WORKING AROUND CLICHE? WRITING DISCUSSION..

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RPG's tend to have atleast one (if not multiple) 'cliches' fitting in the story. In my opinion, it's impossible to find an rpg or game in general that doesn't include a cliche or two, because everything has typically been done before in some form or another. Ultimately, its how the cliche is executed that makes it worth while.

I find it interesting when writers can take cliches and put a unique spin to a fimilar element.

In the RPG i'm working on right now, I find myself with one huge cliche; where the group sets out on a "pilgrimage" of sorts, going to 5 different locations on their journey to complete their task. (However, nothing is 'sealed' that in doing so it free's, nor does it have anything to do with seals or that sort of thing. >_> Not that that is bad either, just depending on how its presented.)

Many games use this element admittingly, Final Fantasy X (although I also admit was a huge inspiration to me), Tales of Symphonia, any Legend of Zelda, etc.

but it's how that it is written and executed I think, despited being represented in another way in another game, that makes it a good story.

How do you go about working around cliches? Do you specifically stop yourself to rewrite parts of your story if you think certain parts come off too 'cliche'? What do you consider main RPG cliches? What ones tend to put you off when playing an RPG, to the point you're just bored or not interested in where the story goes from there?

Chliches are a result of expectations and conventions. Understanding what is cliche, that is, what is "to be expected", in any particular genre or subgenre is important. I feel like if someone is aware of what they are writing, then they know why they are emphasizing or utilizing a cliche. Just don't be vacant about it. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
I expect this topic to contain more tvtropes links than actual arguments.

You can try to have so many plot twists and so much originality that you don't use any cliches, but it is extremely tiring and your work will be really hard to follow due to the lack of conventions that readers are used to seeing. If you really avoid cliches, your work will not fall into any genre, and thus will not have much of an audience.

Most Hollywood blockbusters are examples of how to follow cliches to the letter, but use them as well as possible and end up with an extremely good work. Nothing really unexpected ever happens in Hollywood blockbusters, especially not after the first ten minutes of the movie. They follow a pretty specific formula, but the quality of production, acting, writing, action and effects still creates a very enjoyable experience and keeps you watching even when you know exactly how it will play out.

That said, there's definitely something to be said for deconstructing genres and cliches and turning them on their heads or taking them way farther than normal, playing off of the reader's expectations to create an enjoyable experience outside the norm.
author=Solid89
How do you go about working around cliches? Do you specifically stop yourself to rewrite parts of your story if you think certain parts come off too 'cliche'? What do you consider main RPG cliches? What ones tend to put you off when playing an RPG, to the point you're just bored or not interested in where the story goes from there?
First of, I try to make the make sense. The actions of the heroes, the motive of the villain and a lot of other things have to make sense. If I manage to write a story that makes sense, then hopefully players will try to predict what will happen next based on what makes sense rather than on writing conventions. I don't know if I'll be able to pull that off, but it's worth a try.

This is also what I think you should do, write what makes sense, not what you have already seen before. If those two coincides, then that's OK.

I do not concern myself to much if it's a cliché as long as it makes sense. However, it has happened that I've realized it's far to easy to predict an upcoming plot twist due to similar plot twists already been present elsewhere. In those cases I will modify my story a bit to make the plot twist less obvious.
i think making it realistic and believable helps to cut down cliche.
Having characters that develop and become different different people by the end of the story than they were at the beginning a prime example would be Vegeta from DBZ he is probably the most developed character i have seen in a long time.
Steiner from FFIX is another good example.
Although if something can be considered cliche but it works really well from a game play stand point then don't fix what isn't broken.


Making Villains that are not one sided and maybe change their goals(to other evil goals) Make them human, like ya he wants to rule the world but he also enjoys opera and eating ice cream or something.
I do make a conscious attempt to cut down on cliche, but some leak through the cracks.
Like a medieval type setting happens to be something i am working with.
Cliches can still work. Just look at the movie Avatar.
That movie is stuffed with cliches, but it somehow became the most grossing movie ever.
In my opinion, it's impossible to find an rpg or game in general that doesn't include a cliche or two, because everything has typically been done before in some form or another.

Well, the fact the something's been done before doesn't make it a cliche. I'd say cliches are more like things that have been done many times before, and they're in the game because of some "collective unconscious effect", not out of inspiration.

In the RPG i'm working on right now, I find myself with one huge cliche; where the group sets out on a "pilgrimage" of sorts, going to 5 different locations on their journey to complete their task.

I don't think that's such a huge cliche.

but it's how that it is written and executed I think, despited being represented in another way in another game, that makes it a good story.

Well, everybody always say that, but I don't even know what that means.
Somebody mentioned Avatar. Avatar is awesome because of the visual effects. Period. It's not well-written cliche. Can someone please name me one well-written cliche? FF is full of cliches too, but I wouldn't say the charm of the game revolves around them.


How do you go about working around cliches? Do you specifically stop yourself to rewrite parts of your story if you think certain parts come off too 'cliche'?

Yes!
Versalia
must be all that rtp in your diet
1281
author=Zephyr
Cliches can still work. Just look at the movie Avatar.
That movie is stuffed with cliches, but it somehow became the most grossing movie ever.


If you factor in inflation, Gone With The Wind is still the highest-grossing movie ever. Also, just because a movie makes a ton of money does not make it a good movie and visa-versa. Some of the most beloved films and those considered classics BOMBED when they were first released, because the success of a movie is determined hugely by factors outside the film's quality itself - marketing being one of them. Lots of terrible games sell well and fly under the radar; people can be very easily blinded by hype and presentation and then make a major backlash when they get halfway through the game and realize "wait a minute, this is crap."

I don't know what the point of this post is except that Zephyr is over-simplifying. So there's that.
Instead of worrying about your story being cliché, you should worry about your gameplay being cliché. People will probably care more about the latter than they will about the former when they are playing a game.
Versalia
must be all that rtp in your diet
1281
author=Fallen-Griever
Instead of worrying about your story being cliché, you should worry about your gameplay being cliché. People will probably care more about the latter than they will about the former when they are playing a game.


Can you please give some examples of cliché gameplay? It's hard to think of any single gameplay feature that can be flat-out clichéd because a single, simple mechanic can be used and presented in many, many different ways by different games. If you are talking more in terms of a clichéd combination of features and presentation, like a been-there-done-that puzzle we've all seen a thousand times, that's a bit different.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Gameplay cliches would I guess include things like... wallchange bosses, timed areas, multi-party areas, multi-part final bosses, healer characters, item shops?

...However, since this is a writing topic, let's talk about writing cliches instead. I sometimes wonder where people draw the line between what's "cliche" and what's a genre. I mean, it sounds your story has protagonists and a primary conflict. Most stories have protagonists and a primary conflict, and almost all fantasy RPGs have protagonists and a primary conflict. Does that make protagonists cliche? Does it make having a primary conflict cliche? I feel like cliche is just a derogatory term for anything you are sick of, rather than being a clearly defined type of story element. But maybe there's a specific range of exactly how expected something has to be to qualify as a cliche: not too expected, but not too unexpected.
author=Solid89
In the RPG i'm working on right now, I find myself with one huge cliche; where the group sets out on a "pilgrimage" of sorts, going to 5 different locations on their journey to complete their task. (However, nothing is 'sealed' that in doing so it free's, nor does it have anything to do with seals or that sort of thing. >_> Not that that is bad either, just depending on how its presented.)

I wouldn't consider a pilgrimage by itself to be terribly cliche. Now, if this pilgrimage involved visiting elemental crystals that were used 1000 years ago to seal away the Dark Lord but are now losing their power...

But if you're still worried, perhaps changing how the pilgrimage is presented might help. For instance, instead of telling players that there are five holy sites to visit at the beginning, say that there are four. Then introduce the fifth site somewhere down the plotline.
author=Versalia
If you factor in inflation, Gone With The Wind is still the highest-grossing movie ever. Also, just because a movie makes a ton of money does not make it a good movie and visa-versa. Some of the most beloved films and those considered classics BOMBED when they were first released, because the success of a movie is determined hugely by factors outside the film's quality itself - marketing being one of them. Lots of terrible games sell well and fly under the radar; people can be very easily blinded by hype and presentation and then make a major backlash when they get halfway through the game and realize "wait a minute, this is crap."

I don't know what the point of this post is except that Zephyr is over-simplifying. So there's that.
Maybe it was a bit pointless now when you mention it.
I don't like Avatar. It just somehow became popular.
I've also heard that a concept might work if you go the reverse way around. You try to fill it with as many cliches as possible.

Not everything is cliche yet, since I'd say it wouldn't turn cliche after appearing just once. It's just that not many bigger titles seem to aim in new directions. They take a winning concept and reuse it.
author=calunio
Well, the fact the something's been done before doesn't make it a cliche. I'd say cliches are more like things that have been done many times before, and they're in the game because of some "collective unconscious effect", not out of inspiration.


Right, usually when people say cliché, they mean trope. Sometimes things that aren't even tropes, just conventions, is called cliché.

Anyway, I just assumed that we were talking about tropes and not clichés. If we really are talking about clichés, then change my answer of "I do not concern myself to much if it's a cliché as long as it makes sense" to "If I notice it's a cliché, I will most likely modify my writing and sometimes even completely rewrite it".
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
author=LockeZ
But maybe there's a specific range of exactly how expected something has to be to qualify as a cliche: not too expected, but not too unexpected.

After thinking further, I have decided that this theory makes sense, and have decided to officially adopt it. To illustrate exactly what I mean by it, I have drawn this helpful diagram. Story conventions in the red zone are considered cliches. They are not common enough to be taken for granted, but they are common enough that you are utterly unsurprised by them.

author=LockeZ
author=LockeZ
But maybe there's a specific range of exactly how expected something has to be to qualify as a cliche: not too expected, but not too unexpected.
After thinking further, I have decided that this theory makes sense, and have decided to officially adopt it. To illustrate exactly what I mean by it, I have drawn this helpful diagram. Story conventions in the red zone are considered cliches. They are not common enough to be taken for granted, but they are common enough that you are utterly unsurprised by them.



Yummmmm....star spawn spaghetti

I still say Super Cliche: The Ultimate RPG would make for a great community project.
author=Billwilliams
I still say Super Cliche: The Ultimate RPG would make for a great community project.


You have no idea how many games with the exact same concept already exist.
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