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YA Greek mythology books clichés?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. It doesn’t matter if you take Percy Jackson or Starcrossed. YA books with Greek mythology are very popular today! Ok. And every popular “genre” has its own clichés. I got the idea for a novel in this genre. So, do you know some. I know, many of them have a romance sub-plot. …
     
  2. Skybreaker Sin K'al

    Skybreaker Sin K'al Troubadour

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    Not cliche, just overdone. Personally, I don't like Percy Jackson, both as a character and series.
     
  3. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    I think you are thinking about "tropes", not cliches. Tropes are different than cliches. Tropes are expectations in a certain genre.
     
  4. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    The characters finding out they are or become royalty can be overused.
     
  5. I am personally a big fan of Greek mythology books (or any mythology books), but there are certainly some ideas found in every story.

    I would say that for all YA novels a cliché is that they are all at a school or camp to train whatever sort of magical powers they have. This can get a little repetitive, but it also makes sense because young adults have only ever really experienced school so it's easy for them to imagine themselves there. Going through a list of many YA Greek myth novels, almost every single one of them mentioned school in the summary, the exception was Song of Achilles which is basically just a retelling of the story of Achilles. Again, this makes sense and is almost impossible to avoid if you want your characters to be the same age as your target audience. It's also completely relatable because everyone goes to school. A way to make this work for you is to make it different, don't make your character be this stereotypical outcast who never does anything right because that's been done before, and don't make your school just Camp Half Blood but school, fans of the genre will see right through this.

    Another common thing is retellings of classic myths but in new and unexpected ways, such as in Song of Achilles, this also happens in the Percy Jackson series as he meets up with the gods and monsters that actually existed in the myths and we get a new perspective on what actually happened. A really common story to retell is The Odyssey, Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus are basically just the stories from The Odyssey from the perspective of a modern day teen who did not sign up for this. Of course, this too can be explained by the nature of The Odyssey Odyssey, which has affected the whole concept of storytelling not just mythology, The Odyssey is an adventure story, in it Odysseus travels the world and faces many mythical creatures, all of them for a short amount of time and with one goal which is to return home to his family. An odyssey story gives the author the chance to put the characters in conflict with many mythical creatures and gods without having to ever stick around and face the consequences of their actions, plus the characters are always on the move which creates tension and can heighten the sense of time constraints. I personally like Odyssey stories for the adventure and the number of different ways one can portray a myth, but I also think there are a million other ways these myths can be told and authors shouldn't feel like they have to write this epic adventure story just because these characters came from epic myths.

    A big cliché is that it is always Greek myths, sometimes we get Roman myths too, but they are basically the same thing. There is a whole world of mythology out there, even just in Europe that we don't often see portrayed. There is an explanation for this too. One reason is that we still have surviving stories from the Greek and Roman times such as The Odyssey, The Illiad, and The Aenied, these are epic stories that have left a legacy of writers fascinated by Greek mythology. A second reason is sensitivity, Native American myths may be just as interesting, but it's not culturally sensitive to take their stories as our own if we are not part of that culture, the same can be said for any mythology that still has living believers. We can debate if cultural sensitivity is even a good thing, but I think it is, and I think that most people don't want to disrespect a whole culture for the sake of a story. With Greek myths, this isn't a problem. One final reason is Percy Jackson, the success of those books has inspired writers to write similar stories, and Percy Jackson gave them a good template. It's like with vampire novels, we can say that Dracula was the first real vampire story everyone loved, but vampire stories in general didn't become popular until the vampires became good looking young men who get all the ladies. Greek mythology used to be these stories you read in class that were hard to understand, and frankly a little boring, then RIck Riordan came around and made them accessible to kids, with a sarcastic, relatable narrator, now suddenly these stories are all the rage.

    There are probably a bunch of things I'm missing, these are just the two sort of specific to mythology stories, of course there is always romance and drama. Usually the gods are there and they aren't very nice, but lots of YA books have the concept of God or gods not being nice so it's not specific to mythology books. the truth is, these stereotypes are a bit unavoidable so you just have to play with them and use them to your advantage.

    Good Luck :)
     
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
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