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-   -   Cliché Plotlines = Bestseller Books? (http://www.midnight-shadows.org/showthread.php?t=7278)

Serenity 02-18-2010 03:02 PM

Cliché Plotlines = Bestseller Books?
Copy-pasted from my LiveJournal entry with slight edits. In case you find it familiar :-p

I've been reading a lot of books in the Young Adult fantasy genre, and I'm definitely spotting a trend among these so-called bestseller books. Be it vampires or immortals or whatever, it's always the teenager that gets thrown into that dangerous world. Yes, I know it's because the genre is young adult/teen, but if you think about it some more, it's actually quite disturbing. Each book seems to suggest that for us, it's perfectly okay to throw away your entire life and be a vampire/immortal/insert-random-creature-here for the one you love, because love is so IMPORTANT and ETERNAL, and it's ALL your life will be about now that you've found THE ONE. I know that it will never happen in real life because obviously, these creatures don't exist, but I'm just kind of disturbed by the idea that these books are encouraging teenagers to throw away their lives and everything in the name of love.

I mean, I'm a hopeless romantic myself, but I would really like to see a YA fantasy book in which the heroine uses her head a little. At least consider the fact that they're cutting off their loving family for good like an ungrateful brat, not bothering to look for their consent to do this huge change in their life for a boy, because obviously this is their life and no one gets to say otherwise, right? Have you ever wondered if those romances don't work out? If suddenly one day Edward and Bella have a falling out like a normal couple and decide to break up for a logical reason, only she has already been turned into a vampire and has a half human half vampire child with her... what's she going to do then? These books seem to suggest that someone you find in your high school years will be your one true love and eternal partner in life. While I'm not trying to say that it's completely ridiculous to think it's possible (because I'm sure some people DO marry their high school sweethearts), the chances of that is pretty low.

Another definite trend is that the main character will usually be a girl and written in first person point of view. She'll be going about her business at school like usual when this new guy comes, all mysterious and OH-SUPER-GORGEOUS and at first she may think he's strange but then suddenly she's in love with him. This is not complaining about the message of the story, but rather the complete lack of creativity on the author's part. Come on, how many times do we have to see this scenario over and over? Can't they guy be mediocre sometimes? Heck, the girl's usually described as very average-looking, so how the hell do they always manage to land the SUPER HOT guy? Why does it always have to be about looks, anyway? Can't a girl be happy with an average looking guy?

I guess I'm ranting a little about everything here. It just strikes me as very irresponsible for the teenage characters to always be thrown into situations where they're forced to keep big secrets from everyone who loves them, decide to take care of dangerous things on their own despite them being so young, thinking they're the only ones who know best. It's nice to imagine about all these exciting stuff, but in the end I guess I'm just concerned on the message hidden beneath the story, and I can't help but wonder how teenagers these days are letting these kinds of books influence their lives.

So if you have attempted to write a book/are currently writing one, do you think you would follow these cliché plot lines to ensure that you'll appeal to the masses and your book(s) will become a bestseller? (Because that's what teenagers these days love, apparently) Or will you deliberately try to come up with something that defies all these overdone things and actually try to be original but with a less certain outcome (audience reaction wise)? If you've ever written/tried to write a novel for young adult, please do share your experience and tell us what kind of hero/heroine you have, as well as the message you're hoping to send to your readers :)

Thor 02-18-2010 03:13 PM

Well since I started on my own novel, I can tell you that mine will not have the major cliché plot lines because they make me nauseous if not written correctly. I won't go in it to much but my lead will certainly not drop her whole life for a boy :-p

But I do agree, it seems that lately people have to use the cliché plot lines to sell their books which is a shame because there's nothing wrong with originality and there are loads of people who will still sell your book if the storyline is good enough and triggers that "must read" button.

I mean if the blurb is alright and intriguing then I can tell you I will read the book :nod:

Unforgiving 02-20-2010 07:38 AM

Thats a rather interesting point Corni, but it could be that people want a happy ending, where two people meet and end up together. :shrug:

If I had it in me to string a novel together, I think I'd try make things different though, just for fun.

Thor 02-20-2010 11:18 AM

aaah but the books where they don't end up happily ever after are so much more fun to read because that usually means that there will be a series. The series I'm currently reading, the chit is seriously not in happily ever after land :-p

I mean I haven't read a stand alone book where the leads aren't in happily ever after land :chin:

Serenity 02-20-2010 11:28 AM

Yes, well, I'm not saying they couldn't live happily ever after. I'm just saying they didn't have to be so hardcore about the soulmate and forever love thing. I mean, how can anyone be sure they'll love each other forever, especially considering the characters in these books are mostly actually immortal. :-p

Thor 02-20-2010 11:37 AM

Oh you'll love these books then Corni, no immortality in sight... well I think. Only read the first book so far xD if you're interested: Rachel Morgan Series by Kim Harrison.

And yeah those hardcore stories, usually make me roll my eyes. Because I agree, how do you know it will be eternal? It's not really realistic, more a teenage fantasy I suppose :-p

Unforgiving 02-20-2010 11:59 AM

The only one of those books I've read is Twilight, and it kinda fits. Whilst Vampires are sorta human, they are more animal. With the exception of a few, most animals do mate for life.

Six Degrees 02-21-2010 02:16 PM

I've probably mentioned this before somewhere.. but i can't remember where, so excuse me if I'm repeating myself. :-p

I feel that the reason why these plotlines have become clichéd and overused is because they are tried and tested storylines which have worked in getting more readers to buy the books. There are probably a lot of people there who find solace in these fantasy-like "happily ever after" endings. Real life can be too harsh and difficult, and some people just find it nice to be able to immerse themselves in a "perfect world". (I have to admit that I sometimes get to caught up in these beautiful storylines too! :-p)

It's kinda like the movie Avatar, where it was reported that many movie-goers experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after watching the movie because the Avatar world was too beautiful and they ended up being disconnected from reality.

Serenity 02-22-2010 02:30 AM

:wow: Doesn't it make it more dangerous if it makes people feel suicidal and depressed afterward? :-p

And yeah, my point was actually that; if you ever create your own storyline, will you go with this tried and tested that guarantee you success, or put originality before everything? I, personally, don't want to follow some trope just to make sure my book becomes a bestseller. I'd rather have it sold because people like their originality.

Thor 02-22-2010 10:36 AM

Originally Posted by Aurora (Post 295354)
And yeah, my point was actually that; if you ever create your own storyline, will you go with this tried and tested that guarantee you success, or put originality before everything? I, personally, don't want to follow some trope just to make sure my book becomes a bestseller. I'd rather have it sold because people like their originality.

Yeah I totally agree with you on that. I rather write something original that hasn't been done before than follow the crowd and write another twilight saga :-p

Not that there is anything wrong with Twilight but it's been done... repeatedly.

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