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Old 11-29-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
Hiroko
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I'm wondering if this is too cliché.

I am currently working on a new book not related to my other book in editing. I like it, and am enjoying writing it, but there are aspects of it that I think might be too old hat. I figured I'd ask here; I am aware of the "one story" archetype, but I fear that this WIP might be too much like other works along the same vein. Here is a sort-of synopsis that hopefully gives enough information. I'll get the trouble spots out first.

Earth got a new moon some fairly large amount of time ago and there is a rebellion happening on it. (Sounds like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I know.) The conflict stems between a large nations' alliance on Earth and the settlers on the moon not favored in that alliance. The leader of the rebellion - surprise, surprise - is a man in a mask not afraid to resort to violence. (A bit like V for Vendetta. I KNOW.)
Protagonist: The MC is a female who isn't totally sure why she came up to the moon in the first place--she's a painter with an anxiety disorder who wants nothing more than work on new pieces. The conflict starts to get worse as the rebellion starts moving in on the alliance's settlements and as the MC forms a friendship with the rebellion leader.

Is that enough to tell? Please and thank you.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:04 PM   #2
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Hi Hiroko. I don't think it sounds cliche. My only comment would be that it would be cool if the protagonist had a reason for going up to the moon. You said she's not sure why she went there in the first place. Maybe she wants to paint new things that aren't seen on earth.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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Where did they get the moon... Moonmart? And why? Genuinely curious. What happened to the old one? Is it a captured asteroid?

I like the description of the protagonist, you could do a lot with that character I think.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:24 PM   #4
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Whether something is cliche or not is mostly in how it's written. Even the most fascinatingly original concept can seem old hat, while the tale already told a thousand times can be made interesting with good writing.

For example, '13th Warrior' is what happened when someone told Michael Crichton that Beowulf was old hat and couldn't possibly interest anyone any more.

I do agree with srgalactica, though - your MC needs a reason to have left earth. It doesn't matter what it is, it can just be the end of a string of minor events, but she does need some sort of reason for such a big step.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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I read a lot of sci-fi, and although there are some common ideas in your story, there are common themes in 99.99% of sci-fi. It all comes down to how you tell your story.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
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There are a lot of fun things here:
A "new" moon! (Poses all sorts of questions--I hope you answer them.)
A protagonist whose avocation is distinctly NOT science-fiction-y: painting. (Poses more questions.)
Avoid cliché by changing the outcome from the example stories. In Heinlein's Moon-Mistress (a story I much love, btw), the protagonists win almost too easily. The man in the mask ... well, for me, that's pretty cliché: the device goes back ages, is used over and over (Phantom of the Opera, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, TV's recent Arrow etc.) I always wonder: how come no one figures out the guy in the mask is the alter-ego of ... . So, maybe you could find some other disguise for the rebellion leader. What if he was the quintessential Ordinary Man who does his thing right under the noses of the enemy? His mask is that he blends in to the woodwork (or the titanium-carbon-carbon wall plating): he's the janitor, the accountant, the train conductor, etc.

At any rate, tell the story. And if you're worried something is too cliché, then alter it enough to make you, the author, go "wow, this is pretty cool!"

Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:48 PM   #7
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Write it anyway.

I'm of the opinion that no matter the "cliche," you'll end up putting your own twist or stamp on the story.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:51 AM   #8
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I wasn't expecting so many replies so quickly. Thank you, everyone! Yes, I will get around to discussing that pesky new moon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post
Hi Hiroko. I don't think it sounds cliche. My only comment would be that it would be cool if the protagonist had a reason for going up to the moon. You said she's not sure why she went there in the first place. Maybe she wants to paint new things that aren't seen on earth.
Hi, srgalactica. That's not a bad suggestion. You wouldn't mind if I stole it, would you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pthom View Post
There are a lot of fun things here:
A "new" moon! (Poses all sorts of questions--I hope you answer them.)
A protagonist whose avocation is distinctly NOT science-fiction-y: painting. (Poses more questions.)
Avoid cliché by changing the outcome from the example stories. In Heinlein's Moon-Mistress (a story I much love, btw), the protagonists win almost too easily. The man in the mask ... well, for me, that's pretty cliché: the device goes back ages, is used over and over (Phantom of the Opera, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, TV's recent Arrow etc.) I always wonder: how come no one figures out the guy in the mask is the alter-ego of ... . So, maybe you could find some other disguise for the rebellion leader. What if he was the quintessential Ordinary Man who does his thing right under the noses of the enemy? His mask is that he blends in to the woodwork (or the titanium-carbon-carbon wall plating): he's the janitor, the accountant, the train conductor, etc.

At any rate, tell the story. And if you're worried something is too cliché, then alter it enough to make you, the author, go "wow, this is pretty cool!"

Good luck.
I figure that wearing a mask is nothing new to the rebellion scene, so I'm toying with him wearing instead a helmet, face paint, I don't know, something. He bears some features that would make him recognizable to the alliance on Earth (unbeknownst to anyone but me, him, and you all now), so making him an everyman might not work. I don't know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AceTachyon View Post
Write it anyway.

I'm of the opinion that no matter the "cliche," you'll end up putting your own twist or stamp on the story.
I will.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiroko View Post
Hi, srgalactica. That's not a bad suggestion. You wouldn't mind if I stole it, would you?
Not at all! It's not stealing, anyway Feel free to use the idea.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiroko View Post
I figure that wearing a mask is nothing new to the rebellion scene, so I'm toying with him wearing instead a helmet, face paint, I don't know, something. He bears some features that would make him recognizable to the alliance on Earth (unbeknownst to anyone but me, him, and you all now), so making him an everyman might not work. I don't know.
Bio-plast bodysuit that makes him look like Che Guevara. (I don't know what bio-plast bodysuit is, since I just made it up.)
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:53 AM   #11
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I think something is only cliche if it relies on peoples' knowledge of other similar things to make it work or be understood. But if you approach it from a new direction, or flesh it out to make it work in the context of your own writing, it is no longer cliche.
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