Whether you write fan fiction to post online or write original short stories to enter into contests, there are a few things you should avoid adding to your stories. You don't want them to be predictable, do you? Even though some people say that "everything has been done before," that doesn't give you permission to reuse story lines that you've seen in movies a million times. Try to get creative and avoid using these cliche tropes in your fiction writing:
1. It Was All a Dream
Your fans will feel cheated if they read through an entire story, only to find out that it was all a dream in the end. Don't take the easy way out. If your character is getting chased by a monster and you're not sure how to save them from the situation, don't settle for using the dream cliche. You're creative! You can think of something clever.
2. Love at First Site
If your story takes place over the course of a day, you probably shouldn't have two characters meet and fall in love. Even though Shakespeare made Romeo and Juliet seem romantic, it's rare for two people to develop a deep connection over the course of a few hours. If you want to write a love story, you can show the characters meeting, and then jump ahead in time to when they've gotten a chance to know each other. It'll make everything feel more realistic.
3. "Bad Guy" Monologue
Don't let "the bad guy" explain his whole evil plan to the "good guy." In real life, no one would be naive enough to ruin their plan by busting into a monologue. Besides, this cliche has been done time and time again. If you want to stand out from the rest of the writers in the world, you need to find new ways to spoil the bad guy's plan.
4. The Hero Dodges Every Bullet
This is a cliche that pops up often in action movies. Even though a dozen people are shooting at the hero, he never gets hit with a bullet. Meanwhile, the hero ends up shooting down every bad guy without a problem. Unless your character is a superhero, they probably can't take on an entire room full of bad guys, so don't put them in situations that they don't have a chance to walk out of.
5. Horror Cliches
Horror stories are filled with cliches that you have to be careful to avoid. While it's easy to make the story feel creepy by having a car break down or a key that won't fit into a lock, those situations have been overdone. There are plenty of things in the world that are more terrifying than getting stranded on the side of the road or locked out of the house--you just have to think of them.
The amnesia cliche has been done on virtually every soap opera ever created. It was even done on Full House. Instead of making your character forget all about their perfect life, throw them into a situation that makes that perfect life fall apart.
7. Stereotypical Characters
You should avoid creating stereotypical characters. If there's a nerd in your story, don't give her glasses and braces. If there's an evil character, don't give him black hair and a mustache. Switch it up!
If you can manage to stay away from cliches, then your story will be unpredictable and thrilling. Everyone will want to read it. What cliche do you hate seeing the most in movies and novels?