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EDIT: If you like this journal entry, check out The Sarcastic Guide to Writing ebook www.amazon.com/The-Sarcastic-G… for exclusive content on world-building, character, and dialogue!

1. Do your damn research. I can't stress this enough.  We live in the freaking Information Age, and the concept of Googling is an alien one to too many people.  While I could easily go on a rant about anti-intellectualism, I'll rein it in and say that cliché' is largely anachronistic.  People use them because they're familiar, not necessarily what's true. When I started world-building for my Western steampunk/cattlepunk trilogy, one of the characters was the equivalent of a Chinese immigrant worker.  So I read everything I could get my hands on about what it was like to be a Chinese immigrant worker.  Wikipedia articles, fiction, and non-fiction.  I also read authors like Lawrence Yep, whose actual, real ancestors were Chinese immigrants, and that directly fed into his historical fiction.  Cliché' fills in what the author fails to describe.  Template races like elves and dwarves and dragons are this, big time.  If you don't tell us a dragon is a picky eater, capable of teleporting, and spits acid, then we are going to assume your dragon sits on mounds of gold, eats virgins, and breathes fire.  However, if you DO tell us all that, you've more or less avoided cliché.  Of course, when authors take the time to explain their dwarves live underground, are stoic, and like battle axes, we tend to weep tears of blood.  Going back to what mythological creatures really were back in the old days when people seriously thought they were real can reveal surprising depths.  Tolkien's elves are anachronistic; their cliché' exists because Tolkien set the precedent.  Elves before that were not tall, forest-dwelling immortals who were better than everyone (look up the antics of the Sidhe sometime.)  It's just been absorbed to the point of cliché.

2. Combine it with something else. One of the biggest problems with cliché for new writers is that new writers emulate and regurgitate.  This is a perfectly natural and acceptable stage in learning to be a writer (or really, any artist.)  It's just that people get weirdly protective about their ripoffs sometimes. Aside from that, there's plenty of people willing to jump on a bandwagon. The effluvia Twilight created is still dripping out of the professional publication scene. We've all seen vampires, werewolves, and zombies. If you're using the cliché', we're yawning already. If you're just dying to do it, do a Mad Libs list of things that interest you and combine it with werewolves.  Werewolf steampunk.  Werewolf spies.  Werewolf punk rock stars.  All of those sound pretty interesting and non-cliché. The biggest problem I see when it comes to originality is a highly limited resource pool.  This person has seen one werewolf movie, the werewolf movie everyone in the world has seen, falls in love with it, imitates it, and gets angry when people accuse them of being unoriginal when they write those exact werewolves. Get me someone who reads Napoleanic wars historical fiction, plays Japanese RPGS where the players overthrow God, and watches spy thriller movies, and I bet that person's werewolves are going to be something worth reading about. But show me someone whose only exposure to werewolves is Twilight, and I will show you someone writing an angry letter to Universal Pictures about how they ripped off Twilight. www.latinoreview.com/news/tayl…

3. Explore what's been done. This kind of ties with Rule#2, but only because it's another facet of limited resource pools. I honestly don't know who would get into their head to write a paranormal romance where a girl falls in love with a shallow hot guy, but I can guarantee you that somewhere out there, right this very minute, someone's writing one, someone's publishing one, and someone's reading one. And odds are, they're not aware of the plethora of that story that's been done to undeath and death again. Meyer famously stated once that she didn't read about vampires, thereby, I'm certain, unleashing a cavalcade of young female writers upon the world that will think that not bothering to research is the only way to free the muse. The other argument I've heard is that people don't want to read the kind of stuff they're writing because they're afraid of absorbing the idea.  I call bullshit on that immediately, because ideas are a dime a dozen (see Rule #4.)  Again, the big problem I see constantly is that people don't have enough ideas, and stay too far within the realm of what's already been done before.  It's kind of a garbage in, garbage out sort of thing; if you're limiting yourself to where you're somehow "allowed" to get ideas from during your creation stage, you're crippling your possibilities. If you've ever read a book where the characters and setting and plot all behaved exactly as you thought it would, with no surprises or reversals along the way, that's an author who didn't bother looking at every other book within his genre and comparing it with his own.  Be unique, people.  It's the mold-breakers who become timeless.  Meyer might have gotten popular, but Jane Austen did it better, and her stuff is still in print. Old women can still tell their kids about Pride and Prejudice.  I got a feeling Twilight will go the way of lower-back tattoos and bellbotoom jeans, quietly filed away with all the other teen fads in the closet of regret. While I'm on that subject, remember Goosebumps?

4. Learn the definition of derivative. Whenever I hear people defending crap like Paolini's Inheritance series with the line about "Every story's been told before!" I wanna sock 'em in the mouth. There seems to be a hugely skewed misconception about what is the difference between derivative and borrowing. Derivative is boring and cliché'.  End  of story. Derivative is not carte' blanche to be unoriginal, and I have no idea who would want to try so hard NOT to be original.  Derivative is not an excuse for having hackneyed characters and a predictable plot just because "it worked for Star Wars and Indiana Jones!"  First of all, Star Wars and Indiana Jones pulled off whatever they were trying to pull off, broke the mold, and set a precedent, three things that being derivative inherently fails to do. Second, you're trying to steal thunder and it's failing miserably because people know how that story ends.  I cannot stress this enough: you are not clever or cool or a fanboy among fanboys just because you're being derivative. You're being an idiot, and this kind of crap puts you firmly within the realm of imitation. Derivative, again, largely happens because people haven't exposed themselves to a large enough resource pool.  If Paolini had read anything other than Lord of the Rings and played anything other than Dungeons and Dragons at the age of 15, I will eat my freaking hat. "Borrowing" is not derivative, though it's often mistaken for it.  Borrowing usually occurs when writing gives nods or thematic waves to stories or premises similar to it; Fire-Bringer and Watership Down are both animal stories ; they are in no way similar to each other despite both being stories told through animal characters.  They touch on similar themes, share elements like prophecy, militarism, and cooperation, and both make use of things like folk hero stories and giving the animals their own culture. If Fire-Bringer's plot had been about a deer who foretells doom and leaves his home with a band of loyal followers to eke out a new existence and fight for females from a band of militaristic deer, Fire-Bringer would have been derivative of Watership Down. It probably would have been popular if it was, because Watership Down was successful.

5. Don't fall into the "speshul" trap. Oh, man, I really need to address this, especially in the face of DA's artists comments.  I see so much crap posted about "speshul" stuff, mostly within the realm of characters.  "Don't steal my Pokemon trainer!  Don't steal my angsty hot teen with superpowers!  Don't steal my sparkledog!  Don't steal my horse, my Warriors character, my wolf character, my tiger character!  THEY'RE SPESHUL!"  Honestly, I wonder how many people have bothered to use DA's own search function using a two-word descriptor for their own character just to see what pops up. This rule is double-edged, because it espouses that you both are and are not as original as you think you are.  The only danger comes from when you think you are a hundred percent totally unique and sitting on a goldmine character that, if discovered, will rob you of the next Harry Potter phenomenon. (Allow me to break it to you gently that you are not and probably never will be.)  You are not "speshul", your story is not "speshul", and if you think you are, you're a dingbat.  My case in point would be searching for any animated wolf cartoon on Youtube and trying to summarize five of their plots distinctly. If you give two people, say, a tiger character, and both said people have a large enough resource pool, you will end up with two different, unique tiger characters.  One of them might be a ronin samurai with the ability to shapeshift into a tiger.  The other might be a tiger who can cover his body in flames and fights hunters to keep his forest safe.  But, if those same two people are both in a Warriors funk and that's about the limit of their resource pools, I can guarantee you both are going to end up with similar characters and might accuse each other of stealing. No one person can execute a character or plot quite like another person, and therein lies true uniqueness. But, it's very easy for people to delude themselves with a hall-of-mirrors thing and tell themselves their characters are unique despite being replicas of (take your pick) Buffy/Sephiroth/Cloud/Sonic/Firestar.  Characters and stories only become truly unique when one's own personal and unique experience is breathed into them.  Someone might steal your character, but they will never be able to write the story you have. (Also, I wonder if these screechy people are at all aware that any amount of notable success with their ideas and stories will unleash unchecked and exploitative imitation anyway.) I also have to point out that resource pools are affected by age.  I doubt the average Warriors fan has even heard of or would be capable of enjoying the fantastic Tailchaser's Song, because it's an adult tier book.  You absorb different things at age 7 then you do at age 14 or age 20. It's important to give yourself time to hone an idea, because you may not yet have encountered the right idea to make your own reach its fullest potential.
  • Mood: Nervous
  • Listening to: Nana Mizuki - Eternal Blaze
  • Reading: The Ranger's Apprentice series
  • Watching: 80s My Little Pony
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:iconwire4k:
WiRE4k Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is a very good piece of advice to give to any new or experienced artist. I appreciate it being there, so thank you for writing this.

However, I can't help but notice the fact that you're rather harsh towards young authors who think of their ideas as original even though they're not (as seen in #4 and #5). It seems that you're thinking about it as if people choose to think this way and not just grow into it.


Either way, it's not how this comes to work. People are egocentric in nature (which means that they feel like the world exists around them; "if I saw it, I saw it first, and everybody else who says they saw it are lying, because they can't be right"), and it's a part of normal growing up to learn that world does not, in fact, revolve around you, that you're just a part of it. The process of growing up, if it goes the right way (i.e., a person learns they're not the center of the world), it will go through the growing artist's works, whatever those are.


Either way, I don't believe it's right to verbally punish such people for being what they only see as being at the moment. I know you're angry about this "speshul" thing going on through young artists' minds, but this is how the world works. The article is educational, and I believe using derogatives like "dingbat" towards a person who's just grown very fond of their own creation is unnecessary and, moreover, unfriendly. You're trying to change people's minds for the better on the subject, and you're doing a great deed, but you should let people figure out on their own how to work on what they've just read rather than call them names they might have not deserved. Young minds are sensitive, some of them more than others, so you've got to let them learn on their own when they have the base, the material, which is this article.

Again, the advices are simple and easy to understand, and it's good. But you can't be rude to people just because they're learning what you already know and take for granted. You had to learn from somewhere, too, even if you didn't spend time researching when you were as young an artist as those who read the advices.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
Seriously? You're getting on me for being "rude", when if these young artists posted anywhere outside of DA (like, I don't know, self-publishing on Amazon), that people with the total anonymity of the Internet are not going to be rude? Have you seen 1-star book reviews lately? Have you seen the Best Sarcastic Reviews on Amazon?
I don't have time to be polite. I don't have time to nurse the fragile egos of people who can't hack being told "this kind of sucks, you need more experience." And also, I am not responsible for the feelings of other people responding to my work or what I have to say. You're telling me that I should accept responsibility for how people choose to respond emotionally, and uh, fuck that.
Young artists need to learn to develop a thick skin, because everyone who is not Mommykins is not going to tell them they're wonderful in the real world. The sooner they find that out, the better they'll be able to handle it. You act like adversity is something to be avoided or some shit, and that's ridiculous.
Maurice Sendak, the author of Where The Wild Things Are, was asked about what parents should do if the movie of his book scared their children. And he said "Those parents can go to hell." Life is not about kid gloves.
And also: "rude" is usually code for "I don't like what you said, so I'm going to go after how you said it." Stupid young egocentric artists don't need to be applauded for cliche's. And it's not my responsibility to applaud them. I'll leave that to people with low standards like you.
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:icondarkacey:
DarkAcey Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
First off, I have to say I love your writing advice, and I enjoy that you write in easy-to-swallow five-part articles.

Something that has been bugging me, however, is how you dislike Paolini's work. The Inheritance series is dear to me because it is one of the books that got me into writing. Honestly I'm perfectly fine accepting that everyone has differing opinions. I would just like to know your reasons more specifically. So far I've read only a few of your numerous articles, and while I must admit you point out very valid cliches, the things you've stated about Paolini's work has lead my to believe you dislike it solely because it is 'unoriginal'. Is this true, or are there other things you'd add to that list? If that is the only reason, I feel that you're ignoring many other facets of his work.

Really, I'm just curious. If you'd prefer not to respond, that's fine. I will still appreciate these articles all the same.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
Unoriginal, lacking in focus, poorly written technically, uninspired, full of lackluster characters utterly lacking in conflict, illogical in terms of consistency, and constantly making Author's Saving Throws to correct mistakes that a more seasoned author would have avoided altogether.
Eragon was passable/decent for a 16 year old. It was not a good novel by the standards of good novels. It was the only one of the four that had to work to be what it was.
Having just learned focus myself, skimming the last book was just amazingly bad. It was like everything got equal screentime and attention paid to it, regardless of its importance to the story or the characters.
And Eragon's a sociopath.
If it got you into reading and writing, great. But I strongly encourage you to broaden your horizons.
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:icondarkacey:
DarkAcey Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I see. Thank you for replying.
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:icondannielleroset:
Dannielleroset Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for the message. The slight ranting tone made it more interesting to read n.n

Love the advice and will consider what you said about resource pool. I've been trying to think of ways to prevent cliche use in my characters an plot and have come to the conclusion (which you also came to) that it takes personal experience and philosophy to breath life into them. Thanks ♥
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:iconmorqwal:
morqwal Featured By Owner May 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
i do not know if it is good literature, but i will praise "goosebumps" to the heavens for being my first stepping stone.
after that it was "strange matter"
and then finally the first novel i read (that i can remember picking of my own choice and not through school) was "the hobbit"

and from there i have accumulated crap and gold and golden crap and crappy gold. stephen king, tad williams, jane austin, piers anthony, anne rice, vance moore (god help us all), j robert king, jk rowling, eric frank russell, ray bradburray, and peter s. beagle (the only writer whose book i threw across the room in emotional rage after finishing it); just to name a few of the names written across my yellowing softback mountain range i sleep in.

and it all started with "you cant scare me" by RL Stine. PRAISE PRAISE!!!
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:icondastenna:
DasTenna Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012
As you mentioned in #5, an idea (or character) can be fed from a growing ressource pool within the aging process of the creator. It´s like a good wine (so the self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs say): it has to age to gain its taste. A character or idea can be unoriginal at the beginning, when you´re an imitating teen, but the way you grow older and learn new things and perspectives, read or watch different books/comics/movies, collect your ideas from life and history, your character/idea changes and becomes more plausible and original.

It´s not what they start with when you create them as a reaction of fandom, it´s what they are at the end of the process.

Some of my characters may originate from X-Men OC´s but they evolved into something different, genre-wise and character-wise.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012
I can definitely attest to that. I've had quite a few stupid story ideas that have stuck with me and evolved in order to survive my rather ruthless natural selection. Those that didn't went extinct, and sometimes that means entire worlds and plots.
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:icondastenna:
DasTenna Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012
Though it´s sometimes hard to let them go or extinct them yourself; it´s -- well, letting your childhood/stupid teenager-phase behind you.
If I think about some of the old stuff or read over it (I haven´t thrown it away . . . nostalgia, maybe), I can´t help myself but shake my head because of my naivety or smile a bit about the movies that screened inside that child´s head those days =D
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:iconxainy:
xainy Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I own Warriors and Tailchaser's Song. :O Guess I'm not exactly the target audience for Warriors, though. I can get why you hate them, but I really enjoy those books when I'm in the mood for some light reading. I think I started reading them when I was 17? I'm not ashamed to like what I like. :)

EITHER WAY, I'm not a writer, but I've really been enjoying reading through your journals about writing. And I've also really been enjoying reading your shorts about Kit Farson! Can't wait for the next one. :)
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:iconyt-karamayonakasora:
YT-KaraMayonakaSora Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
For those coming off a Warriors stint I'd also recommend the Deptford Mice Trilogy because holy shit I love those books. I actually read both Warriors (the first three books) and Deptford Mice at about the same time and the mice were leagues better. Warriors was kind of like 'okay, that was something'. But the mice, man. They had their histories and lore and distinct characters. The feeling I had after I read Warriors was 'I just read a book and now I am thinking about the book I read.' The mice made me feel a variety of emotions, particularly the second book, which was creepy as all get out.

There's also Jack London, who writes interestingly when it comes to his 'dog stories' because he doesn't anthropomorphize them very much and so there's a sort of alien nature to his characters. Lots of fighting and throat-ripping, not to make a point that such and such is bad or 'that character deserved it because he was evil', but just because that's what they have to do to continue to survive. It's not 'good and evil', it's 'this is what's happening and the characters are just going to deal with it.' I think that's what makes his work stand out not only as a work of animal fiction, but as a work of fiction in general. When I was reading Call of the Wild I didn't feel pressured to root for Buck and there was certainly no villain to force my discontent upon as opposed to the typical novel in which it's often stated 'this is your hero, they are cool and stuff so you should want them to succeed' and 'this is your villain, they are the worst person on the face of the planet, please feel free to loathe them at leisure', if perhaps not nearly as bluntly.

But I'll have to check out Tailchaser's Song. Maybe reread Fire-Bringer while I'm at it. I vaguely remember not disliking it, but I do recall thinking The Sight was kind of a huge piece of crap and it was written by the same guy, so...
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
The Sight was terrible; I rarely pick it up for rereading. It's sequel Fell is far less offensive, but still kind of not good. Fire-Bringer was amazing. Ah, well. Richard Adams only had one good book in him. Maybe Clement-Davies is the same.
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:iconmiaxi:
Miaxi Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
The "every story has been told before" refers to narrative structure, not thematic specifics. There is a handful of plots that keep getting reused since Gilgamesh. [link]
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:iconkazeii:
Kazeii Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Student General Artist
To add my two cents, I'm willing to bet that Paolini watched "Star Wars" in addition to reading Lord of the Rings X3 Just saying, during the whole "Morzan is your father" thing, the only thing I heard was, "Luke, I am your father."
And, because that looks pretty stupid, I've read your journals for a couple years now, and they're extremely helpful. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to post them.
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:iconredvioletpanda:
RedVioletPanda Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011   Digital Artist
With the information avaliable on many films, books, novels, etc, almost everyone can "know" the basics of a fandom. Likewise, I have never read "Twilight" yet, with the fact of Google, Wikipedia, and other sources on the net, I know about half of the characters, all of the plot and how it ends. It may be different with more obscure things (likewise, the only information on a show I used to watch during the Holidays is in German), but with any "pop-culture" thing you can find the information at your fingertips, literally. However, I'm guessing most of the time, people aren't using google or they're updating their facebook statis when on the web. Ahem.
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:icon3v1l73ddy:
3v1l73ddy Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Student General Artist
I agree with you one hundred percent.
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:iconrirth:
rirth Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
i love this
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:iconargema-brassingtonei:
Argema-Brassingtonei Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011
5 Ways to Un-Cliché' a Cliché
Steps 1-5: Shaun of the Dead.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
Love that movie.
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:iconargema-brassingtonei:
Argema-Brassingtonei Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
Totally! It's got every zombie movie moment written just a little bit differently to make it totally hilarious
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:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you for this.

I have been in this little funk lately about how I feel like I can't create any original characters, but it's because I'm not branching out! I haven't been reading new books, exploring different genres, or researching new topics! Originality is out there, and I will SEIZE IT!
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:icongrey-midnight:
Grey-Midnight Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is a bit irrelevant to the "5 Ways to Un-Cliché a Cliché" but Watership Down was mentioned. Thank you so much for recommending it! I'm about halfway through right now, and it's phenomenal. I love the characters, Adams gave them some wonderful development and unique qualities.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011
Wait 'til you get to Efrafa; I loooove Efrafa. Part of the reason WD is my favorite book of all time was because it taught me a penultimate lesson: your subject matter can be as odd as you want it to be, but if you make the reader care, they'll follow you anywhere.
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:icongrey-midnight:
Grey-Midnight Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll look for Efrafra then :)
And gee, never thought about that penultimate... makes sense, though.
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:iconlit-twitter:
Lit-Twitter Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011
Chirp, it's been twittered. [link] :)

Informative, sassy and just a little bit mean. My fav.
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:iconxsilverwingx:
xSilverwingx Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I definitely agree with you. In the context of DA, especially, I've found these points to be true. I'm sure that many people here draw inspiration from what they've seen, from a picture they admire, which is all well and good when they're able to create a character with its own individual characteristics and design. Unfortunately, there are far too many unoriginal characters that, apart from the color, addition/removal of markings, etc., are created without a second thought. (This is extremely apparent when you type anything regarding wolves into the DA search engine.)

But about the books - yup, agreed.

On the subject of recommendations, Ender's Game is simply fantastic.
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:iconjojoiwi:
jojoiwi Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Never intelligence has been so sexy.. isn't it?
Still, I am already seeing the day when the people who live comments because now they read a certain type of journal will begin to be favored!
I think I have discovered part of the source of why dA has changed its news palette, has put news as journals, and faves them.
You make things unsteady. Do you see that as good?
God bless America!

o _ o'
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:iconpersephone-the-fish:
persephone-the-fish Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011
" If Paolini had read anything other than Lord of the Rings and played anything other than Dungeons and Dragons at the age of 15, I will eat my freaking hat."

No, I'm pretty sure he'd also read Dragonriders of Pern, too. How the hell do you manage to actually finish reading these things? I got 100 pages into the first one and just stopped because it was so horrible. I applaud your stamina.

And HOLY CRAP that link just confirmed what I feared: Twilight fans are all crazy. Oh, my poor nieces, sister and assorted coworkers.

Insightful advise as always. I always look forward to your journal.
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:iconstarhorse:
Starhorse Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
I've missed these.

Also, still don't know the end to 24 hour comic. >_>
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:iconnyne-icis-sixx:
Nyne-Icis-Sixx Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
You're officially one of my new favourite people. :clap: :D
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:iconmoonlightwillow6:
MoonlightWillow6 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011   Writer
Thank you for posting this! Definitely helpful advice. I remember when I used to be exactly like this... thank goodness I didn't know what Deviant Art was at that time...

The best thing I can think of to avoid cliches is to do your very best not to give your characters a happy ending. I mean, don't make it totally tragic where everyone dies horrible gruesome deaths (unless that's the point of your story) but don't hesitate to kill someone off. I don't care how much your character has worked for their happy ending, I want at least one person who matters to die. That's just my two-cents though.

Anyway, thank you again! :hug:
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:iconmeatabex:
Meatabex Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
It's easily a wake up call for me. I look back at my writing and I realized many of my characters recently have been similar.

I'm about to use a few Harry Potter references, but it's just an example I thought off the top of my head. I'm not a crazy fan of it, but it's nice to sit down and read a satisfying series like it.

Many writers know that to differentiate the characters that are known for legend, like Harry Potter, and "stock" characters, like the angry farmer, and the sly hunter, there needs to be defining traits. J.K. Rowling makes Harry Potter a very complicated person, because Harry has a dark past, and is going through puberty, and Rowling breaks the idea of a wizard, and completely changes it, which leads to my next point: Writers need to put twists on their characters. I'm pretty sure way back when before Rowling, people thought of wizards as part of the occult, or long bearded men with staves. After Rowling, people all over the world get a different paradigm of wizards, wielding wands and riding on broomsticks (which proves your point about combining traits!). People often hear about the quick, deadly hunter, but wouldn't people remember the clumsy, bumbling trapper much better? People need to open up their minds, and just imagine. If you're a writer, take a minute, and think of various stock characters, like the angry farmer, and instead edit it in your mind so that it is like, for example, a friendly farmer serving tea to walking passerby.
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:iconwivoatt:
Wivoatt Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011   General Artist
Oh thank you so much for this post -- and right at the right time, too!

I have been stuck in the Warriors funk since I first read the series, and now I see I've been doing the exact opposite of what I should have been doing to try and get out of it. It came to the point where I was scared to read anything else for fear of 'becoming even more of a cliche' copycat'. Now I feel like an idiot who's just been scolded and slapped into some sense, and honestly, I can't thank you enough!

Now excuse me while I go read every book about animals/wolves that I can get my hands on!
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Allow me to give you some titles to get you started: Fire-Bringer, Watership Down, The Fire Bringer Trilogy (unicorns) by Meredith Ann Pierce, the Named Series by Clare Bell, and since you like Warriors, try Varjak Paw by SF Said.
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:iconwivoatt:
Wivoatt Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011   General Artist
Oh, thanks so much! I started reading the Named series, and stopped, but I suppose I should pick it back up again and finish it. Thanks again, for the wonderful and stupid-banishing post and the books! :D
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:iconcrazy-sparkles:
Crazy-Sparkles Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Someone thinks that Universal Studios ripped Wolf-man off of Twilight? Doesn't this girl know that the ORIGINAL Wolfman came out in the 1940's (I think)? Before Stephanie Meyer was even BORN?

In MY opinion, Twilight has ruined the image of vampires and werewolves everywhere. Underworld Trilogy, anyone? That's how REAL vampires and werewolves should be portrayed! The plot for all of the Underworld movies was absolutely incredible and uncliche, but it didn't receive a tenth of the fanfare as freaking Twilight. I just don't...under....stand.

I don't want to live in this world anymore. *sigh*
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:iconbicparker:
BicParker Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I found it interesting that you brought up Tailchaser's Song. When Mariel was in the 8th grade, she gobbled up both the Warrior's series and Tailchaser's Song. The latter will always be cooler in my books.
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:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
:clap:
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:iconflying-cuttlefish:
flying-cuttlefish Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love you so much for #4, going to film school I was surrounded by idiots that believed the whole "every story has been told ever" and used it as a crutch to do incredibly uncreative and sloppy projects. If you make a project yours, put your own unique twist to it, then the fact that it may be "just another fantasy adventure" would be overlooked. One of my favorite books, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, can be considered "just another talking animal cliche" or "the fairy tale from the villain's POV cliche" but my god did Pratchett do a great job making that story unique.

And holy christ so many people need to read #5. What really makes me laugh is all the people who put their characters that are "going to be in books/movies/professional comics/etc" and acting like that if they see similar drawings and such from other people. If your story is going to be put up professionally like that and you're THAT gung-ho over making sure nobody can steal it, then maybe you shouldn't post art on the internet of it in the first place. I've actually been told that publishers consider putting things like that online as "publishing" and decline your work because of it.
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:iconalectryomachy:
alectryomachy Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Firstly, I love your username. Cuttlefish are adorable.

I totally agree with you, and I don't understand why people who get so ass-pained about potential theft of their snowflakes when they're the ones responsible for posting it online. It's like covering yourself in expensive jewelry and then deciding to stroll through the crappiest ghetto you can find.
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:iconflying-cuttlefish:
flying-cuttlefish Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Daaaaw, thank you for noticing the cuteness of the cuttles. :icondaawplz:

YES! Finally someone else who gets it! :highfive:
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:iconalectryomachy:
alectryomachy Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011
I saw them at an aquarium once and I could have sworn that I communicated with them. I love their little tentacle gestures!

Personally, I just don't get the people who upload their original species, draw/talk about it constantly, and then ban all but their close circle of friends from making one. If it's friends only and SO SPESHUL NO STEALING OMG, why is it posted online everywhere?
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:iconflying-cuttlefish:
flying-cuttlefish Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes! They're such expressive critters. :la: [link]

It all boils down to "Don't want it stolen? Don't show it off in the first place."
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:iconalectryomachy:
alectryomachy Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011
The ones I saw kept bringing two of their middle tentacles up and sort of crossing them in a little "peace" sort of gesture, so I mimicked them with my hands and got quite a few reactions. Love that video!

Exactly. It's probably more about attention than anything else, which is why people get upset when they realize that they're not the only person with a sparkledog or a dragon with a fringe.
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:iconthemudpiedog:
TheMudPieDog Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I totally agree, especially with point #1 - I've always heard to "write what you know", but if you don't make any effort to expand what you know and learn more about your subject, then your writing is going to get really crappy really fast.
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:iconfurrama:
Furrama Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011   Digital Artist
Way to put the anti intellectualism song back in my head. [link]

And what I mean is, thank you.
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:iconniawi:
Niawi Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Dear googlymooglies, thank you. Tried putting something like this together myself, but I suck at making sense.
Glad to see someone that can... has done so. MAY ALL READ THIS JOURNAL!
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:icontifaia:
TifaIA Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:rofl: I can't stop laughing at number 1. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who do not have basic computer skills. Heck, basic researching skills are non-existent today. Google is such a wonderful, amazing, astounding, incredible search tool. Use it people! [link]

Great journal entry and watching the 80's My Little Pony has just added this to a favorite.
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:iconkaljaia:
Kaljaia Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Point 5 is rather applicable to all us HArpg players. I'm one of the older ones, and remember when the game was still all about promoting creativity and original characters and drawing practice. We've had our share of copy-scandals and flame wars, and most of the time it's pretty easy to see the cause: kids who have seen Spirit, Seabiscuit, Black Stallion or one of the other famous hose movies, or who have tried to emulate ~moonfeather's art in a sort of hero-worship and spawned Ghede-clones right and left.

I also like the last point- what would Eragon have been if he had waited to write it at 20, or 25, instead of 15? Would we be seeing something closer to the quality of Temeraire? I wrote unapologetic Star Wars fanfiction and derivative Narnia at that age and am ridiculously thankful that I never sought an audience based on the merit of being a 'teen author' rather than a 'good writer.' Maybe someday I'll understand what the latter criteria requires.
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