Questions tagged [cliches]

At the end of the day, we all use them.

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How do you know if you're being too dramatic?

I want to write a sad scene where a mother finds out that her son passed away. What things/clichés should I avoid in order to not make it overly dramatic?
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2 answers
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How can I balance a male character saving his love interest without making the female seem incompetent (and vice versa)?

Stories for many, many years made frequent use of the damsel in distress trope, where female characters are depicted as needing men to save them in big, dramatic displays. People eventually realized ...
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6 answers
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How to avoid overdoing deconstructive tendencies in writing?

The Issue I'm a person who likes to take things apart to see how they work, and someone who likes to poke holes in ideas. As a result, it's not surprising that I've always been drawn to a writing ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is this character too cliche?

So I'm writing a story and my main antagonist is Death (At least from my MCs point of view). Is he as a antagonist too cliche? He owns a casino, his headquarters, and the setting is in 1700, London ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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Is my magical item too cliche?

I hope that this question follows the rules. One of my characters has a kalimba that, when played, allows the player to hear the thoughts of everyone around them, and everyone around them can hear the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Action-packed opening events: cliché or not?

Not a duplicate of Trying to avoid being cliché as that question asks about the opening line, rather than an opening event. I am trying to avoid the many clichés out there, so I had a question about ...
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2 votes
4 answers
210 views

How do you write a character that falls into a character archetype without falling into cliches?

I have a character that falls into a particular character archetype. Specifically the genki girl. I remember seeing characters with that sort of personality in other works and wanted to try writing a ...
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6 votes
2 answers
911 views

How To Not Make A "Type" Of Character?

I think that we all know what archetypes and character tropes are. They're mostly just a carbon-cutout for a character. Oftentimes, as authors, we use these to make our characters distinct. But at the ...
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16 votes
14 answers
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Is it okay to use "It was all just a virtual world / dream" for a plot twist?

I am currently writing a novel where I use "It was all just a dream" (IWAJAD) plot twist, just because the main character needs it to change his personality and train his power to save the ...
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How do I make a love story, that isn't cliche but different from others? [duplicate]

Okay, so I just wanted to know what is the less cliche way of making a romantic fanfiction. I know this question is short, but I just want to know.
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3 votes
3 answers
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Is it cliché to have two best friends fall in love?

I am writing a detective novel and wanted to include two best friends who are working together. Eventually they fall in love but one of my readers said it's too boring and cliché. Is that true? ...
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3 votes
6 answers
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Is it possible to combine clichés/tropes to make it not a cliché?

I have read a couple romance books at most and so don’t claim to have very much experience with romance and clichés. But here are the ones I can think of: Something happens to make them hate each ...
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2 answers
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How do I improve my "impact" in writing?

I don't know the exact word for it, but I hope I make it clear what I mean by "impact" soon. My favorite pieces of writing are Rosa Luxemburg's Junius Pamphlet, the lyrics to this Phil Ochs ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
286 views

Is a nuclear apocalypse cliche? [duplicate]

My post-apocalyptic novel occurs in 2122. In canon events, around the year 2018, after many years of global war, a chain reaction caused the launching of all the world's nuclear missiles and after ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Writing romance when I have little experience in it [duplicate]

I'm in high school, and have had few romantic relationships. The few that I have had were very unhealthy. I have pretty much no good experience with romance. How can I write romance when I don't ...
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5 votes
3 answers
920 views

Dystopia that isn't cliche

Dystopian fiction is a big thing right now, and YA books like The Hunger Games and Divergent are pretty individual and subsequently are bestsellers. But a lot of stuff is also really cheesy and trite,...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is there a test for cliches in plot?

I know there are already questions about cliched phrases, but are there resources to help identify plot and characters that are cliches? I found some (like this), but they weren't very helpful for ...
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4 votes
5 answers
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Why using the "It Was All Just a Dream" Trope?

There is a particular trope that became quite infamous across many media: the "it was just a dream" revelation, where, usually at the end of a important story arc, everything turns back to the start ...
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21 votes
13 answers
5k views

How to make side-characters look competent next to the chosen one?

I'm writing a storyline for a game where the forces of evil have humanity cornered. Truly everything seems lost, that is, until our main character decides to step in. Let's call him Bob. The Chosen. ...
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2 votes
4 answers
234 views

What are some tropes associated with social acceptance or rejection of infants with supernatural abilities?

Are there any tropes regarding how societies react to children with supernatural abilities, besides abandoning in the woods or, for the complete opposite, considering them gods? Is there anything ...
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8 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is Ice/Fire opposition too stereotypical?

I'm writing a story where a secondary story-line (it's about a companion of the main character) is basically about a fire mage and an ice mage. It fits well in the story and the fire/ice elements aren'...
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2 answers
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How many metaphors?

Some of the best books I read have a heap of metaphors, awesomely describing the characters' surroundings or the characters themselves. My creativity appears to be limited in metaphors. I want to ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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Romance without cliche?

My school is doing a romance writing competition and there is no cliche allowed. But that is the only way I know how to write romance. I mean, I haven't read a single book that hasn't had a bit of ...
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16 votes
14 answers
2k views

Is it bad storytelling to have things happen by complete chance?

Background I recently noticed in my latest masterpiece novel there is quite a lot of things happening by chance. For example: The main character just happens to pass by an old, frail warrior who can ...
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3 votes
3 answers
705 views

What kind of an effect does breaking gender roles/stereotypes have in fiction?

Background It might sound like a silly question, I know, but something someone said to me today has made me concerned that my book sounds childish and nonsensical. Apparently: "having a woman who ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to Write a Bullying Scene? [closed]

In my newest story, the protagonist gets bullied constantly, and I'm planning for him to be driven to suicide later on the the story. But, I'm completely stuck on how to write a realistic scene, which ...
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5 votes
6 answers
641 views

Is a bandit ambush a fatal, cliche mistake?

Background I've planned the chapter I'll write tomorrow. It features a bandit ambush! That's so exciting! Wow! The sickly scent of blood, the glistening blades and powerless enemies. They are nothing ...
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5 votes
2 answers
857 views

How to split up a book into a series?

Related My book was never meant to be a series, so I'm genuinely uncertain on what to do. I only really write completely self-contained things. Background I've really been having a great time ...
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0 votes
3 answers
512 views

Adding a character from present-day Earth to a fantasy/scifi setting

The average present-day human whisked away to a fantasy and/or scifi world is a common trope. It can be used well, or end up in boring stories. I feel like this trope is a bit overdone, but still ...
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2 votes
2 answers
234 views

Are some ideas too cliched?

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 ...
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0 votes
3 answers
160 views

Trying to avoid being cliché

Has opening a story with something like "I hurtled to my death", "I had destroyed the earth", or other outlandish statements like these become cliché? And if so, what are some alternative methods to ...
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2 votes
3 answers
969 views

How to write a scene where the villain meets the protagonist?

The villain was, like the protagonist, a child soldier/mercenary, who served with him. The villain was captured, tortured, and snapped. He feels a burning hatred for the protagonist, believing that he ...
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4 votes
3 answers
258 views

Can an overdone theme still work?

Okay, I think it goes without saying that vampire stories are really overdone. But I have a novel idea I would really like to write that has a vampire theme. I think I can pull it off if I do it in a ...
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5 votes
8 answers
2k views

What to do with cliched metaphors?

Example from my own writing: "Please take care of yourself," she replied. "Health is the most important thing in life, remember that." "I know, Mom." I had already lost count of the number ...
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2 votes
4 answers
379 views

Clichéd Actions

I sometimes catch myself writing excessively clichéd descriptions - not in the words, but in what the characters do. For example, they always seems to end up pacing up and down the room while waiting ...
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12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Why do heroes need to have a physical mark?

It seems that a lot of authors want their heroes to be marked in a special way. It is not enough that these protagonists are going to be heroes, no; they seem to require having a mark that makes them ...
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3 votes
3 answers
952 views

Critique a short essay

So There I was in the scorching, afternoon, summer heat of Cairo. It was a huge change from the UK’s mild weather, and together with the fact that I had been fasting - as in no food or drink- for 15 ...
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7 votes
6 answers
3k views

What's the significance of ancient mythology in literature?

Whenever I see a movie critic praise Ridley Scott's Prometheus, they seem to be drooling over all the mythological references, although most don't necessarily complement gaps in the story or enrich ...
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3 votes
3 answers
667 views

How to discover clichés

What is the best way to find out if a certain phrase is considered a cliché? Is there an online resource, a specialized dictionary-like lookup? EDIT I found these so far: Cliché Finder Movie ...
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56 votes
8 answers
32k views

"All of a sudden..." ?

I am writing a manuscript for a novel. It's my first attempt, and often I find myself wanting to write "suddenly" or "all of a sudden". I do this when I want the scene to change in an instant, or ...
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20 votes
4 answers
572 views

Resources about different people types?

I'm native German, but trying to write in English for various reasons. One of the big points in a story is to keep the characters very distinct from each other, and that requires some knowledge about ...
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7 votes
3 answers
383 views

What techniques do you use to invent snappy turns of phrase?

We all know clichés are bad[1] and that fresh, inventive and "fitting" phrases will delight and entertain our readers. What techniques can be used to invent such phrases? Sometimes they just "...
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