"Cliched" plots
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  1. #1

    Default "Cliched" plots

    When I think of plot lines for my Pokemon fic, I worry about being called out for them being "cliched" (kidnapped Pokemon that the Main PCs must get back, Heroic BSOD, etc). I don't aim to be the most innovative writer out there but I do intend to try hard enough. However, what are your thoughts on using such cliched plots? Do they automatically drag the fic down for being "predictable?"

  2. #2
    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Personally, I try to avoid 'cliched' ideas because I just find them really predictable and uninteresting.

    Having seen many amazing anime series and some great concepts, I realized that my ideas must also be something innovative, not necessarily amazing, but interesting enough to draw someone's interest. So yes, I do my best to be innovative and creative, perhaps too much sometimes. But in all honesty, some things are bound to repeat - sometimes you just can't escape the predictability in your story - almost every story will have at least one predictable element about it, at least that's my opinion on the subject.

    One of my 'cliched' ideas, for example, when I just got into writing Pokémon fan fiction actually involved the main character being chosen by one of the three sacred Johto beasts (for some reason) when he was just a baby. I mean, seriously, the main character chosen by a legendary to save the world? That's been done over and over again. Of course, even something that sounds completely predictable may turn into something innovative if you add a little twist.


  3. #3
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    It is said that if you take something cliche and do something different with it, it is by definition no longer cliche.

    This can mean subverting, inverting, or even averting the cliche
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    Registered User Sadrina's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Quote Originally Posted by LightningTopaz View Post
    It is said that if you take something cliche and do something different with it, it is by definition no longer cliche.

    This can mean subverting, inverting, or even averting the cliche
    I agree whole heartedly... Not that it's really an 'agree-disagree' statement, but I was about to write nearly the same thing, albeit in a very long, drawling paragraph, and really only have to add that stories which do this, I find that most interesting and fun to read, particularly journey fics which are made to something more than 'travel and collect badges or ribbons.'

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    What about this: I've been reading the Slayers light novels where Lina Inverse's first person narration is often snarky when it comes to cliches like Bandits saying cheesy one-liners and threats. And to be fair, some cliches are the truth in television.

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    When I think of plot lines for my Pokemon fic, I worry about being called out for them being "cliched" (kidnapped Pokemon that the Main PCs must get back, Heroic BSOD, etc). I don't aim to be the most innovative writer out there but I do intend to try hard enough. However, what are your thoughts on using such cliched plots? Do they automatically drag the fic down for being "predictable?"
    I'll use myself as an example for the bolded "cliche".

    I've been on and off working on a yet-to-be-posted Pokémon fic that SPECIFICALLY is about someone trying to get back a kidnapped Pokémon.

    At no point have I ever been concerned about the story coming off as cliche. Of the limited audience I've shown WIP versions of it to, none of them ever expressed any concern that the plot was cliche.

    In my 13 years of reading Pokémon fanfiction I never saw any story that handled the "trainer looks for kidnapped Pokémon" idea like the idea I came up with for the mentioned fic I may write some day, and there are probably dozens of more concepts with the same basic premise that have yet to be touched upon that I cant even fathom sitting here typing this.

    Its really only a relatively narrow number of things human beings consider interesting. I say don't try to worry too much about consciously avoiding being perceived as "cliche" and worry more about whether or not your story is one that you consider worth being told and one you would enjoy partaking in if someone else where to have thought it up before you.

  7. #7
    .______. Elysia's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    I think the term "cliche" is overused, but at the same time, so are the subjects of the cliches. I've seen more "omg gaiz this pogeyman is injured cuz its owner abused it noes!!1" plots than I can wave a stick at, and while a few of them were actually written in readable English, I haven't found one that has struck me as a particularly beautiful or insightful idea. Same with a lot of other cliches.

    My solution for fighting cliches is to take the exact opposite of them--an approach that sometimes works and sometimes does not. For instance, tons of books are about a plucky, brave kid who has the personality of a hero but has to do a lot of hard work and training until he can grow into the powers/abilities/magical awesomeness that a hero needs. I reversed that and wrote a character who has the sheer awesomeness that a hero is supposed to have, but he has to do a lot of work until he can grow into the plucky bravery that he starts off lacking (whether or not I inadvertently created a massive Sue is a different matter altogether).

    I find myself agreeing with LightningTopaz, though: if you can find a way to tweak a cliche, it is no longer a cliche.

  8. #8
    Flirty Thief Kyriaki's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Use an Eeveelution in an adventure fic. Collect badges. Defeat evil guys. Become champion.

    ...let's be a bit more creative than just following the exact same stuff the games are doing.

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    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    I don't care for cliches. I'll write what I want. If it ends up having a cliched plot point to it, oh well.

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  10. #10

    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Kyriaki View Post
    Collect badges. Defeat evil guys. Become champion.
    Well, I don't see anything wrong with using this plot line so long as there are interesting add-ons and twists so the readers don't feel like their reading a walk-through.

  11. #11
    Legendary Pokemon クリスタル's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Cliche: Phrase or idea which has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. (Quote from my Lingoes Dictionary)

    There may be ideas that are overused, but those at most can be called as "stereotype", but not "cliche". Cliche ideas are stale, but stereotypical ideas are not necessarily uninteresting. Rather, because some ideas are favored by many writers of the same genre, hence they are used over and over, where such idea became stereotype. Example, magics and witchery in fantasy fictions; protagonist ventured into another alien world for adventure fictions, academic school background for Japanese harem anime, etc.

    My advice: Don't even hang yourself onto the word "cliche". There exist stereotypical ideas everywhere. You are more than welcome to get reference idea from all the stereotypes, just add some twist and subtract something unnecessary for your fic, then that idea had become your own idea.
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  12. #12
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    Cool Re: "Cliched" plots

    I would say that certain plots are indeed cliché. The most cliché is probably the journey fic. This is basically an OC getting a starter (often an Eevee), collect badges, defeat an evil team (usually Team Rocket unless it takes place in Hoenn, Sinnoh, or Unova), and become Champion. The chances are that a character will most likely not become Champion. The only characters I depicted as beating the Champion are Red and Hilda. No one else beats the Champion.

    Less egregious but also unoriginal plots include cheap Ash/Misty, May/Drew, or Dawn/Paul romance fics. N/Hilda can count too, but I've written fanfiction for it, so I'm not one to talk. Popular fanon and speculation theories could be considered stereotyped plots, but due to their sheer number, they aren't as widespread.

    I tend to write slice-of-life plots for my Pokémon fanfics - those are relatively rare in the Pokémon fandom.

    Every fandom has plots that you would want to avoid out of sheer unoriginality. Examples from other fandoms include:
    - The Tenth Walker and the "girl falls into Middle-earth" plots in the LOTR fandom.
    - The American exchange student and the late starter student in the Harry Potter fandom.
    - Gender benders and MPreg in most anime fandoms (ESPECIALLY Hetalia). This was once common in the LOTR fandom too, but it has faded somewhat as the movies are less popular.
    - Rainbow Dash breaking her wing, Evil!Celestia, character-becomes-alicorn, and "changeling all along" fics in the MLP: FIM fandom.
    - Sailor Mary Sues or Mamoru-abuses-Usagi in the Sailor Moon fandom. In the early days of the fandom, there were also Uranus-abuses-Neptune fics that had a Gary Stu take in Sailor Neptune. (These are discredited nowadays.)
    - Christine bearing Erik's child in the Phantom of the Opera fandom.
    - At one point, the Mary Sue plot was associated with Star Trek. One series having a Canon Sue named Wesley didn't help. Now that many other fandoms exist, Mary Sues are not associated with any particular fandom.
    Last edited by Baby Seals; 15th July 2013 at 03:11 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    All depends, there are some cliche's that work and there are some that just make the reader abuse the shit out of the back button.

    Here are some examples of cliches that I've found around the forums:

    - Trainer wakes up late, gets last Pokemon (either a starter or a OU pokemon like dratini or eevee) and goes on a journey to collect the 8 dragonballs...i mean badges.
    - Groups will either be a boy and a girl or two boys and a girl. It is rare to see two girls and a boy, and most people don't even go beyond 3 for some stupid reason.
    - The Main character will either have a bland personality and ovepowered Pokemon, or a "stupid" hero and end up winning all of his battles through sheer luck.
    - Every girl you introduce in your story will have some level of attraction to the MC.
    - Tournament Arcs always have the main team in the finals, no one ever gets eliminated before them (rarely done). Also, they never get finished becaue of some stupid team trying to ruin the world.
    - Deux Machina will occur every time someone wants to give their Pokemon an overpowered move

    See some of these cliche's? Now, I'll talk about how each one can or cannot work

    1.) This one will NEVER work. Sorry but it's been done a gazillion times and NO one wants to read them anymore, even if you have an amazing plot, people wont even read past the first chapter. What I suggest doing is if you want your OC to get a overused Pokemon or even a starter, either let them inherit it from like a family buisness or something along those lines. Just make it different then going to the damn Professor and being "late". If I was a professor, why in the blue hell would i give a Pokemon to a trainer who has just proved that he was irresponsible? It doesn't make any sense.

    2.) This cliche can work, but you're going to have to alter their personalities, meaning no one wants to see the "Idiot Hero, Tsundere Girl, and Flirty Teenager". This just proves that you are copying the anime's canon characters and reshaping them so that they fit your OC's design. If you're really having that much trouble getting characters, go to the damn Trope page and research different archetypes. There are tens of hundreds of different things you can do. If you can pull of characterization well, regardless of the Plot, people WILL read it.

    3.) This one just defines Mary Sue completely, unless your story has a specific reason as to why he is like that.

    4.) This one is just because the guys want their OC's to be attractive and want the same thing to happen to them if they were real (not saying your ugly, just noting what I can come up with). I mean, why else would you mention that your OC has a six pack and that girls are always blushing in his presence.

    5.) Tournament Arcs are fine, as long as no one tries to make their OC dominate the whole thing without trying, and it also become quite boring when none of the main characters get eliminated.

    6.) This This This. I understand that everyone loves making their Pokemon powerful, but I don't want to have to read something I KNOW is going to happen. Especially when a reader mentions countless times that the situation is hopeless. Make your characters learn good moves when they're training, or when they are trying to show off. I don't know, mix it up :)

    That's all I got, please feel free to correct me If I made a mistake.

  14. #14
    "Don't call me that name" TwinLukes's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBlackDuelist View Post
    2.) This cliche can work, but you're going to have to alter their personalities, meaning no one wants to see the "Idiot Hero, Tsundere Girl, and Flirty Teenager". This just proves that you are copying the anime's canon characters and reshaping them so that they fit your OC's design. If you're really having that much trouble getting characters, go to the damn Trope page and research different archetypes. There are tens of hundreds of different things you can do. If you can pull of characterization well, regardless of the Plot, people WILL read it.
    With this one, I know where you're coming from, it is an overused combination, but it has it's logic: In most games, the ratio of guys to girls is roughly around 2-1, give or take depending on country of origin, genre and other things. When it comes to groups of characters, 3 is a nice number because it allows for the most interaction without feeling cluttered. (This happens in real life too, as some people, especially people like me who have Aspurgers, tend to be the most comfortable when talking with one or two people.) And also, just because your OCs have similar traits as Ash and co. doesn't mean they are carbon copies, because what if the creator never saw the anime? (It's possible, I know people who play the games and know f**k all about the anime.)

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    President of everything. Headless Whoreman's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Cliched" plots

    I have one cliche in my mind that sticks out in particular. If you ever, and I do mean ever, write a shipping fic, do not portray other characters that could be romantic interests of your characters as undesirable douchebags or just plain out criminals. This is quite common in Advanceshipping fanfictions where the character of Drew is portrayed as a rapist, murderer, or a womanizing playboy. Seriously, don't do that. And don't, for the love of God, try to make a generic anti hero or a generic deadpan snarker. All it shows is that you as an author are trying too hard to be "edgy" and "different". Those types of characters are either done really well or really, really terribly. Understand your style of writing and create your characters accordingly.

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