View Full Version : Storyline Cliches

08-25-2009, 05:35 AM
There's a story I have in mind, but I am afraid to get started on it because I am concerned it would be too cliched. Basically, my story is a poor little rich girl type. I guess what makes it different is that it follows the MC from birth to her early twenties, concentrating mostly on her teen years. It's like a coming of age story, where the MC tries to figure out who she is amidst enormous wealth, fame, a crazy father, envious siblings, and so forth.

Based on what I described, is my story too cliched? I am scared to start writing, but at the same time, I am very anxious and excited to write it.

Rolling Thunder
08-25-2009, 05:38 AM
Write it and see where it goes.

08-25-2009, 07:26 AM
If you're excited about it then that will probably come through in your writing. There's a lot of intricacies (sp? I'm terrible) that we won't see until you put them down! Just see where it goes :)
(An enthusiastic performance of a well loved song is still enjoyable.)

08-25-2009, 07:28 AM
If you summaries a story into a sentence the generality WILL be cliched. Flesh it out. Introduce sub-plots and make it unique.

The Rav
08-25-2009, 09:50 AM
Even if it's cliched in your first draft, don't worry about it. That's what revision is for. Take what you find to be a cliche and turn it on its head. The most important thing is to get it on paper while you're excited about the idea.

Wayne K
08-25-2009, 10:46 AM
If you summaries a story into a sentence the generality WILL be cliched. Flesh it out. Introduce sub-plots and make it unique.

08-25-2009, 11:34 PM

You'll never know until you give it a try - don't let fear keep you from realizing your potential. ;)

08-25-2009, 11:50 PM
coming of age stories sell very well. there are always going to be people who will want to sympathize with such a character, so you cant go wrong with fleshing out a few scenes. what mumut said is pretty dead-on re: your dilemma. the truth is, nothing doesnt sound cliche when summarized in a few words. chuck palahniuk's "haunted" was the "decameron" was chaucer's "canterbury tales". they say nothing is new under the sun; but the way you write a story can make for a very different story indeed. cormac mccarthy's "the road" was based on the apocalypse and he won a pulitzer for it. you doing a modern day telling of a dickens story is not necessarily going to come across as cliche.

just my thoughts


08-26-2009, 12:05 AM
If you summaries a story into a sentence the generality WILL be cliched. Flesh it out. Introduce sub-plots and make it unique.

Precisely that. Has it been done? Yes. Should you write it anyway? Yes. A lot of what makes a story great is the voice, the narrative, the dialogue. All of that is unique to you. So, I say, go for it, make it great.

08-26-2009, 12:37 AM
Thanks everyone! :)

I'm taking a deep breath now before I get started on this.

08-26-2009, 12:48 AM
Write it and see where it goes.


You never know until you write it :-)

08-28-2009, 11:00 AM
If you've ever read Harlequin romance novels, you know that every single one falls into the 'cliche' category. Boy meets girl/one falls in love with the other/problem keeps them apart/problem is overcome somehow/happily ever after.

The difference, what makes each one unique, is the characters, the setting, the voice. No matter how cliched something may be, it's YOUR voice and ideas that will bring it to life and make it something worth reading.

(hope this makes sense... I'm running on no sleep!)

Stijn Hommes
08-28-2009, 03:00 PM
Just write it. Some cliches sell well. If yours is one that doesn't, just bring your own voice and ideas to the story to make it uniquely yours.

08-28-2009, 09:56 PM
Just write! You never know where the story will end up going when you're in the middle of it. Characters often have minds of their own :)

08-28-2009, 10:07 PM
Many readers actually prefer cliches. :) It's comfort for them.

08-28-2009, 10:38 PM
You just can't worry about the cliche aspect of a story until you actually have it written. If nothing else, it'll be a good exercise for you and will challenge you to take it away from the cliche'.

One of my novels' concepts felt very much like a cliche' when I thought about it before writing, and even in the beginning of the writing of it. It took some turns I didn't expect, and while the baseline story might still seem a little on the "standard" side, I know I moved it out of that category with the writing of it. It became an original story, I think.

You have to try it to know.

Worrying about what it might or might not be is an exercise in futility. You will only know after you get the words down.