(A small introduction to me as it does suit this blog’s topic) Hi there! My name is Johnluke Cuthbertson, and I’m here to tell you what I love: creating interesting stories and characters! I am always thinking about characters I make up, and the stories they get featured in, and I want them to be interesting and original enough.
When I read novles or watch movies, I’m always excited to see what happens, how characters develop, and what themes may be discussed…until I realise something. I’ve already read this story but it was under the name of another author! I am not saying that these stories suck, they are just clichéd and I have already read or seen them before.
I’m going to list some of my least favourite book / movie plots, and some of these may be what I refer to as ‘genre plots’ e.g. Horror = excessive gore caused by some serial killer. Basically, a ‘genre plot’ revolves around specific thing that exploits a genre. I am really passionate about making up new interesting things, and these plots make go a little insane because of how overdone they are and unimaginative they tend to be. I may come across as obnoxious or go off on a big rant, but stories and writing is what I am passionate about, so I can express my opinion.
Besides, I’m an angry ginger! An angry ginga-ninja-writer (a reference to my tumblr blog 😉 lol)
This list is in no particular order.
#1 The Who Done It? Plot
My example of this plot:
Lavender was a young graduate who had studied English at Oxford University, and decided to work her way up towards her dream of becoming an English teacher.
One day, she is murdered by somebody and thrown into a dump. The big, ultimate question is (you guessed it): HOO DUN ET!!
You can already tell what genre this story is from several million light-years away: a Mystery. This is one of those ‘genre plot’ things I mentioned earlier. For some reason, most novels and films, especially in the mystery genre, always revolve around this plot because the people writing can not seem to think any other thing that could create mystery. Perhaps a story can be all about what happened to this (fictional) person who went missing, or what is this (fictional) unknown force? I do not want to come across as arrogant or cruel, but I get the feeling that people writing this story don’t have a lot of imagination when I read their work, and are simply relying on a centuries old plot.
Now, you’ll probably be thinking to yourself, “Man, does he want this plot to die.” As I already mentioned, I’m just a very passionate and imaginative person, and I don’t want to convey that I want this plot to die. I don’t mind this plot if it is the small part of a ‘bigger’ story: the who done it plot is the beginning of a novel, and then it becomes something else (which hopefully makes sense). That way the plot will be fresh, and more importantly, interesting. I just don’t want this to be the main focus of a story.
Overall, I just want someone to do something different with this plot, so it will be fresh and exciting 🙂
#2 The Typical Fantasy Plot
I really enjoy fantasy stories when there is a lot of originality being displayed, or are just very fun or absorbing with interesting characters that I like. However, one of the biggest things I hate about fantasy is the overdone plot of a young person who has to defeat an evil king. How many times have I read or seen this?
Usually this plot involves some young protagonist who wakes up in a strange new world, and are told that there is an evil who wants to be all powerful and dominate the mystical kingdom…also he has to save the pretty useless princess damsel-in-distress who becomes the love interest for little reasons. Also, this young protagonist the Chosen One because…well, because who else? He has to find the wise old wizard who will grant him magic deus ex machina.
The Lord of the Rings may not be my all time favourite trilogy ever, but I have a lot of respect for it. It’s all about destroying the legendary One Ring, and the journey of the characters. Frodo isn’t the Chosen One; he was simply given a task. I haven’t read the books yet, but the movies created characters who I wanted to root for and found very interesting. Not to mention how epic it was. How about fantasy stories by Roald Dahl like BFG or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
I’m currently developing a fantasy story under the working title of Raneus and it right now its all about this titular wizard who arrives at a city that looks like Venice. I think the story going to be relatively easy going but has magic/supernatural elements. I just wanted to make a story up that sounded original to me (but perhaps not to you) and not clichéd.
#3 The Excessively Gory Horror Story
Horror and Gothic are my favourite genres, and I absolutely love it when a new book or movie comes out and it actually offers something interesting, or just tells a good creepy story. (examples are The Babadook, The Witch, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, It Follows etc)
One of the things I actually now find offensive is when people say that horror is cheap and stupid because of all the cliches they have gotten used to that have ruined the genre. These include random jump scares, and excessive gore. Horror stories always have to be about some random serial killer with no development go around brutally killing people, with blood being mentioned in every. single. chapter/scene.
What about suspense? What about creepiness? What happened to the art of creative writing?!
I really dislike how people say that what makes a movie or novel authentic Horror is the sole use of blood. I may sound self-righteous when I say that is incorrect. Horror, or for people who don’t know what it means any more, the feeling of great shock (google description) is not all about blood. It’s about topics or things that are scary or disturbing. Blood is disgusting, and it could be used to great effect (like Carrie, my favourite movie). If there is blood at every single interval, it becomes boring, and that is a big problem.
Someone can imagine something terrifying that involves no blood at all–and my examples are things like mental illness and paranoia. A Horror story can also just convey a strong creepy atmosphere and interesting story as I’m all about creepy atmospheres!
Similar to my opinion on the previous plots, I just think people are not really using their imagination when they create horror stories.
#4 The Destroy All Aliens Plot
I recently watched District 9, and it made me think this: Wow, this is actually quite original…because all science fiction stories ever are all about destroying the aliens because they’re aliens.
This is in my opinion one of (action) science fiction’s biggest clichés, and I’m not even a big reader of the genre. I imagine that the reason why this is a big cliché is because aliens link to the fear of the unknown, and that is what would make them scary and thus villains. So the story will be all about destroying aliens.
I suppose the biggest reason I dislike this plot trope of the genre is because usually the aliens are very one-dimensional and are not interesting. I really love reading or watching interesting stuff, and this just breaks my heart because so much alien destroying will be happening and I won’t be engaged. Being interested in a story is vital, and a destroy all aliens plot has in my opinion become a cheap and dull way to garner people’s attention.
The trend of this rant was that I think people are just not being imaginative when they write stories, and are just relying on clichés. As I already mentioned, I don’t want to come across as arrogant, self-righteous or cruel, but as an aspiring writer with some ideas I want to work on, I’m just passionate and I love reading.
I hope you liked this, and what are your least favourite tired plots or genre tropes? Let me know what you think.