Genre Cliches to Avoid

The other day I came across a list of science fiction cliches. The extensive list, which brought to mind several novels I've read, made me wonder about cliches in other genres. Thanks to the wonders of search engines, I came up with sites for several popular genres. Check them out to make sure your plots are fresh, and not like every other manuscript out there.

Science Fiction Cliches
The list that started this post, is from Dragon Writing Prompts. The sci-fi list is comprehensive. You  might want to click on the label 'lists' for more like this.

Fantasy Cliches
Also from Dragon Writing Prompts is a list of fantasy cliches in four different categories. Also, Obsidian Bookshelf has another list of most-hated fantasy cliches.

Mystery Cliches
Confessions of a Starving Mystery Writer lists detective cliches to avoid, along with links to two other lists. And the Answer Bank solicited reader's opinions on murder mystery cliches.

Romance Cliches
Writing World has a fully-explained list of romance cliches to stay away from--or retool into something unique. The Queen of Swords posted the 'semi-grand list of overused romance cliches'. And though it focuses on movies, the Mutant Reviewers site lists some hilarious romantic movie cliches, like the 'l'-shaped blanket.

Horror Cliches
Read about Horror Stories We've Seen Too Often on Strange Horizons. Horror Factor offers 10 Cliches Horror Writers Should Try to Avoid.

Thriller/Crime Fiction Cliches
William Miekle shares ten cliches to avoid in crime fiction. And over at Petrona, you'll find another list with links to some more sites.

Literary Cliches
Are there cliches in literary fiction? Apparently so. Sean Lovelace describes what he thinks they are, and Mumsnet has an interesting thread where readers interact about their least favorite literary cliches.

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Cliches
Writing Hood explains some of the most common urban fantasy cliches, while Geek Speak Magazine lists the top 13 paranormal cliches (with examples from current books).

Young Adult Cliches
Skerricks has a top-twenty-five countdown. I guarantee you'll find something you're seen before.

Have you found any cliches that resemble your plot? Maybe these lists have made you aware of different ones. If you're interested in other kinds of cliches, check out the post here.

21 comments:

  1. Awesome list to share. Thanks for looking all that up.

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  2. Debbie:

    I fall into the cliche trap every now and again, and thank you for this list! Headed to these sites now...

    Have a great week.

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  3. Thanks Stacy and Janette. It was fun reading through all of them.

    ~Debbie

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  4. I just tweeted this - what a great resource!

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  5. Thank you very much for the sharing! It turned out beautifully. Great Analysis dude.

    Sample Analysis

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  6. You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

    ~Debbie

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  7. This was good for a giggle... though I do think a well-written cliché is still entertaining. I might be saying that in defence of my clichés...

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  8. You're right. I remember one book I read where one of the characters always spoke with cliches, but she got them wrong. It was hysterical.

    ~Debbie

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  9. You know, not all cliches are bad. Sometimes, cliches are used because they are good plot devices. But overall, I try not to make my writing too cliche, but sometimes you do have to use what's been done before to advance the plot.

    Great list though!

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  10. You're right, they're not all bad, but it's nice to stretch ourselves as writers and try to come up with something readers haven't seen before.

    ~Debbie

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  11. Debbie, awesome info---and I wanted to encourage YOU in your fantastic pursuits.

    I'm a husband, father of 11 (9 still at home--but we have 4 grand-babies) and my wife is 'privately educating' (for all those who hate the stigma of the honorable 'homeschool' badge) 8 right now.

    Each morning I get up at 3m and start writing until noon--building my novel series (on my 8th book). I also write freelance and do web work.

    Was excited to see your bio. Keep it up!
    Wishing you all the success in the world!!

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  12. Thanks so much, Jaime! Nice to meet you. I'm very impressed with your dedication--I don't know how you have all that energy! Best wishes on your series--keep me posted!

    ~Debbie

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  13. Thanks for this list I can just bookmark this page instead of 5 + pages :D I'm doing good so far I see two in my book that can be easily fixed. ^-^

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  14. Thanks so much, Darkocean! So glad this helps. Feel free to browse around for lots more resources. Hope you get to stop by again! : )

    ~Debbie

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    Replies
    1. Hi Debbie, I'm cleaning out my long list of book marks and am glad to see this page continues to be active. ^-^ So it says.

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    2. Yes, I plan to keep it up. Haven't blogged much lately, but certain pages stay popular. Thanks for checking in! : )

      ~Debbie

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    3. Well here's a topic idea, why are some people so hard on a protagonist if they just happen to be a female? I've given mine everything that a male needs to be interesting, with what I hope to be of many layers. Well, it doesn't help that she starts out stealing a book xD It's strange things have changed more then ever in real life but a ridiculously thin nine on likability for a female protagonist still exists. Perhaps you can figure this one out.

      No problem ^-^ -waves-

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    4. I think you hit on a common problem for authors. Personally, I love a complex heroine. For me, she doesn't have to be 'kick-ass', just imperfect, with a great character arc. I think *I* would love your character! : )

      ~Debbie

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    5. Aww thank you for saying so. I wish I'd remember to check back here more often, excuse my later reply. Happy Halloween!

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    6. And Happy Halloween to you! : )

      ~Debbie

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