Cliché is horrendous, sometimes you don’t mean it and inside your brain, it sounds good only because the action and suspense are viewed like that of a movie in your thoughts, but some interesting movies might be very cliché when in writing form. Some of your most adored films are actually a repeat of another if you were to seriously think about it. I myself experienced this so bad, I do more than cringe when I see it or even think about it. To kill cliché is one thing, but coming up with a new story altogether without this is another difficult task. I hope this information helps you.
There is a scientific explanation to cliché
It might sound quite odd, but cliché affects your brain in a strange manner. When told a story, it plants emotions, thoughts, and ideas into your brain without you knowing it. If there is kicking, running or that sort of movements, an area called the motor cortex in our brain will effectively light up, or have a spark of electricity, it reacts in the same way as if we were really experiencing the story ourselves. Quite amazing actually, writers can influence others and that is when cliché comes in.
As we read a book, we see words, dots, and lines, but it should mean more to us than just that. When a phrase that is cliche is placed in the context of a story, for instance, “She turned pale white” is so familiar and often said that we now only see it as words, no more than that. Writing is supposed to entrance the reader and bring them into the world only you can see, how can you explain the magnificence of the landscape with a few words and nothing more? It must evoke emotion, that’s what we are here for, that’s why people read. I say; if it doesn’t conjure sentiment to the reader, scrap it and start over, no book is worth reading if it doesn’t leave you entranced, walking away with satisfaction.
So chose your words wisely, search the internet for a few bits of help on wording a subject.
Starting the story
First things first, what is your story about? You must have studied your genre well enough to get at least a theme or idea on what to write. You might like dark fiction, or sentimental romance (I generally avoid all books like that), you may even be one of those rare people who love nonsensical things such as Alice In Wonderland (that book is too mind boggling for me). Have an outline of your story (look at my post “where and when to start” for more information) and work on from there.
Often, it seems that the first ideas that pop into your head are best discarded or used only temporarily, it is the first obvious things, am I correct? You don’t want something too conspicuous, so don’t get the first, nor the second, not till you have an idea so good you feel the blood curdling from excitement as you write out the scenes. Think about it again, and again.
Rearranging the plot and scenes of a movie you dislike could give you story ideas, make it how you would do it.
Additionally, your story must have a goal and an obstruction, whether it’s physical or mental.
- Adventure: a story with action, drama and always involves danger.
- Quest: the protagonist sets off to complete a task and finish the job.
- Romance: filled with yuck, hugging and all that stuff you cringed at as a kid.
- Oppression: running from things such as slavery.
- Revenge: someone wants to get back at another, opposite of avenge.
There are much more, but these I will not list, you can go look in the dictionary for ideas 😉
Don’t start with a dream. flashback or thought. It can confuse the writer and disapoint them when it isn’t continued.
Here are some ways i which to end a story, don’t revive the cliché, we’re putting in all our effort to kill it, don’t make us go through all of that again.
- Circular: It ends and begins the same, or in the same place.
- Surprise: Unexpected, you want your readers to go about telling people how wowed they were.
- Unclear: I simply despise this one, but you might like it, everyone has their own opinion. It means it ends with uncertainty, you don’t really know who won or lost.
- Emotional: something sad, obviously.
- Ironic: something you didn’t expect.
Start with the ending sometimes, because it’s harder to create than the beginnings.
Don’t copy others
Be inspired, but please don’t copy. Not only will you probably be sued on copyright reasons, but it is also foolish.
Flip the idea
Of you have a basic story twist and feel that something is wrong, flip it around, such as: the girl fall into a den of snakes with nothing but a shovel to defend herself. Now for the flipped version: the girl climbs to the top of a hill where wolves await her, she must get to the middle if the hill to seize a much need object. In her hand she holds a staff.
Do the opposite of what comes to your mind, but edit a few things, here’s another example: Adolf Hitler was never elected and looks upon the world as it falls apart, he wishes to save it from the racist westerners and have them accept his black Jewish friend, Johann. But when he is elected, he makes the mistake of fighting for peace, dealing it can never be achieved through fists.
Think you have heard it before?
If so, rewrite it, again and again. It means yours is not original, don’t worry though, some has written the same story somewhere, but not like you could. You have a style, use it, discover it.
The world is cliché, live with it
It’s true how many life stories sound the same, almost all of them. We all want to live that one life that’s different, but we can’t if we only dream of it.
Who wants to read their own boring life story? But sometimes, you have to have it, that way the readers can relate to it. Connect with the character, their feelings are the reader’s feelings.
Chuck it, or embrace it
Perhaps the most common cliché is the best, do whatever you want, we’re not perfect, if we were, there would be no cliché, but then there wouldn’t be those books that stand out. So writing the most boring book will make the great writer more popular, thank you for contributing and building the pillars for these people…just joking, you don’t want that.
Heed these words with care, but go and create that story!