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being cliche


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#1 Roonil Wazlib

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 11:28 PM

Hey guys. So I've got an idea for a book (that's apart of a much larger series) that is my secondary character being sent to kill my main character, except - wait for it - they fall in love instead. (dun dun duuuunn) didn't see that one coming did you? *gasp* haha, yeah. original, i know. -now, I obviously have twists and originality within the story, and in no way is the ending a happy one where they skip off into the sunset. but no matter what i say to defend it, its still cliche. i was hoping some of you might have some resources about twisting a cliche story, or some other resources that might help with kicking my brain into some sort of more originality.

thanks guys


Hi, the name is Shannon :) Roonil Wazlib is just my love of Harry Potter coming though :P


#2 Monsmord

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:18 AM

It's virtually impossible to be wholly original, no matter the genre.  It's almost certain that any of the twists you've included have already been done elsewhere - the sheer volume of books released each year would guarantee that.  And chances are, Shakespeare did it.  You may be giving yourself anxiety attacks to no avail.

 

The quality and style of the writing, the depth of the character study, and the authenticity of their world and emotional arc will ultimately determine the success of or interest in your story, no matter how cliche or twisty the plot gets.  Tell a story well and make us care about the characters, and you'll have a winner.

 

That said...

  • You might consider adding a second assassin to create a love triangle.  Whether that assassin is sent after the main or secondary character would determine the most interesting way to turn the triangle.  Of course, adding another important character can be a pretty big change to a story.
  • Instead of introducing conspiratorial twists, introduce obstacles that "drop out of the sky".  Sometimes things go wrong that were in no one's control and could not be seen coming.  Something like this throws everything into chaos, and maybe all the characters are scrambling to recover from and exploit this event.
  • Flesh out the world and some ancillary characters.  Things that seem unexpected to the main characters may in fact be very logical, predictable consequences of other characters' personalities and motivations.  If you better understand some of the players behind the scenes, certain twists may suggest themselves.
  • Personally, I love this plot advice: "Things get worse".  What can you do to make your characters miserable?  One suffers an unrelated death in the family.  One learns they have a terminal disease.  They find out they're related.  (All those are point #2.)  An ex or stalker comes out of the woodwork to protect your main character.  A nosy neighbor or friend gets in the way.  (Point #3.)  Etc.

Again, I recommend against struggling to be original, but to concentrate instead on being clever and thoughtful in how, when, and why you try to mix things up.  A twist is an opportunity to add depth to the story, whether in how it came to pass or in how the characters handle it.  It's not the reason most readers will be reading your book.



#3 Blueberry Tide

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 08:43 AM

The sad fact is that there are no truly "original" stories anymore. I've had instructors that say there's only like five base stories out there. Every story, once boiled down to it's essential functions, is one of those five types. (i.e. the strange comes to town/Cinderella)

 

Now, that's not all bad news. You, the writer, get to retell these tales in whatever fashion that you'd wish. The "originality" of each stories comes from how the writer writes it, the characters, the setting, the prose - all that jazz.

 

And that "originality" isn't something found in a magical formula - it's something that you find on your own, through your own writing, through practice and exploration. In writing, you'll find ways that you like to say things and ways that you don't, and from all that writing you'll find your "voice" with which you'll write. Luckily, each book makes that voice clearer. I mean, I was on my third novel when I figured it out. 

 

As for quick-answer plot twists, I don't really have any. Once you start mapping out your story and you characters, those plot twists will start to reveal themselves, or hint at themselves. You might have to get through a first draft before you see those twists, too. 

 

The novel that I'm finishing out now was set aside for a few months because I thought I'd "ended" it, but it didn't feel right. Then, while in the shower, I had the idea to mash it with another story idea floating around, and it worked. 

 

So...sorry for the long post. But good luck!



#4 Roonil Wazlib

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 08:41 PM

Thanks guys!! that's made me feel better about my cliche. I feel like my characters are pretty rounded and not cliche, so despite the storyline, it shouldn't take away from the heart of the story (i hope)

 

I actually already have a third character that's important to the series, I just hadn't considered adding said character to this book in such a way - I like it, so will defiantly to think of more ideas surrounding that.

 

Thank you so much for your replies - I couldn't even look at my outline last night, but now I feel much better *toddles off to continue my outline*


Hi, the name is Shannon :) Roonil Wazlib is just my love of Harry Potter coming though :P





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