dimanche, décembre 27

Taking The Easy Way Out

"Got a good reason for taking the easy way out,
Got a good reason for taking the easy way out - now."
-Day Tripper, The Beatles

Well, I feel postiviely blown up. I've been eating too many hot cheetos, See's candies, and donuts. *sigh*. It can't be helped. If I had the power, I'd buy a treadmill. I know what you're thinking - "Why can't you just jog around your neighborhood?"



So you see my situation. And don't even mention pull ups. *curls lips in utter disgust*

Anyways, other than the fact I am completely irked because I still want to finish up that bag of hot cheetos...let's see what I'll be ranting -er, ahem - discussing today:

More Cliches! And what I call "For The Sake of Developing the Plot"

Well, I was strolling around Critique Circle today and actually critiqued two YA chapters (surprising since I haven't done that since probably September or earlier) and I was also watching TV. While eating hot cheetos. Don't say it. During all of this, I discovered two new cliches I've seen popping up. They are:

  • People getting in plane/boat crashes and ending up on a deserted island where they have to struggle for survival while also questioning the other survivors who are making rather odd remarks on how good his flesh would taste after roasting on a fire.
  • The MC's parents die in a car accident. MC must learn to cope with this. We follow MC's journey as MC gains a new perspective on the world and starts a new organization PCSA (Preventing Sudden Car Accidents) and becomes actively involved in toy drives.

Or something along those lines.

The main ideas are stranded on a deserted island and parents (and/or other family members) dying in a car accident.

I think you already understand the deserted island thing. Let me just say this - I know you really, really like the shows Lost and Survivor, but if your story is eerily familiar to these shows, then I'm probably going to skip your book. Oh, and did I mention that movie Tom Hanks starred in? The one with the soccer ball as his only companion? Oh, did I cry when it fell overboard. That doesn't mean write a story similar to it. It won't make me cry, it will make me think you are a very bad copycat.

As for the car accident, I am not trying to make fun of this or anything. Car accidents are serious and one of the main causes of death in America. It's probably why they're used so much in novels, along with cancer. There are other ways to kill of characters, you know. But this is beginning to seem like an easy way to do it. Really, if the car accident isn't connected to someway in the novel (like if the person who crashed into the car was the antagonist or one of his/her minions) then it's acceptable. But just to kill off the parents because your MC needs to have a magical quest and doesn't need to worry about the bother of her parents wondering why she is wandering out of the house with a stick claiming it's her wand...well...Do you see the cheapness? At least make it unique. There was this one book, I think it's called Ghost Girl. The girl died because she choked on a gummy bear. Isn't that interesting?

But of course, I can't tell you what to or what not to write. I can only hope you write it well.

Another thing: For The Sake of Developing the Plot

For example:


"I wandered into a house I knew a rapist lived in just because."

"Lila trusted Tommy, even when he said the parachutes had a tendency to not open."

"Tommy robbed a bank because he thought it would be fun and he wasn't thinking of the consequences (10 years in prison, and penniless at that)."

"I jogged around my neighborhood, even though I know my neighbors are prone to kidnap innocent children like me just because."

For the Sake of Developing the Plot means that your characters do stupid actions no sane person would do just because they are needed to propell the story into action. I wandered into a house I knew a rapist lived in because the story is about a girl who gets raped. Lila trusted Tommy because the story requires both of them to die, so they can go up to heaven and meet pretty angels. Tommy robbed the bank because the author had to find a way to put the protagonist in jail - where he deeply pondered the meaning of life and befriended a murderer. I went jogging around my neighborhood because I had to be kidnapped, even though I knew better than to.


Your characters don't have REASONS for their actions. Look here, I didn't just randomly choose to become a pharmacist - my parents did. There's my reason I am most likely going to study pharmaceutics in college even though I don't know what that means in the first place!

Let's revise these horrendous FTSOTP...

"I went into a house I knew a rapist lived in because I needed to find a way to raise money and I was going to babysit his, well, baby."

"Lila trusted Tommy, even when he said the parachutes had a tendency to not open because they had already paid for everything - jet, jumping suits, and cursed parachutes - and if they backed down now, the Sky Diving store would sue them, and they didn't have the money to get sued again.

"Tommy robbed a bank because the other gang members would make fun of him and possibly injure him very badly, if he didn't. And they promised he wouldn't get caught."

"I jogged around my neighborhood, even though I know my neighbors are prone to kidnap innocent children like me because I felt like I was eating too much and wasn't capable of buying a treadmill."

(Quinn on the tv show Glee had sex with Puck because she felt fat that day. And considering she was a cheerleader, it made sense. See how this is unique? She didn't have sex with him because she just found his mohawk so freaking irresistable for some reason (another FTSOTP reason, like in a certain book when a girl almost got killed because she was so attracted to this boy).

But you can't just say outright Tommy robbed a bank because the other gang members would make fun of him etc. That falls into the category of telling, and you know one of the golden rules of writing: show don't tell.

That's it for now. I hope you understand where I'm going with this For the Sake of The Plot business. As The Beatles say, "Try and see it my way." And always try and make your writing different and unique.

After the break,


"A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

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