JulNoWriMo Forums

Clichés (yes, I'm writing a fantasy novel)

RiftDoggy - 7-2-2007 at 07:17 AM

I'm currently working on my fantasy novel's plot, and I'm already having issues with clichés. Ex: five of my main characters (there are a lot of main characters, unfortunately) are orphans. Now, while there is a perfectly good reason for this (there was a civil war about 17 years ago, and their parents all died :crying: ), but I am feeling a lot of cliché-induced hand-wringing. Does anyone else have cliché problems? And if you don't, what are your favorite/least favorite clichés?

Regalredstar - 7-2-2007 at 07:24 AM

Hey, the idea of this onth is just to get the first draft down on paper, don't worry about it, there'll be plenty of time to get rid of the cliches in august!

GeorgeEliot - 7-2-2007 at 09:06 AM

Ack, cliches. I'm writing a fantasy novel about dragons. There are several MCs, as it's told from multiple POVs, but one of the human characters is a prince, the other is a princess (of different countries.) Now I pretty much had to do this, because to make a long story short, the prince loves dragons, so when his dad the king decides to start a war against the dragons, the prince is going to know right away, so he can go and warn the dragons before the invasion starts. It wouldn't have worked with anybody else, because they wouldn't have known about the invasion soon enough. Still... :P

Yay! I'm not alone...

RiftDoggy - 7-2-2007 at 09:35 AM

Ah, fantasy novels with dragons...I'll admit that Eragon completely ruined the sub-genre for me, but I can still appreciate it. The closest I've ever come to using dragons is when I needed some sort of giant beast that could represent fire. It was either that or a balrog, and I kept seeing Gandalf waving his stick, so I went with the dragon.
Your idea seems good. Why does his father want to start a war with the dragons? I like dragons...they're cute...:angry:

Sulwen - 7-2-2007 at 10:48 AM

This is always a tough subject in our genre, because you want it to be original enough to not be cliched, but still ahere to genre conventions. For me, I'm ok with a cliche here and there as long as it's written well. The problem with cliches in the first place is that they're what everyone thinks of first. If, after much thought, that's still what serves your story best, then include it. But if there's any other way to go, I'd try and avoid them.

I hope that makes sense - I just woke up!

RiftDoggy - 7-2-2007 at 11:02 AM

Yeah, the orphan thing makes sense in my story, because a lot of my characters' parents fought in/were involved in a civil war 17 years prior to the story's opening. That's a given, and the farm boy = missing prince thing works out in the end too. I think he dies, anyways. So really there's no problem! :D
Then again, I haven't even started writing yet...I'm probably going to finish my novel, reread it in August, and realize that all my MCs find magic swords and become pirates...NOOO!!

Sulwen - 7-2-2007 at 05:34 PM

Originally posted by RiftDoggy
I'm probably going to finish my novel, reread it in August, and realize that all my MCs find magic swords and become pirates...NOOO!!

Hey, I'd read that! :)

RiftDoggy - 7-2-2007 at 05:50 PM

I would too. Clichés can be fun, if used the right way.

thepianist2008 - 7-2-2007 at 08:06 PM

I don't know. I think of cliches more when my characters are speaking. You know, expressions like 'on the tip of you tongue' and everything. I think when you're discussing plot cliches, it's refreshing to see someone take a cliched plot and inject their own originality into it. The truth is, if a plot is cliched, that means the public likes it, and that's what's getting published and being sold. Don't be so quick to give your characters parents. Harry Potter's an orphan boy and he took the world by storm. I believe the children from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe are orphans, too. As is Lyra from The Golden Compass (well, at least we think she is in the beginning). At least in my opinion, these are some of the best novels I've ever read (especially The Golden Compass. It's from Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, and they're some of the most inspiring books I've ever read). You can't be completely original, so don't try. It's still going to be your novel at the end of the month.

WaterRatsFan - 7-2-2007 at 08:29 PM

It is impossible to write a truly original concept these days: every concept has been done to death. What is original, however, is the writer's take on it. As far as I know, no crime writer has ever written about the escape of a giraffe from a zoo before [stop laughing, it worked]. I mean the idea of the hero returning home/going to war started I am positive with the Illiad and the Odyssey.

CelticxConnections - 7-2-2007 at 09:16 PM

I've got a good bit of clichés in my story. Its a sci-fi so that explains some of it.

I've got:
1-space flight
2-lizard aliens(lucky they are not hostile)
3-A few *other* aliens
4-Faster than light travel
6-(semi)Universal translators (they don't work with everything)
5-Room for more storries to come

I'm proud that I have don't have a captain who gets all the gals (because the captain is a gal), Human's don't discover the advanced things, a dog teaches everyone how to talk to the aliens, and I have a linguist(who knows a lot of differnt launages) on the ship instead of everything knowing english.

RiftDoggy - 7-3-2007 at 05:36 AM

WaterRatsFan: YOU MAKE ME ANGRY! Blargh! :D Just kidding, but I hate it when people say that all the good ideas have been used. Now, most SITUATIONS have been used, I'll grant you that, but there are still things open for use. Erm. I just can't think of them yet.

Celtx: There is always more room for female starship captains with quirky sidekicks. ALWAYS! :D I'd rather read about some woman and her dog being in charge (or at least, the MCs) than listen to Le Capitan go "Officer...Sulu....activate...the force field/missile/laser thingy/Project Genesis/plot device!"

Pianist: OMG, GOLDEN COMPASS!!! I loved those books. *huggles The Amber Spyglass*. Why did they have to end that way?! I mean, DUDE! It's no fair! *cries*
You're right about Harry. Sometimes, when I talk to my friends about clichés, they never realize that Harry is one. He's a freakin orphan, for Gawd's sake! And that doesn't make him any less cool(his being a cliché, not his being an orphan).

Irish_Blush - 7-6-2007 at 10:32 AM

I'm having a problem with one of my females. She's trying to be the traditionally weak female character and it's driving me insane because my other girl is tough! These chicks are werewolves, I can't have them simpering in the corner, damnit.

arcticmoonshadow - 7-6-2007 at 05:26 PM

Originally posted by Irish_BlushThese chicks are werewolves, I can't have them simpering in the corner, damnit.

*giggling uncontrollably* Hahahahahahahah. That sentence is really funny to me right now.

Mine is full of clichés, but that's because, as any sci-fi geek knows (*raises hand*), there are only seven main plotlines. Or was it nine? No, seven. And with as many sci-fi series and books as there are, they've ALL been beaten to death. So mine, while I'm writing, I'll think it's a great original idea, and then I think about it and go, "Wow. This series already HAD two episodes EXACTLY LIKE THIS. And its original series had a couple more." So it's more like a mix of all the eppies put together, which is original...enough...?

But I've been trying to steer clear of the normal clichés, like the everyone-speaks-English thing, and the everyone-looks-like-a-human thing, and the main-guy-gets-all-the-girls. It's a mental mindbending type thing, so I have all the artistic liberty in the universe to put whatever I want to. Currently I have an alien in the Dorothy from Wizard of Oz costume, the female Air Force officers doing Cell Block Tango on the staircase, and their enemies in the corner doing karaoke with Santa Claus hats.

Oh, I love science fiction. :D And yet, so full of clichés I wouldn't know where to start digging them out.

CelticxConnections - 7-8-2007 at 07:15 PM

arcticmoonshadow, what you just described sounds good enough to make a wonderful Farscape episdoe. *giggles when she thinks about Scorpius in a Santa hat.

arcticmoonshadow - 7-11-2007 at 06:48 PM

Originally posted by CelticxConnections
arcticmoonshadow, what you just described sounds good enough to make a wonderful Farscape episdoe. *giggles when she thinks about Scorpius in a Santa hat.

Heehee. *giggle* And with the wonderful weird mind episodes they do with Crichton, I think it'd be perfectly plausible.

Oh, Scorpy...or Harvey? I think I watch too much TV. :D

CelticxConnections - 7-12-2007 at 09:24 AM

Defiantly Harvey now that I think on it.

Crichton's mind is such a wonderful place. I think I'm going to watch Won't Get Fooled Again today...