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Thread: Overused plots

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW McMich's Avatar
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    Question Overused plots

    What do you this is the most overused plot in YA?

  2. #2
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    Someone with two X chromosomes meets someone with an X and a Y chromosome or vice versa, and sometime in the course of the book they fall in love.

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  3. #3
    A shrubbery! Mercurio Cavaldi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sage View Post
    Someone with two X chromosomes meets someone with an X and a Y chromosome or vice versa, and sometime in the course of the book they fall in love.

    And add in some werewolves, vampires, wizards, and/or outcasts : ))
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  4. #4
    Ich heiße Superphantastisch! Stunted's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that this is particular to YA (I wouldn't know because whenever I come across a book with this plot, I put it down.), but I am so effing sick of fantasy stories in which people have to go get some object. I don't care why they get it. I don't care how they get it. I'm not going to read it.

    good luck

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    The kinda plot where stuff happens a lot.

  6. #6
    Stuff and nonsense. Rachel's Avatar
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    You don't like stuff SP?
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    Can't stand it. I like books where nothing happens.

    Srsly...there are no new plots. I like fresh writing. I think a good writer can make the mundane extraordinary.

  8. #8
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Whether a basic plot is overused or not is of no importance at all - it's the execution that counts.
    Everything yields to treatment.

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    Bufty just agreed with me, so that means I rule.

  10. #10
    Exploring the infinite abyss Millicent M'Lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    Can't stand it. I like books where nothing happens.
    Then you'll LOVE everything I've ever written...
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  11. #11
    Stuff and nonsense. Rachel's Avatar
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    You do rule. It is an accepted fact of AW life.

    What happens if I agree with both of you?

    In all seriousness, I would consider any new plot a sign of humaly impossible creativity... or perhaps insanity.
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  12. #12
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    But of course! Someone has to carry the can.

    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    Bufty just agreed with me, so that means I rule.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  13. #13
    Foreshadowing Queen erin_michelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurio Cavaldi View Post
    And add in some werewolves, vampires, wizards, and/or outcasts : ))
    ^This. I am over a mortal girl falling in love with a vampire who drinks blood off of animals. And it is just not limited to The One Series everyone's obsessing over.

    Seriously, though, I am one of those who believes there are no new plots. There are just different ways to tell the story.
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  14. #14
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    See! Isn't it wonderful how many different ways one can say the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by erin_michelle View Post
    ^This. I am over a mortal girl falling in love with a vampire who drinks blood off of animals. And it is just not limited to The One Series everyone's obsessing over.

    Seriously, though, I am one of those who believes there are no new plots. There are just different ways to tell the story.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  15. #15
    AW = Procrastination. cscarlet's Avatar
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    Agreed. I was pretty frustrated when I realized everything in the YA section is fantasy based now (I hadn't been over there in a while and decided to brush up). Figures, since I had already started something that had fantastical elements. I think there has to be an element of something new/never seen to make a book "amazing" and groundbreaking. That's why I think AMAZING books are so few and far between (though I am quite picky about what I read).

  16. #16
    YA/MG Author Blind Writer's Avatar
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    I love fantasy, but I love original fantasy. Like Forest of Hands and Teeth was original and, at the time, Harry potter was original. I like to see new ideas in that genre.

    In contemp, I generally like everything. Because real life has so many different variations, it can be really interesting. I haven't found an overused plot with contemporary just yet...but I'll let you know.
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  17. #17
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    Someone with two X chromosomes meets someone with an X and a Y chromosome or vice versa, and sometime in the course of the book they fall in love
    I hear ya. I always groan when I read a book and towards the end of chapter one - or mid chapter two - an unbelievably sexy male love interest pops in. From there, I know exactly what the central theme/relationship etc. of the story is going to be-- the tedious journey towards true love. It's much worse when a story focuses ENTIRELY upon the romance with just a token subplot going on around the boyfriend and girlfriend.

    I know romance is always going to be huge. But please, please give the MC an independent life/character development outside the romance. Sure, I knew people who were just swallowed by their relationships, and it became the focal point of all their hopes and dreams-- but such codependency is rare in real life, and irritatingly prevalent in literature.

  18. #18
    Surrender, Dorothy! Leasie's Avatar
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    hehe I agree. Which is perhaps why my love interest will never ever get the girl. Well in my current WIP anyway. A little romance is good, but when it morphs into the whole story being about whether or not the protag and love interest end up getting together I feel so cheated by the books. Especially if they are supposed to be action or high fantasy or something
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  19. #19
    Ich heiße Superphantastisch! Stunted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heatercat View Post
    I know romance is always going to be huge. But please, please give the MC an independent life/character development outside the romance. Sure, I knew people who were just swallowed by their relationships, and it became the focal point of all their hopes and dreams-- but such codependency is rare in real life, and irritatingly prevalent in literature.
    This.

    good luck

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW McMich's Avatar
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    I run plot ideas past my husband and he complains, that has been used before. Well I agree with everyone here, there are not too many new plots, just new tellings. I like to point out to him how the stuff he has read is not "new" either.

  21. #21
    Stuff and nonsense. Rachel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McMich View Post
    I run plot ideas past my husband and he complains, that has been used before. Well I agree with everyone here, there are not too many new plots, just new tellings. I like to point out to him how the stuff he has read is not "new" either.

    Does that go well?
    Race

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  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    my characters never fall in love for real, haha. and I agree basically everyone on this.

  23. #23
    i'm baaaacccckkkkkk lm728's Avatar
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    I pretty much dislike the plots when the middle-class/weird/homeschooled new girl at a ritzy private school steals the queen bee's boyfriend, prompting the queen bee & co. to exact revenge on the girl, and finally they discover that the guy was a jerk-off anyways and they all live happily ever after (minus the guy).

    Most of these books are commercial, with no literary merit, so I feel like I'm seeing the same ones over and over again throughout the years.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW t.c.laing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heatercat View Post
    I know romance is always going to be huge. But please, please give the MC an independent life/character development outside the romance. Sure, I knew people who were just swallowed by their relationships, and it became the focal point of all their hopes and dreams-- but such codependency is rare in real life, and irritatingly prevalent in literature.
    Don't know about anyone else, but I would quickly drop any work of fiction that went into the minutiae of daily life. That leaves just the major events/plot - a romance, a murder/myster, the end of the world, etc.

    BTW, we are talking YA here - presumably high school aged readers?

    In my own distant past, my main interests were boys, horses, boys, getting good grades to keep the parents out of my hair, boys...well you get the picture.

    If my own kids (one in college, one in HS) and their friends accurately reflect current concerns, not much has changed.

    Sadly I can point to too many recent examples (w/in past five years) of intense relationship focus i.e. the case of Megan Meier who committed suicide when rejected online by a "boy" who didn't even exist, two local middle school suicides, one high school suicide and one murder. All over relationships; all in suburbia.

    For the general adult population there are the sensationalized murder-suicides, local stuff that doesn't always make national headlines, and the sickest of all, parents who kill their kids and/or spouse during nasty divorces. Throw in star stalkers, ex-significant other stalkers... Yeah, there is a lot of unhealthy real life relationship drama out there. And lots of people who need to get a life.
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  25. #25
    Mark Brockman Wark's Avatar
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    I've always found this list funny. It's from Clarksworld magazine [which pays 10 cents a word for short stories].

    Though no particular setting, theme, or plot is anathema to us, the following are likely hard sells:

    * stories in which a milquetoast civilian government is depicted as the sole obstacle to either catching some depraved criminal or to an uncomplicated military victory
    * stories in which the words "thou" or "thine" appear
    * talking cats
    * talking swords
    * stories where the climax is dependent on the spilling of intestines
    * stories where FTL travel is as easy as is it on television shows or movies
    * time travel too
    * stories that depend on some vestigial belief in Judeo-Christian mythology in order to be frightening (i.e., Cain and Abel are vampires, the End Times are a' comin', Communion wine turns to Christ's literal blood and it's HIV positive, Satan's gonna getcha, etc.)
    * stories about rapist-murderer-cannibals
    * stories about young kids playing in some field and discovering ANYTHING. (a body, an alien craft, Excalibur, ANYTHING).
    * stories about the stuff we all read in Scientific American three months ago
    * stories where the Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or the Spartacist League, etc. take over the world and either save or ruin it
    * your AD&D game
    * "funny" stories that depend on, or even include, puns
    * sexy vampires, wanton werewolves, or lusty pirates
    * zombies or any other overused undead creature of the week
    * stories originally intended for someone's upcoming theme anthology or issue
    * stories where the protagonist is either widely despised or widely admired simply because he or she is just so smart and/or strange
    * stories that take place within an artsy-fartsy bohemia as written by an author who has clearly never experienced one
    * your trunk stories
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