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List of Over-Done Stories

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devor, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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  2. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Great, 7c is similar to my story, with the exception of the main character being good to begin with, and redemption is not to be found.
     
  3. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    And yet, as with all cliches, do it well (or as a tribute, or lampshade it, or ... etc.) and no one will mind. Sure a certain population may turn their noses at the mere mention but that isn't a reason to change the anchoring factor of your story. :) Often all you need to do is have a chracter mention how weird [random fact] is and be done with it.

    I did discover a few points on that list for the first time while reading mind you. I didn't know some were over done! I guess Strange Horizons should know mind you.

    Phew!
     
  4. Bit of a misleading title. This is more a list of "Examples of bad writing we've seen too often."

    That actually sounds fun.

    Come on, isn't that one a bit too vague?
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I should probably note, the submissions they receive are for short stories, where there aren't quite as many ways to pull the same concept off in a new and creative way as you can in a novel.
     
  6. Interesting list, I don't think they are saying these are bad story ideas per se. Just that they have seen them so often that they have got fed up with seeing them.

    But the chances are that other publishers have probably got very similar lists with very similar plotlines, so this is a good insight.

    One that surprised me, was the one about fat people, mostly because I couldn't believe that anyone would even think that fat = evil (lazy possibly but not evil). And even classing all fat people as lazy is lazy writing in itself, in real life overweight people are much more complex than that and often very vulnerable.
     
  7. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    I think what they're driving at here albeit in a terribly heavy handed way is that fatness in science fiction type stories is often short hand for the symbolistic "bloated rich capitalist = evil", the theory being that poor people can't feed themselves, therefore rich people must be fat and so rich = being the man = evil. Its certainly an old idea that's been used time and time again in anti-capitalist works, dystopian fiction, etc., but I wouldn't have thought it was all that prevailent in this day and age. Interesting how stuff propagates through literature isn't it.
     
  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I hope it doesn't sound condescending, but the list sort of sounds like things kids might find basis' for plots. I think a few of them sound cool as elements in a story, like debating spiritual/ political views (I did this as a part of one of my plots with a young man who was struggling to find where he fit in the world), or the medical technology breakthrough.... but it says right after, how lame they find it when the situation they are mentioning is the WHOLE plot..... and it makes me wonder what sort of target they are aiming the list at.
    I agree with Anders.... it's just poor writing. However.... I'm not published (though I've never had the confidence to try), but it seems like people sent in a lot of "first works" because they got all excited they'd finished something, and forgot that good writing takes practice, not quirky silly plots that make agents sigh or roll their eyes.
    THANKS for the list.
     
  9. Sorry I didn't write that very well I'm afraid (distracted by the kids) it should have been; I couldn't believe that anyone would even think that fat = evil [in this day and age].

    I'm aware of the fat capitalist cliche, I was just surprised to hear that they still get a lot of story submissions where fatness is used as a cheap shorthand signifier of evil. Surely modern writers should have outgrown such simplistic tropes by now!

    its a trope that wouldn't even have occurred to me.
     
  10. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Could you imagine the list for horror or even vampire/werewolf/wizard young adult fiction? I can't even fathom what that would be. Probably don't want to know.
     
  11. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Yeah I can honestly say that nothing on this list has ever occurred to me a the basis for a plot. It's worrying, isn't it? ANd your heart sort of goes out to the people who have to sort through all the manuscripts.....
     
  13. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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  14. zombeeeees!
     
  15. Drakhov

    Drakhov Minstrel

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    Zombies are cool
     
  16. I am relieved that none of my stories, so far, match any of the ones listed. ;)
     
  17. Sparkie

    Sparkie Auror

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    A few of these read like old Twilight Zone episodes.

    Sadly, a story I posted in the Shocase forum (The Severing) matches up a little with point 9:g. In my defense, however, I wasn't really going for a twist ending.
     
  18. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    6d was a plot point in the first draft of my WIP. Luckily I ended up removing that and setting the start of the story twenty years later in the timeline--made things much less cliche
     
  19. Note that they're not saying "never do this", but rather "never do only this." As in, don't base your whole plot on that one thing.

    Like Devor said, it's probably easier to get away with this if you're writing a novel rather then a short story, since short stories have less room for subplots.
     
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