destroying charging knights within seconds with pikes in Braveheart. I get that some directors want to show the common man triumphing over the snotty nobility, but surely there is a better way to do this than throwing historical accuracy to the wolves and show men with no training using sub-par weapons to kill heavily armored and extremely well trained cavalry in seconds. In these movies it's like the knights have never seen these weapons before. A bow? A slightly longer spear? INCONCEIVABLE!
People spent literally fortunes to buy their armor, because it worked. Yet I can count on my fingers the amount of times I've seen armor actually stop an attack in all of the movies and books I've seen or read. In the fantasy-medieval setting books I'm writing I am including dozens of situations when a character is saved by armor.
The above point actually also applies to modern movies and shows. I've lost track of the amount of times I've seen bad guys or good guys shot in body armor with a low powered pistol and instantly die, instead of potentially not even noticing and keeping on fighting like they would in real life.
As for story cliches, I find the following to annoy me:
-Good girl falls for bad boy
-Good character becomes extremely morally gray or acts incredibly stupid
-Bad character is presented as "okay" and good characters forget all the crap they've done
Watching some series like Breaking Bad or Battlestar Galactica I began to rather wish some of the main characters would disappear. Breaking Bad in particular was hailed as a great show but I found myself completely disgusted by almost every single character at one point or another.
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