Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hackneyed and Innovative Ideas for Writing Fiction

by Lucy Adams

Have you ever dreamt about releasing a book based on a proven idea? If you did, this article is just for you!

I collected the top 10 ideas I encounters in fiction. Some of them may seem too banal, but I’m sure they will move you towards creating intriguing fiction.

#1 Cloning

This is one of my favorite plot lines. Although the prevalence is not too high, the potential, in my opinion, is very strong.

The use of various kinds of reasonable copies of objects allows you to construct the devilishly twisted plot and completely confuse the reader. This is one of the most simple plot techniques to retain the clues of the story until the very end. However, this extremely effective method should not be abused. Otherwise, the audience will quickly lose interest in such unidirectional creativity.

Examples: Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold, Dune by Frank Herbert

#2 Prophecy

This is a quite spread motive that often performs supporting roles and rarely lies at the core of the plot. I think stories based on the prophecy are rather one-sided (basically, in a sense that the author gives us the direction of development of the story while we are able just to guess whether the prophecy will come true or not). In my opinion, this restricts the freedom of writing and virtually eliminates any element of surprise. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t even try. There are a lot of examples of successful novels based on different kinds of prophecy.

Examples: The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

#3 Relics

These works are built around the people or other beings trapped in our time from the distant past. These are not the most spread plots, but that’s the freshness that makes them so perspective. The main challenge of this direction is that the writer must know the way of life in the correspondent epoch to the smallest detail.

Examples: The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov

#4 Robots

Here we are talking about any mechanical devices (both intelligent and managed directly by the person), which are the participants of the story. Of course, the greatest expert on robots is Isaac Asimov, an American science fiction writer. Learn from his works and then, after reconsidering, bring to the genre something new.

Examples: The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

#5 Superheroes

This is the most progressive and fast-developing subject that has recently gained enormous popularity in fiction. Alas, the consequence of the enormous popularity is a great number of clichés. From year to year, superheroes are becoming more and more similar, and their superpowers have long been no surprise.

Some authors turn off the main road of the fight against universal evil and saving the world. For example, George Martin in his Wild Cards touches the psychological issues of people with super-powers, which looks fresh and interesting against the background of ordinary actions.

Examples: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, The Dead Zone by Stephen King

#6 The Salvation of the World

That’s the classics! This direction became popular in adventure literature, and of course, now it is very difficult to come up with something new.

If you want to compete with the famous writers, you have to mobilize all the reserves and abilities; otherwise, the mediocre novel will drown in the ocean of similar opuses.

Examples: The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Dark Tower by Stephen King

#7 The Process of Maturation of the Protagonist

This is a very common way of constructing a plot, which can now be found almost under every third cover. Of course, often it is in conjunction with some other motives, but still, the question of maturing remains one of the most popular in the literature.

I attribute this to the many recommendations that insist on the fact that the main character must evolve in the course of the story. He or she needs to become smarter and more experienced, endure the hardships and make correspondent conclusions.

Examples: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

#8 Natural Disasters

That’s one of the rarest ideas, which is based on some catastrophe or natural disaster, and of course, the main character needs them to be prevented or to survive in the most severe conditions. Again, the theme of the struggle of existence plays its role as one of the most dramatically powerful tools in literature.

Examples: The Terror by Dan Simmons, Les Robinsons du Cosmos by Francis Carsac

#9 The Dark Lord

Are you afraid of a powerful villain, personifying the destructive beginning in all its manifestations? 

When we hear "Dark Lord," we first think of "Lord of The Rings." And for a good reason!

I have to note that there’s always a certain amount of predictability in such plots as the reader initially knows that the heroes will fight against a mighty antagonist, and all the events will rotate exactly on the orbit of the great conflict. Although in some cases, it may be beneficial (no need to dig deep into the core of the conflict), it sometimes hampers the author’s freedom (it will be extremely difficult to move away from the basic line somewhere to the side).

Examples: The Stand by Stephen King

#10 Psychology of the Alien Races

The problem of the psychology of alien races gives a lot of opportunities for writers. There are almost no boundaries – you can bring to light new forms of life, describing their lifestyle and inner world.
However, that’s not as easy as it may seem. So to work in this direction, you have to turn on your imagination and thoroughness in the elaboration of details and little things. Otherwise, you'll get another writer's zilch.

Examples: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Bio: Lucy Adams is a blogger from a home of essay writers. Although Lucy is a generalist able to cover a huge variety of topics, she’s primarily focused on literature and education. Feel free your best ideas with the author and soon you’ll get a grounded response. By the way, blog posts are free.