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Overdone Stories
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Author:  Chelsea_Tractor [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Overdone Stories

...so I've found this list of cliches from Strange Horizons, and - I suppose this is something only those working at Interzone can answer, but how does their experience compare with over here? Whilst I recognise quite a few of those, numbers 30 and 32 seem to be downright bizarre, number 15 just seems misguided and I'm surprised that they get all that much of number 5, given that it seems to be a typically 90s thing.

Author:  Roy [ Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

Don't forget young authors submit to the magazines and they may well be relatively unfamliar with SF short fiction and it all seems new and original to them.

Evil= fat might be peculiarly American, I've not seen a lot of that.
Roleplaying into fiction I have seen but it was pointed out to me by workshop colleagues as I don't play those games. They recognised it instantly.

You can break all these rules if you are good enough. Chris Beckett got an 'Adam and Eve' story into Asimovs a few years back for instance and they are a definite no no. "Dark Eden" — published in Asimov's (Mar 2006)

Author:  Mike A [ Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:36 pm ]
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Years ago I read a Vonnegut story that fitted the 'ridicule your political enemies by exaggeration' scenario. There are always exceptions that prove the rule...

Author:  Chelsea_Tractor [ Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm fairly relieved to discover, on closer inspection, that my own stories don't seem to be described on that list. Always fairly good to know.

Author:  Tony [ Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

It's not really about lists of do's & don'ts, it's about content not subject.

After all, Dostoevsky asserted there are only two stories:

A. - someone goes on a journey
B. - there's a stranger in town

Author:  DRM [ Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Remember that a cliche isn't a cliche in and of itself; it becomes a cliche through repetition.
If D&D-esque type stories were rare as hen's teeth (mmm, cliche...) then Strange Horizons would probably be quite happy to recieve them, but if they're wading through dozens (or hundreds) of them then that's a different matter. Especially if they're from writers who don't realise that playing a game is a far more satisfying expeience than having a game described to you (witness numerous video game film adaptations ).
Plus actual roleplaying games, settings, and published charatcters are copywrited/trademarked anyway.

Author:  Chelsea_Tractor [ Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

Tony wrote:
A. - someone goes on a journey
B. - there's a stranger in town


Surely that's the same story from different perspectives?

Author:  DRM [ Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:36 am ]
Post subject: 

Chelsea_Tractor wrote:
Tony wrote:
A. - someone goes on a journey
B. - there's a stranger in town


Surely that's the same story from different perspectives?


I'd go further and say that there's only one type of story, or at least only one type of well-made short story; the quest.

Some person or persons have a goal, some force or forces block their path and must be overcome.

Goal achieved: Comedy. :D
Goal not achieved: Tragedy :(

Author:  Ilan [ Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

DRM wrote:
Chelsea_Tractor wrote:
Tony wrote:
A. - someone goes on a journey
B. - there's a stranger in town


Surely that's the same story from different perspectives?


I'd go further and say that there's only one type of story, or at least only one type of well-made short story; the quest.

Some person or persons have a goal, some force or forces block their path and must be overcome.

Goal achieved: Comedy. :D
Goal not achieved: Tragedy :(


Or there's the Woody Allen version, where person/or persons spend entire narrative obsessing/analysing their inability to achieve said goal.

Author:  DRM [ Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ilan wrote:
Or there's the Woody Allen version, where person/or persons spend entire narrative obsessing/analysing their inability to achieve said goal.


Sometimes people can be their own worst antagonists!

Author:  Mike A [ Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:01 pm ]
Post subject: 

Also see: goal not achieved, but realises it was the wrong goal all along.

Or: goal achieved, but at too great a cost (eg loss of friends, family, integrity, etc...)

Author:  Shane Ward [ Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Is that all? ho, I thought the list would be bigger than the phone book. I'm sure they forgot something.

Author:  Rafala [ Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm sure I've read stories at Strange Horizons that are on that list. I'm sure of it. After all, there are only so many stories.

And as mentioned above, its how you tell the story.
If you tell the same story in a different way, then you can get it past these kinds of lists.


Rafala

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