Cliches in YA

clicheWhy is it that the young adult genre is much loved by billions of readers?
Maybe its because it allows an escape into an alternate plain where you are able to immerse yourself in a past that could have been yours, or a world that if fate aloud it you would be destined for greatness? In all honesty, its an escape. A time to relax your mind and not have to worry about douche bag bosses, sucky boyfriends or crap-tastic parents. Regardless of your age YA presents hopeless romantics with ridiculous possibilities, and avid readers to quench their thirst for witty pros and tear jerking plots. Given how much a good book can influence our lives nobody wants to waste their time reading something that is deadly similar to the previous book they picked up, minus a few plot lines and character names. Is it just a vicious cycle that readers must endure where writers are using the same template?

Here is what I have noticed:

Predictability: in Love Triangles:

Some writers can make a love triangle feel real. Real as in either choice would suit the protagonist best. But predictability in YA is such a current occurrence that for once I wish an unexpected death would occur to the main man you think the protagonist would end up with. Is it too much to ask for a simple death? Yes it would be heartbreaking and the reader would be like WTF! But at least the story would be unpredictable. Or even just a nope…I don’t love you anymore. nawww heartbreak.

As a well obsessed reader of YA you will know who the girl or guy will pick. And yes this is like life because there is always one character flaw that you go ‘oh. Your not the best person for her to be with when compared to (insert name) because of that flaw.’ But sometimes it isn’t even a flaw, its first love or just fate. And don’t even get me started on fate because most of the time its just luck.

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Predictability: in Plot:

Some people don’t read for the romance, and instead are intrigued by the adventure and intrigue. Which you know, all power to ya! Its when stories end in a similar manner. Like everything is leading up to this epic battle that has everyone so scared…but then nothing happens. I do understand that authors become attached to their characters and to see them die would be devastating. I was reading an article about J.K.Rowling where she mentioned that she was going to kill off Ron. Which yes would have been a tragedy! And so she killed other much loved characters so that you still felt like it was a war but you didn’t end up hating the series.

Don’t get me wrong, readers become attached to characters as well. But when a storyline is leading towards a battle and nobody on the ‘good’ side dies…I mean come on. Its anticlimactic. And it sucks.

Parents:

The idea that one parent is the ‘good’ parent and the other is ‘evil’ has been done, and done, and done. What ever happened to happy homes? I know they exist in reality. Is it because you then have another character to write in? Or it just the balance of the good/evil. In some cases where main characters are half-something-imaginary and half-human, its well understandable from a storyline point of view. Understanding your characters past so that you have an understanding of their future.

Descriptions of Characters: female/male

How many books have you read where the female protagonist has uncontrollable hair? Or the male lead has dark hair with brooding eyes, and lets not forget a well defined body…because he’s fifteen and works out like a boss. Oh! Oh! or even characters that didn’t know they were beautiful until they understood how their true love sees them. Ok…well I kind of admire that last example.

Lets face it though the description of characters really doesn’t faze me as much. Mainly because I always conjure up my one picture of them in my mind, regardless of the descriptions in the book. Its like with kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms, I always find that I have a stock standard way that they always look when a scene takes place in one of them.

I guess it would cause a large amount of eye role if every character understood their own beauty. Cause lets face it all of us are beautiful in our own way. It wouldn’t make for an interesting read if the girl on the sidelines knew she was amazingly pretty. So ya…contradicted myself in this one.

Lines:

“I released the breathe I didn’t realise I had been holding” – I actually have a running tally on this one. And now that I have mentioned it you’ll probably start noticing it too. Isn’t it funny how that always happens.

…I guess overall I am wondering if originality is dead? Or if it truly ever existed. Apparently there is like 7 or so plot lines in existence:  overcoming the monster, the quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy and rebirth. I guess for authors the struggle is to take something that has been done before and revamp it – no. not with vampires. I know I struggle with this in my own writing, and get shunned when I suggest to just kill of one of my main characters. So fun, yet sometimes story suicide.

‘Whatever this kind of post’ is i’ve found through writing it that the things i’ve mentioned don’t deter me from picking up these kinds of books. But they definitely prevent me from finishing them.

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5 thoughts on “Cliches in YA

  1. As I was reading, I thought, “Yes, I get so tired of that!” Then I switched to, “Crap, I’ve written that!” Thanks for the challenge to be more original. I guess I’ll be doing some editing.

    • I find it incredibly hard to write scenes or relationships with a sense of originality. Maybe its because I want every one to end up happy, or because I wish life was like the piece of fiction so desperately that dialogue sometimes becomes unrealistic. I do believe that most people read not only for the enjoyment of it but also for the escape, but I also think that when you are escaping into the same world all the time just in different forms it can become a bit tiresome…much like reality. What a struggle writers face.

  2. So true!! I also don’t like the predictability that has come along with trilogies. The first book warms up, the second book changes location or something, the third book blows up and wraps up too quickly. Almost always.

  3. Does this seem cliche? Okay, so, my MC falls in love with a bad boy, but not despite her best instincts since she’s never been in true love before. The bad boy is actually tricking her to get information about her, but she has no clue that this is going on. The bad boy then ditches her and she goes through the break-up phase and is super depressed since she was head-over-heels for this dude. So–her father died a few months before this, just a side note–she closes up.
    Also, the bad boy isn’t really a bad guy in the beginning, he’s actually funny and sweet (to decieve her), bu later in their relationship, he starts to act a little jerky. I want to make the readers love him, then distance themselves from him when he starts to act snotty, but still be heartbroken when he betrays her.
    There’s also this other guy (UGH, this seems so cliche already!) who was her friend who she met around the same time as the bad boy, and they’re kind of friends, but not really. So, the other guy becomes her REAL love interest (there’s no love triangle. she was already broken up when he gets in the picture), but I don’t know how to make the transition from the bad boy to her friend with out it seeming rushed? The bad boy had NO feelings for her, so, in the sequel, he won’t be competing aganist the guy.

    Also, this isn’t a romance novel. The love interests are mostly a subplot, which intertwines with the main plot (because of the bad guy stealing info). I know it seems like a romance, but it’s more of a sciene fiction (but there’s no rebellion or anything similar to that).

    Sorry, I think I typed too much, so if you missed my questions:
    1) Does what I wrote above seem cliche and how to fix it if it does seem that way?
    2) How to make a transition from bad guy to break-up phase to her friend?

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