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The Dreaded Plot Cliché

With particular thanks to my friend, ghostposts, who posted the first of these links on her LJ page, I'd like to draw your attention to the following lists, from over at Strange Horizons.  They contain details of, shall we say, somewhat overemployed plotlines, which they'd prefer not to see in submissions.

Frankly, after reading through them both I feel violated.  It's like they raided my ideas folder and listed every plot I ever came up with
 However, in the interest of sharing (and to save anyone ever needing to read one of my stories), I'm posting the links here.

Strange Horizons:
Horror stories we've seen too often

Strange Horizons:  Stories we've seen too often

My only consolation is that my current WIP - about a housesitter, who goes up the creaky staircase to investigate strange growling noises coming from the attic during a dark, and stormy Hallows' Eve, armed only with a candle - doesn't get mentioned. 

How about you?  Are there any stories on your collection that you won't be submitting to Strange Horizons after all?

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Jul. 1st, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
From an editor's POV, if three people come up with a similar story idea, even if it's not a cliche, I imagine it's hard not to feel biased towards choosing the 'original' one.
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
There was a very cool essay by Asimov a few years ago called "Originality" (Asimov's April 1986) in which he essentially admits that the plot of "Nightfall" was not new because there were a couple of stories remarkably similar to it published before it (he learned of them after "Nightfall" was published).

The thing is that nearly every plot has been used, and probably used a lot. The difference is in the author's treatment.
Jul. 1st, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
If you think of writers like Agatha Christie, she used the same plot formula again and again: Minor character, who no one suspects, is unmasked as the murderer after a telegram arrives(the contents of which are not shown the reader until later), proving that the minor character is not who he/she claims to be, or was not where he/she claimed to be at the time of the murder.

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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