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Avoding cliche's...I think you'd need to try to pay attention to alot of other stories.

Avoiding cliches is good to try, but it's fine to use them if you play with them enough. You know the whole thing about someone saying, "Protagonist, I am your father!"It can be annoying if its used; however, if you mix it up, like...

The foster parent is revealed to be a biological parent. Or maybe someone is trying to trick the protagonist.

Stuff like that.

7/25/2012 #451
Lord Slayer

Right. Subversions, parodies and the like. And then there are things that can be cliche in one genre but an expected story-element in another.

But what about cliche phrases? Like, say "the bitter end," or "reap what you sow."

We all do it sometimes, but we should always be on the lookout for them and try to think up new ways to say old things. And perhaps help one another to find and weed them out (ack, there's one right there!)

7/25/2012 #452

Hm...well I think that cliches really help writers. Like there's this website I go on all the time called TVTropes and it's got some interesting information.

Like with Arch Types of people that have been used and reused throughout storytelling history (I include movies in this too). The basic characters are reused because people love to see them. Human beings tend to be creatures of habit. Lol.

As for the cliche phrases I think that a person should write them in and then see if there's something they can do to change the phrase or something so that it still has the same meaning but isn't written the same.

I also think it has to do with how well the author knows his/her characters. I mean, because I've been taught that an author has to treat his/her characters like they're really people and know a lot of stuff about said characters. If a person knows their character well enough and how they act and talk then I think it's easier to avoid cliche phrases because your character probably won't use them in their speech because really people don't use them very often. That's my thoughts on it anyways.

7/25/2012 #453
Kevin Reaves
The whole I'll protect everyone" phrase and way of thinking in the main protagonist has been over done to such an extent it's annoying. The only way I've been able to deal with this is through certain loopholes ( like tales of Graces f, Take the main protagonist, Asbel Lhant for example. He always thinks he needs to "protect everyone" and all that good stuff. But the game is backed up by a surronding cast of lovable characters and engaging gameplay.) I would say the best thing to do is shape the character how you want and avoid the most obvious cliches out there.
7/25/2012 #454
Lord Slayer

@VJ-san- Ah, TVtropes. Such a wonderful double edged sword (d'oh, there's anothe rone, lol). Hours of endless entertaining education, so easy to lose track of time on.

I definetly agree that a character-as-a-person approach helps to reduce it. The narration should be as much the POV character's own thoughts observations as anything, but that doesn't always work. And I have to disagree on how much they're really helpful. Most cliche phrases are reflexive, stuff we think up on the spot and half the time we don't even notice. Sometimes even when editing. They're okay for beginning writers, sure, but as you develop as a writer one should start to come up with their own terms to eventually replace them. If you rely on cliches then you're using a crutch and stymming your creative process.

I think you're confusing cliche and archetype. Archetypes are what people never get tired of seeing because they're so engrained within our culture and psyche. Cliches are always changing. People latch onto a phrase or a certain way of doing things (i.e. The butler did it, "No, PROTAGONIST, I am your father,") because it worked well in one thing, and then everyone starts to mimic it, then it falls out of favor because it has become cliche, it becomes used more often in the form of parody, and then when it stops being used altogether it is no longer cliche.

@Ritsuiko- A really good example. That particular one is even worse when you have the hero spouting it every other line even when the rest of the cast is perfectly capable of holding their own, and then later those same cast members start thinking that they NEED him to protect them, because the hero has to be the one to protect everyone. Though perhaps that's strictly more declining plot and anti-character development from lazy writers than cliche. But my point still stands, it's stuff that we get tired of seeing.

Take Bleach, for instance. Ichigo's thing has always been "I'm going to protect everyone." Everyone else was like "okay, I'll get strong so that I can fight alongside him." Halfway through the Arrancar arc his friends were all "We need Ichigo to come and save us," though the Soul Society still largely saw him as an ally. Now even the SS treats him like the Messiah, and he himself thoroughly believes he's the only one capable of saving the day. It's irritating.

7/25/2012 . Edited 7/25/2012 #455

Such a nice topic for discussion.

Cliches, I believe, are unavoidable; everything falls into one cliche or another. Or if not, it will soon be known as a cliche. A good writer knows how to play with them, so that it actually seem original or unique. Cliches go with predictability and I hate stories that are SO predictable. Take Twilight, for example. Everything is so predictable I know what will happen in the next few pages. Stories that surprise, has me gripping on my seat and forces me to imagine about it all-day are exactly my cup of tea.

But I believe cliches are not inherently bad. It just had to be kept at a bearable minimum. Hehe. xD

7/25/2012 #456
Lord Slayer

Ah, the old "strive for perfection," idea. So cliche. :P

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Hehehe.

7/25/2012 #457

Hahaha, which goes back to my point - everything falls under a cliche. Heehee.

7/25/2012 #458
"Good writers borrow great writers steal " but good stealing involves not getting caught . Personally i had trouble with this as well until i made the consious decision not to write something if it feels too much like something I've read or watched. Instead of just rewriting a story i liked, i try and take a piece and fuse it with another thing i liked. There are original ideas out there, you just have to work hard to create them.
7/26/2012 #459

I agree with Gray. Also, a friend of mine once said something like, 'Art isn't necessarily something that's original, but it is always something that's original.'

Besides, cliches aren't necessarily bad. Use them like tropes, invert, subvert or hell, deconstruct them. Tons of fun.

7/26/2012 #460

Yup. Building on what everyone else said, we writers could use the expectations of a cliche to throw readers a surprise. We all know the good old, "the butler did it" suspicion that some people may have.

Well, make everything seem to foreshadow that the butler did indeed do it, but throw in a few random subtle hints that someone else might be the murderer/thief/whatever. Then, you can throw the audience for a surprise when you say that the butler is innocent, but it still makes sense for someone else to be guilty.

7/26/2012 #461

To be fair, it's a tad difficult to make an enjoyable story without an occasional "This is done to death" comment.

Which is probably why doing a certain twist or being a very awesome writer is the best way to make a not so original story still a blast to read.

While I do agree on the "protect my loved ones" type of goal is...Kind of annoying, I guess it is still a decent (yet still annoying) way to motivate a character (mainly a heroic one) to actually get off their ass and do something. I mean it's not exactly an original motivator but hey, it's something.

Course, this all depends on how high the threat is and just how awesome they can make the action flow.

...This is probably why I love Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index. He has that yet is an awesome character. XD

7/26/2012 #462

@Slayer: TVTropes = Super Awesome Time Waster

But yeah, I did mean for beginning writers but I didn't make that very clear. Sorry! But I guess it really does depend on the person because I know that a friend of mine writes cliches but you wouldn't notice them because they reword the phrase. Did that make sense?

And yes, I think I did get archetype and cliches mixed up. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

@Everyone (I suppose): As for the hero thing I think that's pretty common, the whole "I'm going to protect everyone" thing. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like that's just a common thing for a majority of heroes to do; I guess the only thing I see changing is the hero's definition of "everyone".

Naruto, like Ichigo, wants to protect everyone (and like, bring Sasuke home. But that's like...something else I guess). Everyone in that context are his village and the people who are precious to him. But I think the difference is that no one has been like "We need Naruto to come save us". But I could be wrong *is super behind in the manga*. I guess what I'm saying is that the whole "I want to protect everyone" is a fine motivation for a hero to have there just needs to be a reason behind it and the rest of the cast not catching a case of dumb/weakness so that the hero can look like a badass. Assuming that the cast has already established that they can take care of themselves. I hope all of that made sense...

Side note: In elation to this topic, I was on YouTube yesterday and I watched a Nostalgia Critic video entitled "Top 11 Coolest Cliches". I think you guys should check it out and see if you agree. Just a thought.

7/26/2012 . Edited 7/26/2012 #463

"I'm gonna protect everyone!" sucks in so many situations, because me as the reader doesn't care about 'everyone'. You as a writer needs to build up a cast of characters that are interesting and likable, and then you have to create a strong believable threat to that cast, that's when the "I'm gonna protect everyone" motivation really becomes good. The other problem with that motivation is that most writers don't ever have their protagonist develop past that mentality. I mean ichigo has been stuck at "I'm gonna protect everyone!" for years, and frankly that's boring now.

7/26/2012 #464

I believe that most authors think that there's no more room to develop after that. Maybe it's because they're writing heroes that they feel that the "I'm gonna protect everyone!" phase is the farthest they can develop. But I do agree, that mentality gets annoying when people only strive to protect everyone.

But there's countless ways of getting someone out of that phase. Here's a few that come to mind:

Let the praise get to the character's head, and have him/her go corrupt.

If the person in question is a kid or a chaotic good character or any kind for that matter, said person could get bored of being a hero.

You could traumatize the protector with the death of loved ones, the protector could save them from the eater of worlds, yet they get killed in something as normal as a car accident while the hero wasn't on the job.

Then there's always the power of love. If saving the world gets in the way of you and your lover, someone's bound to get annoyed.

7/26/2012 . Edited 7/26/2012 #465
Kevin Reaves
Those are some very intersting ways to use that cliche. Hmm...
7/26/2012 #466

I've never watched Naruto (mainly because that is something I don't want to get into, the whole people who love it versus the people who hate it kinda thing) Bleach, I've only seen a little bit, mainly because there are so many freaking episodes I'd get bored quickly.

7/26/2012 #467

Never watched Naruto, but I do enjoy reading Bleach's awful slow crawl to its end. I'll sum up Bleach for you. Group of really strong bad guys enter, beat good guys, protagonist trains, gets stronger, beats bad guys and then repeat for every arc...oh and no one ever dies and no characters ever develop. But, the art is pretty good though I guess. I think it's just aimed towards a younger audience who want fight sequence after fight sequence.

7/26/2012 #468
Kevin Reaves
I must also say I watched Bleach to its very mostly because I grew up with it. And it's what got me into anime
7/26/2012 #469
John Quinn

@TheGrayKid: Actually, people started dying in the story and the character development is there, but subtle. Not as much character development in say One Piece but it's still there.

7/26/2012 #470

@Ritsu. Thanks, the first one I got from Disgaea 3, I heard the 2nd from my otaku-ish aunt, the 3rd one happened to me in a nightmare, & the 4th from several animated series, both Western and Eastern.

@Saku-chan. Yeah, when a series has too many episodes, I kinda don't want to get into it.

@Gray. Kinda like DBZ, right? Except that people do die...but most of them come back to life later on.

@Ritsu (again). Yup, each of us has some story that will always have a place in our hearts despite their faults. For me, pokemon, digimon, sailor moon, and slayers got me into anime.

For pokemon, I think it'd be better if they had a new series for each region and maybe have a crossover here and there.

Digimon...depends on the season,

Slayers....I need to rewatch that again so I can remember it's faults.

And sailor moon....got kinda weird later on.

Overall, I think that even with many faults, like lack of character development, stories can still be enjoyable if they make up for it in another way...at least for a while. If the storytelling medium is videogames or anime, the producers can get away with a few more faults than usual and go on for a while, because they can make up for lack of character development with action, intersting art, music, and maybe gameplay.

For us writers, that would be alot less on our shoulders working on something like that, but here on fictionpress we only have stories as text, so we have to try to make a careful balance within the story, play with words to paint the scenes, and draw the reader's attention to the story and feelings to the characters.

7/26/2012 #471

Bleach got me in, and I still read it despite it's faults. DBZ was my very first though.


A bunch of no name red shirts died, and one semi main character might have died, but we don't know. And I don't know, for me, the human characters that have gone from just going to school to saving the world numerous times should be have developed more.

7/26/2012 #472

Lawl, Naruto was what got me into anime...

But I didn't even know it was an anime till I finished the first Naruto and then I moved onto Bleach xD

Then I finished Soul Eater and then bam, anime geek.

On a side note, Bleach...Looks like people are starting to die hehe. (Byakuya... T-T)

7/26/2012 #473

Yeah, Bleach is quickly heading to a spiral that is actually kind of horrifying as it actually breaks out the usually formula they used and are facing a much more destructive foe that is much more straight forward in their goals.

...And it's causing a lot of nightmare fuel.

7/26/2012 #474

What I DONT get is why everyone thought these new bad guys (Quincies) were exterminated.

There's like...a horde of them. e-e

Tbh, I dont believe they're gonna continue the anime...its going to be way to different and violent for previous viewers.

7/26/2012 #475

Well, they did ignore Uryu and his family (though I guess they thought his Grandfather was the last Quincy since his Dad didn't give a damn about the role and he was just a kid) and it was mentioned that his Grandfather tried to convince Soul Society that they can work together but the latter really didn't want to hear it.

...Course, they did drop the ball about them and after the death of some guy who just happened to have Bankai, that's when things got worse soon after.

7/26/2012 #476

From cliches to a discussion about Bleach...

7/27/2012 #477

@Edge. You should've seen me back when I went to a private school. We'd go from one topic to another, and then take a few minutes in a futile attempt to figure out how we got from one to another, for example, from super mario bros to "What makes a good anti-hero?" Sometimes we found out other times we didn't, but for the example, we did find out.

Super mario bros to plumbing to environmental engineers . Engineers to TF2 to Half-Life, Half-life to mecha anime to, "What's better in an individual, sensitivity to other's feelings or a clever and complex personality?"

Then we moved from that to "What makes a good anti-hero?"

Ah....I'm getting nostalgic just thinking about it. I should base some characters off of my old friends.

7/27/2012 #478
Lord Slayer

People you know are always a good inspiration for characters.

7/27/2012 #479

Well...I can go into a random shift in topics. LOL

Dang, I can't believe Sunday is coming in a few days already.

7/27/2012 #480
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