Just Another Dark and Stormy Night

“In Transylvania, Dracula woke up from his dusty coffin to find that again, the sky belched rain, cracking up with lightning that for some reason only illuminated the really scary parts of the castle. Shrugging, Dracula decided he should spend the night following big-breasted bimbos very slowly through a creepy forest or murder unsuspecting, showering teenagers.”

Sure, some phrases are pretty cliche. For example, any idiom ever written ever. Or just words that become horrendously overused. Or that super jazzy slang we used in the Nineties, yo. And I know, cliches are the cat’s pajamas, but maybe we should avoid them like the plague that turned everyone into a zombie-vampire in Robert Matheson’s I Am Legend.

But sometimes, a plot can be cliche too. Character can become cliche. The structure of a story, the subject… sometimes cliche. It seems like some writers just have a deck of random events that they shuffle through to come up with a plot, especially in horror movies/books. Something that becomes overdone, that becomes a cliche. Even if at one point, it was new, now it’s super irritating. So here are some things I’ve gotten really tired of seeing in stories, almost go-to plot points/ events-that-happen-in-every-novel. In fact, if you put all of these together, you will probably have a pretty marketable novel.

1.) The Main Character must find his/her soul mate in the course of the book.

2.) Epiphanies count as a climax

3.) The guy who’s a jerk in the beginning will turn into a lovable sap by the end

4.) Quests for magical objects that might save/destroy the world

5.) Good guy feels dejected, but finds courage, and defeats the villian!

6.) Bad guy killed by something completely out of main character’s control, like a band of vengeful ninjas or a hungry dinosaur

7.) Supernatural being falls in love with hopelessly annoying teenager causing for angst and annoying sequels

8.) Main characters wake up at the beginning of each scene, because really… the guy needs some sleep, I guess.

9.) The villian has a special weakness which is otherwise an innocuous spice/herb/household plant.

10.) Female character is saved by male and therefore falls in love with him. Also, they’ll probably make out a bit.

11.)  The mystery could be easily solved if the protagonist just ASKS and avoids huge misunderstandings (usually in teen mystery)

12.) Anyone’s life that’s ruined by drugs will be turned around by picking up a sport

13.) If a man gets a woman pregnant during a one-night stand, they must fall in love.

14.) Normal people defeat magical villians who have great power, though don’t use it when fighting puny human

15.) Everything turns out fine in end… 

And then they lived happily ever after.

What is your biggest pet peeve cliche/favorite cliche?

About derekberry

Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, and student located in Charleston, SC.

Posted on July 4, 2011, in Cool Posts, novel, Random, Writing, YA. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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