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walkingcarcass

Cliches

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sound advice for any author is "find the cliche and throw it out" i would love to see a thread where people suggest common story cliches and offer refreshing twists. how''s this for a kickstart? scenes outside in space are silent. when spacecraft fuel runs out or engines break the danger is getting the thing to stop. there is no artificial gravity. laser beams are invisible and only burn holes/lines, they cant be shielded except by mirrors which can redirect them. a villan who kills incompetent henchman runs out of henchmen.

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"Cliche" is, in many cases, merely a derogatory term for an archetype.



Don''t listen to me. I''ve had too much coffee.

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I was thinking about this the other day: I love stories that, on first glance, appear to be based around some sort of cliché but actually are not. For instance, a game where the king offers 100 gold pieces to whoever can rescue his daughter from a wizard''s tower, but in actual fact he is in league with the wizard to try and eliminate all adventurers from his realm. (Ok, still pretty boring, but you get the idea.) I just worry that some people might not play through it far enough to discover the small twist, and will complain that it is just clichéd and unoriginal.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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Cliches? Square''s Final Fantasy series, as well as most of their RPGs follow a plot similar to this one:

A small faction is tasked on dealing with a big and prominent faction. Upon finally being able to subdue the bigger faction, a greater threat appears in the form of an enemy who turns out to be helping the bigger faction. The player''s hero (usually belonging to the smaller faction) and his friends then face the new foe and its minions. Usually, the motives of the newer enemy involves some way of achieving ultimate power by means of world destruction.

Sounds familiar?

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I''m working on a story right now, and right at the beginning of it, a prophecy is being quoted. In this prophecy there is a lot of talk about ''darkness'' and ''the evil one'' and all stuff that is going to happen.

Now many people who read that part, start telling me things like "where did I see this before", you know what I mean. But then I tell them: "Would I really be giving the entire story away at the beginning?" Then they read on, and when they''re finished, I get all positive reactions.

My way of doing this is by creating all kinds of unexpected plot twists (what was mentioned in a post above this) and add some cliches. (Though I use them as little as possible, the ''comeback'' is one of my favorites) I often add things like: important characters dying or turning out to be the enemy.

I just wanted to get this of my chest... You may ignore me if you wish

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I rule, you drool!

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"If the whole world was out to get you... they would have gotten you by now."

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Maybe it just needs to be made apparent in the marketing blurb:

It sounded like the typical adventure he had experienced many times in the past. A prophecy... an ''Evil One''... the world cast into darkness... the usual.

He was mistaken...


[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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Oh man. I know all about cliches and try to stop them wherever I see them. How many times have seen a story about a Mars colony rebelling against Earth for some reason or another. I actually know people creating a new game with this premise but do they listen to me when I tell them they're fools? Noooo...
Okay done now. I don't usually rant but this stuff annoys me.

Edit: As for the purpose of this thread: I'd like to see an independant Mars colony that rises up against Earth but then has to come crawling back for help when they realize they can't handle their own government without Earth's resources and whatnot. Damn martian terrorists..

[edited by - mumboi on August 7, 2002 12:15:16 AM]

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So you''re saying you''d rather have a story where you can predict exactly what''s going to happen next with no surprises whatsoever. That would be a fun one. I say write what you want the way you want it. The best writing I do is when I say to myself "F*** what other people will think of my story, this is my ride."

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About the plottwists becoming cliche:

Might wanna read my story when I finished the update (I''m rephrasing most of it while I''m putting it one the net. If anyone''s interested go to http://www.endoentertainment.tk and click on ''The Dark Lands'' and then on ''Story'', or just go to http://members.lycos.co.uk/endoentertainment/tdl_story.html), At first the player thinks he enters a world like many others, then slowly he realizes that nothing is as it seemed. After that some things happen that don''t seem to have to do anything with what''s going on. And when the pieces fall in place, the original thought wasn''t as far from the truth as anticipated.

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I rule, you drool!

----------

"If the whole world was out to get you... they would have gotten you by now."

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It depends on how well your cliche or archetype is done. I''ve played a lot of games with engaging stories or settings that were quite cliched.

Chrono Trigger - save the princess and save the world.
Lunar 1 & 2 - save the girl and save the world.
Fallout 1 & 2 - post-nuclear world.
Arc the Lad 1, 2, and 3 - stop bad guys from reviving ''the dark one'' - fail - then beat up ''the dark one''
Final Fantasy - take your pick of cliches

Now having said that a cliche is ok as long as it is well done, I would like to see stories on a smaller, more personal scale than ''save the world''. Perhaps finding / rescueing a lost relative or friend. Or avenging a fallen friend.

Jack

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