Ok so I want to make sure my book (if I ever write it) has the least terrible cliches as it can. Thanks!
I HATE it when in a group of the main characters for fantasy, there’s the
genius, the smart one
the atheletic and adventurous one
the useless one
the kind/considerate/caring one
the optimistic one
I also hate that the mc in most books is unusually talented or unearthly gorgeous.
I could list cliches all day…
when the adventure just HAPPENS randomly. like the mc just happens to find a magical amulet or whatever. make it their choice if it’s an adventure.
I don’t neccesarily hate this, but I am soooo tired of the “special person”. Not to say you can’t make it great though, it has been done.
There’s basically two types of this (I am just making up random examples here)
Type 1: The girl/boy whose parents die or something forces them to leave home and then they find they have powers or something. They are the most special of all the other kids or people who have that power for some reason. THey are the only one who can defeat the monster and free all the others.
Type 2: They’re a normal person, till they somehow get imbued with magical powers or find out they’re royal. Then they just leave all their friends and family and go fulfill their destiny. Ugh.
Another cliche is that it takes like 5 days for this farm boy to become a knight, or this girl learns to sing within a week. It takes a lot of time and effort to become good at things.
All the people in stories I ever read about are either super nerdy/unpopular or the queen or king of the school.
That parents are the enemy or bad. Parents are always either super strict and talked about as monsters or not in their childs life because of their being an alcoholic or having a mental illness, etc.
The dead king isn’t dead at all. Wow. So original. Never saw that coming.
THAT EVERY PERSON YOU MEET IN THE BOOK HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE STORY. Let me show you what I mean.
Random example: Finn and Kate go to an art show. The art is stolen. THey meet Grace who offers to help find the art. They also meet Ed who decides he knows what happened. Turns out Grace and Ed stole the art.
this is like the main mystery plot
Harry bumps into Sam on the street right after a kidnapping. Harry investigates the kidnapping for a while then talks to the kidnapped person’s parents who say they saw Sam with her. Harry meets Rose who is apparently always at the places where the kidnappings happened. Harry thinks Sam kidnapped the kid. He confronts him and it turns out Sam is * insert tragic tear-jerker story * and has nothing to do with it. Then obviously Sam tries to find out who kidnapped the kid. They think it’s Rose and of course catch her in the act of dragging a child out of their house , and duh, have already called the police.
EDIT TO ADD:
The unpopular girl alwaus turns out to be soo beautiful and of course ends up with the hottest and most popular boy at school.
And we all know the only types of students ever to exist are the ones who hate school and never try, the “nerdy” ones who love studying and get perfect grades, and the popular girl who doesn’t try but her dad or mom pays the school or smthg
sorry! I have a lot!
Number one would have to be the love “’“triangle”’” where several people swoon over the MC, especially if one is a good old friend and the other new and mysterious.
This LiveJournal (I’m old lol) lists a lot of things overdone in fantasy and ideas on what to do instead. You could read that for hours, I sure have!
One cliche in certain genres is that death/killing is treated lightly when the death is of someone “bad” or “unimportant,” especially by extremely moral characters. It often seems like it takes no toll unless it is someone they already care for or is the big baddie. Killing minions is still killing!
The exclusively gorgeous lead characters thing is annoying. Let people be ordinary looking or (gasp) unattractive!
I agree with earlier poster @EJpuddlejumper that getting rid of parents/family or making them antagonists is overdone.
A character dying to save others or strike an emotional chord (especially a woman, mother, or love interest) needs to be treated a little more deliberately, in my opinion. Death is natural, tragic, and frequently a catalyst for some event, but sometimes it’s just treated as a convenient plot point.
The inevitable romance thing is a little tired. [name_u]Love[/name_u] is great, but romance is not necessary or a foregone conclusion for a full life/story/person!
There’s plenty, but these are a few I can think of!
Okay so I listed a ton in Underrepresented Plotlines in fantasy fiction but here are some more:
Okay, I don’t know if this is just me, but in real life I can’t tell if a person (kid or teen) is pretty or not. Like, in books it always talks about who’s pretty and who isn’t but like… unless it’s a full-fledged adult who actually looks the way that they will look the majority of their life, I can’t really tell if anyone is particularly pretty/good looking or not. So, not really a cliche, but just… a random thought about something I don’t like in books.
I agree completely with Wandarine that love triangles are so annoying, especially when the main character is the one that the others are swooning over.
Also, the idea that once people have accomplished something, they’re automatically friends, even if they didn’t like each other before. Yes, friendship is enhanced by going through dangerous experiences together, but it can’t be exclusively that- they need time to open up to each other and stuff. It’s not instantaneous!
Another thing is that usually the main character usually begins either with a terrible life (orphan or no friends or something else, depending on the type of story) or a great life (super popular, super smart, super pretty) and if the character has a normal life, the author always makes a huge point of it. Why can’t a character just begin with a happy, free-from-lifechanging-events sort of life, that’s not very eventful in the grand scheme of things but still has little things they get excited about (this is very specific, it obviously wouldn’t be this specific in an actual book).
Another thing is, in most books if a female character is strong and tough, she’s also kinda mean (if she’s not the main character, and obviously she’s got something soft underneath) or impatient (if she is the main character). So many really popular books with strong female leads like divergent and the hunger games have a lead with only two character flaws: low self esteem and impatience/quick to anger. Come up with some more flaws, people, and people who are tough can still be kind!
I will definitely be back to add more!
I love her! She has such great writing advice, as well as [name_f]Alexa[/name_f] Donne and iWriterly.
I’m sure a lot of people said this, but I’m TIRED of orphans and love triangles. Also, I’m tired of the YA teen main characters that have nothing all that special about them but they end up saving the world. There’s an editor on youtube named [name_f]Ellen[/name_f] [name_m]Brock[/name_m] that has some good advice on this topic.
in any movie, book, tv series, comic, basically any thing, the pregnant woman goes into labor at the wrong time. Never when she was supposed to, always during the most inopportune time. I know labor could be brought on by stress and stuff, but please. Most people deliver closer to their due dates.
About half the fantasy books out there go like these:
Kid’s parent/s die. They go live with their relative or family friend, who it turns out has magical abilities and a secret organization in their house. THe kid is special, of course, and is discovers he/she is the best at that kind of magic, then discovers that the person they’re living with is evil. They have to save all the people affected by them and kill or imprison the person.
Farm boy/girl leaves on a quest and discovers they are the “dragonlord” or fairy queen or prince of the kingdom or something like that.
I love Limyaael! I came across her by accident years ago and I’ve found many of her “rants” incisive. I don’t always agree with them but it made me look at various fantasy tropes and cliches in a different way.
This site (Curiosity Quills [name_m]Press[/name_m]) has a complete list of all her posts. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you want to write fantasy.
@EJpuddlejumper, have you read UnLunDun by [name_f]China[/name_f] Mieville? IT is amazing because it doesn’t follow pretty much any of the normal cliches!!! The MC’s best friend is the “destined one” (the “Schwazzy”) but she decides she doesn’t want to follow along with the prophecy, so the MC becomes the “Un-Schwazzy” and is really smart. The fantasy is also pretty unusual but super interesting. [name_m]Just[/name_m] a recommendation, it’s a fantastic read that doesn’t follow like any of those stereotypes
Yep, that happens in KotLC, even though it’s my fave series. Fitz, [name_m]Dex[/name_m], and [name_m]Keefe[/name_m] all like [name_f]Sophie[/name_f] and she’s pretty oblivious… otherwise I love the series
OMG KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES BUGS ME SOOOO MUCH!!!
(See my post Here for my complete rant)
And [name_f]Sophie[/name_f]’s not even that great! Sure, she has powers, but they were given to her, and she can’t take a joke, like when [name_m]Keefe[/name_m] teases her, and she just ughhhhhh…
I agree with you on those points. I like the characters though, especially KEEFE. No offense, you have valid points, I just like the series:)
Despite how much the series annoys me, I like it too . And yes, Team [name_m]Keefe[/name_m]!
I also love Team [name_f]Lin[/name_f]-[name_f]Marella[/name_f]-[name_f]Maruca[/name_f] (underdogs for the wins!)
Yeah!!! Linh, [name_f]Marella[/name_f], and [name_f]Maruca[/name_f] are awesome! And you know who deserves much more credit? DEX!!!
edit: [name_f]Maruca[/name_f] > [name_u]March[/name_u] = AUTOCORRECT…
Yesss! [name_m]Dex[/name_m] is pretty whiny at the beginning, but then he becomes great! Which do you like better [name_m]Dex[/name_m]+Biana or [name_m]Dex[/name_m]+[name_f]Lin[/name_f]?!? I can see both!