are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

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elhlyn
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are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#1 Post by elhlyn » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:26 am

my friend once told me her story idea, which was about a kingdom where humans and creatures live in harmony. but however the subordinate of the queen desired power and would even plan to disrupt that peace to get it. which so the main character tries to stop that subordinate while being romantically involved with the prince.

I thought it was cliche' and her story might be swimming in dangerous waters. I suggested maybe the story should focus a lot on politics (well that and the romance) but she got angry about it, especially the politics part that pissed her off. she asked about my story and i talked about it and she thought it was cliche (my friend who was by-standing agreed)

of course it sounds like she just said that because I called her story cliche', but now that she mentioned it, are my characters cliche?


well I'm writing a visual novel called Tsuki no sengoku, the warring states of japan where Samurais and Ninja (Shinobi/kunochi actually) were famous and prominent in. whats special about this is that there are sub human species called Yokai, which in this story it's treated as an extremely offensive racial slur towards non- "pure humans" (don't worry I didn't copy off of her, I started this story a 2 years ago)

to sum it up bluntly the story is about 2 characters who go around on this "ofuda (paper talisman) pilgramage" and collect all the diffrent Ofuda in the diffrent provinces. and on there way there they meet historical figures and got involved with a handful of battles.

well anyways. lets start of with the 2 main characters:

Ao Tsuki is the main character. he is a mid ranked samurai of the Ogigayatsu-uesugi clan. He wants to be a Taisho samurai (commander/general) but was turned down despite his efforts (its mainly because they don't need a taisho) He acts to be very proud of being a samurai, treating the lower class disrespectfully (though he changes later on) and such. He is a wannabe alcoholic and has a thing against siblings due to problems with him and his older brother(which again changes further on) Ao thought his mother was dead but it turns out she was the tailor that basically acted like his godmother (and to the times he visited his mother's grave every year turns out to be his father's first wife that the father married barely knowing her) He is also (surprisingly) good at advertising.

the second is Kyoko Satake (in the beggining it was Kazomaki but it changed later on.) She is a Miko who sells Ofuda who lived in the shrine where she met Ao. She was the daughter of an boastful and manipulating mother, saying that Kyoko is a princess. it turns out that the mother was right because her father is the lord of a province, thought that made Kyoko a bastard child (like Ao). she reads a lot of Romance stories and Mangas. So she's kind of a try hard when she likes Ao. oddly enough though, she easily fooled when it comes to Romantic advice. she can't control her alcohol and she is extremely fond of dolls. She learned a bit of marketing from Ao's mother (whom she was friends with like Ao) She is actually pretty good at using a spear and at some point.


cliche? probably. it's up to you.

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#2 Post by Tsuyuri » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:48 am

cliche is a term that makes me cringe honestly. I mean in this time and age almost EVERYTHING has been done at least once in one form or another.

Personally rather than focusing on if something is cliche or not I think the 'talent/skill' of the story-teller to make the reader be intrigued in the story that decides if a story is a success or not. Like they say even if you have the most awesome characters in existence if the story-teller holding the book can't do their work he'll have lost his public before the end of the prologue.

Now onto the story!

Personally I LOVE this type of time-period especially since I'm playing on a forum roleplay with a similar type of setting (but tuned more into the anime-style of fantasy rather than actual history)

From what I read so far I found some things that intrigued me a lot.

For example since there are shinobi and kunoichi part of me wonders if those ofuda have a more secret purpose (for example being talismans that the shinobi use -sorry blame Naruto for making me thing Shinobi = elemental-using assassin *really needs to return to the traditional idea of shinobi's*- *random idea popping up*

Personally I find from the descriptions that Ao and Kyoko their personalities compliment each other, from the way you have written them I imagine like Ao being the type of guy who due to his personality always gets into troubles and then Kyoko being forced to keep him out of them (but she sounds like she has a certain innocent/naive side to her also~

*will be trying to track down this visual novel when a concept page is up*

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#3 Post by elhlyn » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:59 am

well, I didn't want to say ninja because that term didn't come out until the edo period (and they were the equivilant to green-screen actors) and so the more historically correct term was shinobi and kunochi.

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#4 Post by elhlyn » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:16 pm

well, I didn't want to say ninja because that term didn't come out until the edo period (and they were the equivilant to green-screen actors) and so the more historically correct term was shinobi and kunochi. And the Assassins (Shinobi/kunochi) in the story plays more of a semi realistic role; they carry out assassinations, sabotaging and spying to the highest payer. and instead of using kunai knives as their signature weapon, they have ninjato (small katana), tiger claws (steel palm guards use to climb and block sword strikes, and various Chinese weapons

the ofudahas more of a mystical use so to speak, like in the story Kyoko convinced Ao to buy an ofuda off of her (through begging) the ofuda says immortal in Japanese (or not die), and in fact it did somehow saved Ao (at the part where he gets shot in the butt, the first shot hit his shoulder, where that ofuda hangs)

and yeah Kyoko is kind of innocent and naive but she also has a bit of stubborn attitude to the fact that Ao isn't really religious (agnostic) and his dislike for siblings (she wished she had a brother, and her wish came true as it turns out, though it was a half brother)
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satake.jpg
and this is Kyoko
ao.jpg
This is Ao, my friend drew this (she'll do the general artwork for the story) this isn't the final draft of the artwork (though this is how Ao will look like)

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#5 Post by wonderland » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:25 pm

Tsuyuri wrote:cliche is a term that makes me cringe honestly. I mean in this time and age almost EVERYTHING has been done at least once in one form or another.
By definition cliche means a phrase or opinion that has been overused.

I agree that almost everything that has ever been written, said, or thought up has been already used by someone in some way. However, it all depends on what you make of your story.. there should be at least one unique thing in your story, then I doubt it'll be cliche or anyone will think it of as cliche. Anyways, I think your story is very cool and I hope you do good things with it! Plus, your art is very cute! Good luck!
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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#6 Post by Maelstrom-Fenrir » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:28 pm

As others have said, cliche is a terrible and poor comment about a plot or even characters. Since almost every story can be broken done into a group of about 10 or so plots. So plots themselves broken down into their simplest form are hardly ever not overused, since it is just almost impossible. Now there are different little twists and unique things people add to their plot details that make them 'seem' different and special.

Now characters can fall into stereotypes, which makes them seem to many 'cliche' but this is simply a lack of development of the character. Stereotypes are swallow and flat, they occur because the character wasn't given enough depth.

So is your story/characters 'cliche,' that type of question can only be answered when you get close to finishing or finished. Cliches are a lot like stereotypes, they don't have enough depth. Characters need growth, a motivation, something they fear, etc, etc.

And just because ideas are close doesn't mean the end result is anything like each other. Everyone has their own take on things, and their own voice to add. Ideas might be broken down into the same groups and same plot structure, but it is the author's voice that makes the story different.

(Also something bugging me I have to ask, if your story is set in the samurai period, was manga even around at that time? I thought manga didn't start around WW2 time.)

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#7 Post by Tsuyuri » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:41 pm

I was curious about that also so I asked my dad who is rather interested in army stuff and he said that Manga was introduced during the second world war as a 'counter' to the increasing popularity of comics in the west (but he might be wrong~)

Also as stated earlier I have to agree I like the art also~ it has a cute feeling to it~

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#8 Post by elhlyn » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:54 pm

Maelstrom-Fenrir wrote:As others have said, cliche is a terrible and poor comment about a plot or even characters. Since almost every story can be broken done into a group of about 10 or so plots. So plots themselves broken down into their simplest form are hardly ever not overused, since it is just almost impossible. Now there are different little twists and unique things people add to their plot details that make them 'seem' different and special.

Now characters can fall into stereotypes, which makes them seem to many 'cliche' but this is simply a lack of development of the character. Stereotypes are swallow and flat, they occur because the character wasn't given enough depth.

So is your story/characters 'cliche,' that type of question can only be answered when you get close to finishing or finished. Cliches are a lot like stereotypes, they don't have enough depth. Characters need growth, a motivation, something they fear, etc, etc.

And just because ideas are close doesn't mean the end result is anything like each other. Everyone has their own take on things, and their own voice to add. Ideas might be broken down into the same groups and same plot structure, but it is the author's voice that makes the story different.

(Also something bugging me I have to ask, if your story is set in the samurai period, was manga even around at that time? I thought manga didn't start around WW2 time.)


Well actually Mangas were made around the like several years after ww2 and the iconic look of mangas came around i guess in 1980s. of course its not realistic but I decided why not.
Yes it is set in the Samurai period, though actually samurais (instead of just simple levy warriors) came around in the 1100s during the Genmpei war where the first Shogunate rose stronger than the emporer.

it was the Onin war where the iconic Samurai came around and Sengoku Jidai/ Warring states (which the story takes place in.) where they reached its height.

as much as I wanted to be historically accurate, I squeezed the timeline as well as altered historical figure's age. the story started right when Nobunaga had just defeated and killed Imagawa Yoshimoto (if you don't know them sorry you'll have to look them up) and the story ends after the climatic battle of Sekigahara which is about 40 years worth. so I crammed it to about 4-5 years.

yeah it's a long shot.

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#9 Post by gekiganwing » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:48 am

My opinion on stories related to the real world: if your VN is only slightly related to real events, people, and places, then make it clear which parts are strictly fiction. Focusing on history is not necessarily bad, but it can bog down a story with too many details, and make it difficult for anyone but people who know the history to appreciate. "World builders disease" is a term I heard from Writing Excuses. It's the problem of over-thinking the background details.

The history of manga article alludes to some pre-1945 works that could be considered manga, but the term doesn't seem to have been codified until then. As Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics states, there are quite a few examples of art with words and pictures from across the world that predate the 20th century. That said, people living then would not have called these creative works comics. And a lot of them seem only vaguely similar to 20th century comics.

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#10 Post by elhlyn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:30 am

Ok now that you mention it, I think I have like World builder's disease to the max ;_;

great, I knew something wrong was going to pop up with this story (I basically fit the description)

though, do you think it would be okay if I just let the story flow so to speak and not come in to info-dump the background setting? I'm making the Romance of the 2 main characters the key point (and drive) of the story rather than the historical events.

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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#11 Post by Kato » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:05 am

As soon as you mentioned Yokai I immediately jumped to Claymore, haha. But still, if you can create a 100% original and non-cliche piece of work then you deserve a statue built of you somewhere cause it's almost impossible. I love the idea of stories in this time period, and you've clearly put a lot of thought into the characters. There can never be enough of these so definitely keep it up! :D

Also love the Kyoko drawing! So... Unbearably... Cute... Gaahhh
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Re: are my characters cliche'? (a plea from a rookie)

#12 Post by Everning » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:56 am

Hahahaha..... Sorry, I need to laugh...

I don't like the label cliches but I do take guilty pleasure(romance stories and etc..cliche but cant help but love them) in them. I mean, the world cliche is just a label but if you think about it, every story has a few cliches in them. Can't be avoided. Even my story do have a few. I think that cliches is just the label for overly used trait or trope but it is not a problem if you try to spice things up a bit with a few twist and turns. It will work if executed properly.

Okay, about Tsuki, You should flesh out his past more, the pain, the memories and the decisions that make him who he is. The grandmother-mother thing can be a pretty twist if you think of a clever way for him to find out. Why she faked her death or something.

Kyoko seems pretty solid but a few extra traits wouldn't hurt. Her mother have to have a reason for being so manipulative so maybe you should try to flesh a story out from there too.

The idea is pretty interesting and I think it has potential to become a good story line. Remember, cliche is just a label but your story can go in many different directions after all stories like life is quite unpredictable. I look forward to see how your story goes. Excited!

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