This week I found myself researching and reading about the most common cliches found in YA fiction (especially fantasy). As a writer, I like to think that I have some original ideas, but I was beginning to feel like everything I wrote lately has been done before. The more I researched, the more I realized that I wasn’t using ANY of the YA/fantasy cliches I read about, and that made me wonder if I can even claim to be writing a “proper fantasy!”
The main fantasy element in my current story is a portal to another world and some amount of world building, but even that isn’t very much (I don’t like spending too much time on detail). Anyway, here are five cliches’ I am NOT using:
- The Chosen One: My protagonist happens to get lost playing manhunt, and falls into a glowing white pool which transports her to another world. But so far, she isn’t “chosen” to do anything (and likely won’t be). She just wants to find a way home. Now while I know the plot I’m using isn’t new, I am trying to make it happen in a different kind of way in the story telling. The land of Verdant isn’t on the verge of destruction anyway, although there are lots of other weird things going on…
- The Magical Artifact: Ok, so I wasn’t sure if trying to find a glowing white pool that is really a portal home counted. My characters aren’t trying to find this pool so they can have powers to save the world, so I think I’m in the clear. In my fantasy world, magic itself is almost non-existent. There may be a little, but certainly no magic system or magic weapons.
- The Love Triangle: I will admit, I did use this one before in my other novel. But it seemed to work then and I wasn’t really aware that it was a “standard YA” cliche. I have gone back and forth with adding romance in my current story and I think I won’t this time around. That doesn’t mean my characters won’t flirt with each other though…cause teenagers do that – A LOT.
- The Evil Villain: My story has a sorceress surrounded by rumors and superstition. But the sorceress (so far) really hasn’t done anything evil. I have some ideas about her and none of them include taking over the world. But initially, the characters do see her as a threat, and it isn’t like she couldn’t have some kind of evil plan if she wanted to…
- Medieval Setting: There are parts of the land of Verdant that feel European, but not really Medieval necessarily. I actually like the idea of Verdant having advanced technology and weapons development, so perhaps I’m mixing some sci-fi into the story. There is no kingdom, but there is a big city with a government, which has certainly been done before.
What are some more overused cliches I might have missed? Comment below!