So I was thinking, and I've been wondering if some ideas are so overused readers don't get the 'thrill' of reading them anymore.

I'm really into last-man-standing type novels, I love them. I've written one, and I'm planning on writing another, but my question is, is this idea too overused? The Hunger Games uses it, and I'm sure plenty of other novels do too.

I've written one major practice novel at this point, and two littler ones that aren't as long. Considering I love this type of writing so much, I want to be able to write and publish my own last-man-standing novel. Even if I have my own unique ideas and plot to make my book special, it still revolves around the fact that only one of the 24 people entered shall remain.

Can ideas be used so much that even if you have your own little plot and mechanics to it, readers don't get engrossed because they've read it so much? I understand that every writer writes uniquely, but, is it possible for such a scenario to happen?

2 Answers 2


I don't think so.

The hunger games surely weren't the first novel with this theme (there was battle royale, for example) but it works and people love it.

Don't be afraid of overused ideas, because common themes are everywhere anyway, instead, try to make your book stand out because of the details, of the characters, the conflicts, etc.

For example (and now i will go into a topic that is separated from books, but serve to tell a story nonetheless) the anime and game Danganronpa follows the guidelines for a "Last man standing" story completely. A bunch of teenagers, trapped in a place, where they can only escape if they kill each other, pretty standard.

It stands out in the small things, to the point where i believe it to be one of the best stories in this genre. I can't go on detail on How it does it, both because of spoilers and because it would deviate from the theme of the question, but let me summarize:


For a story with this concept ALL of the character must be interesting, no exception. Be it Katniss with her bow, Kazuo (from battle royale) with his UZI (and overall badassery), or Gundham (from Danganronpa) with his oddities, The characters must be memorable, because when an interesting character dies, that's when it stings, and these are all stories about characters dying.


the 3 stories cited above have almost the EXACT SAME THEME, yet they are uniquely amazing in their own ways, but most importantly, through well built, memorable, and likeable characters


You're fine. There are only so many plots, so go ahead and write the book you want to write because you love it. Remember that there are always new readers coming along who haven't read or seen all the other stories with that plot, so maybe for some people you'll be the first and The Hunger Games will be the cliché.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.