Cliche or Classic?
Hello, readers. Time for me to force you to sit through yet another article! But this one is actually going to be helpful. All right, you can quit with the shocked noises. Let’s get on with the article.
Well, this article might not be helpful, unless you happen to write for the Neopian Times. Actually, it won’t be helpful even then, because then you’ll probably have a good grasp of this article’s topic. But if you’re a new writer, then this might just help you!
Now. All writers have had this difficulty. You write a wonderful, magnificent story, and offer it to a friend, asking for a critique. Glowing with pride, you wait to hear their words of praise...
“Meh. Well-written, but that’s the most clichéd plot in the world.” Devastating. Now you have to start completely from scratch, with a brand-new story. And yours was so good! Now you’ll have to settle for a story, more original, but not as glowingly perfect. Well, this article will save you from that pain. I’ve compiled a list of things that are ridiculously over-clichéd and should never be written about again, at least in my opinion. This should give you a solid grounding for all stories I would approve of. If you care.
But I’ve also gone one step more! I’ve also made a list of classics. What are classics? These are similar to clichés, but good. Classics are things that have been used, over and over again, but have not been worn to the ground. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, so I’ve written them up side-by-side with the clichés, with little notes to tell you which is which, if you couldn’t tell in the first place.
1. Sloth. This is... wait for it... a Classic. Sloth is not overdone but traditional. Whether you abuse or amuse with him, you can do whatever you like and it will still be an interesting story. Sloth is just awesome like that.
2. Vain Uni stories. This is a, you guessed it, Cliché. This stereotype was vastly overused in the older NT, making it still a cliché today. Like a field where people have been playing Chia Bomber with fewer water balloons and more mines, people will still fear to tread here for the next several years or so. The vain Uni who learns a lesson, the Uni who is the only one who isn’t vain, the so on and so on Uni who did this that or the other thing. Unis are still fine as characters; just do not bring up the vanity thing.
3. Fyora’s origins. Cliché. This, I think, is slightly overdone. I know some people will disagree with me here, but unless you can put a totally and completely original spin on it, like her stealing the throne from Jhudora with the help of the Meerca henchmen, it’s been very much overused. My theory is that people are very eager to get into the Fyora Day issue of the Neopian Times, so they go for a story about Fyora. And yes, I have copyrights to the Fyora plus Meerca henchmen story, so you can’t write it. :P
4. Illusen-Jhudora rivalry. I think this is pretty darn Classic. I know, I rated Fyora a cliché, and Illusen-Jhudora takes the stage almost as regularly, but I’m still always interested in proposed sources of the feud, and people tend to be more original about it. Plus, I haven’t seen many stories like this recently. Feel free to prove me wrong if you can, by the way. Controversy is always a good story.
5. Altador Cup player background story. This is an underused Classic. What is an underused classic? It is something that people do write all the time, but only about once a year, during the Altador Cup. It could definitely be done more often; there are still several players we know so little about. Write on this, people!
6. Evil Meepits. This one was difficult, but I decided it was a Cliche like Fyora. Good, but overused, so unless you can find a totally original Meepits-are-evil story, you’re out of luck. It’s still a point that you could definitely debate, however, and I’m likely to be called wrong on this by several people.
7. Weewoos. This is a Classic. People write on Weewoos all the time, mostly on Neopian Times anniversaries, but Weewoos are just plain awesome enough to be written about all the time. They are emblems of the Neopian Times, and their stories can be done so many different ways. However, it is wavering dangerously close to the Cliché point.
8. Pirates. Now this one is definitely hard. I’m going to have to call this a Clichéd Classic. What on Neopia does that mean? It means that it’s a Classic as of yet, but a few more stories written about this could push it dangerously close to Cliché. Or so I think, of course. Now, Ninjas vs. Pirates is a Classic debate point, but I don’t see many stories written about this, so you could try that.
9. Neoschool story. This is another tricky one, but I think it might be a Classic. As Neoschool doesn’t actually exist, no one knows precisely what it might be like, so all stories have a good shot at being original, but it has been used a lot. I am calling this a Classic.
10. Jealous pets. What exactly is this topic? Well, this would be the type of story where a spoiled original pet has a fit when their owner adopts a new pet. And I have to say, this is very Clichéd. It almost always ends with the original pet learning a lesson, and welcoming the new pet into the loving family. I’ve seen far too many of these, but I suppose you could put an original twist on it. Somehow.
11. Chias vs. Lupes. Classic. Definitely. Or, more accurately, forgotten Classic. These stories were written ages ago (see my other article on this), and then this topic was completely forgotten about. Which is WRONG, as this is a wonderful and very fun topic to write on. Definitely a Classic!
12. Pound stories. Drat, I always pick difficult ones. I suppose this could be a Classic, but most of the pound stories I’ve seen go a similar way, forcing it into, in my opinion, a Cliché. At least, most of them did, so I mostly stopped reading pound stories. For all I know, however, while I wasn’t reading them they could have all turned into wonderful original stories simply with a similar basis, making them Classics. I wouldn’t know.
13. Meridell cast stories. What exactly are Meridell cast stories? These are stories set with famous characters from Meridell, such as Jeran, Skarl, Lisha, Illusen, and the rest. I am saying that these are Classic, seeing as they all have similar bases but can be done in incredibly different ways. Two of my favorite Neopian Times writers use almost all the same characters, but the plots are wonderfully different and exciting. Definitely a Classic.
14. Techo Master teaches a student a valuable, dramatic Kung-Fu type lesson. The title is fairly self-explanatory, and I haven’t seen many of these published recently, but I have seen too many published. And they all seem to go the same way, with a young reluctant student being dragged through the Techo Master’s training to discover that they are strong/brave/whatever the value they need to learn happens to be in the story. You can guess by my fairly scornful tone that I consider these Clichés, but feel free to debate this with me at any time.
15. Jelly World. What are you talking about? There’s no such thing as Jelly World! It’s totally ridiculous that you’d even think about it. Extremely humorous stories about whether or not Jelly World exists are CLICHÉS *cough*Classics*cough*. It’s in the NT writer’s contract to deny all existence of Jelly World, didn’t you know? Not that it exists in the first place...
Well, there you have it. Fifteen different plots, and whether or not they happen to be Clichéd or Classic. This should give you a good idea whether or not people (or more accurately, just me) will call your story clichéd or not. Remember, this article is not remotely based on fact or majority opinion. I hope you enjoyed reading, and I’ll see you next time!
The author does accept that very little of what she said had any basis in fact. She would be happy to receive questions, comments, or huge arguments about whether or not something is a Classic or Cliché.