Avoiding Clichés Like the Plague


If you are reading this, you have clearly stumbled your way through the magical and terrifying world of fanfiction. Congratulations. You made it. When I started this guide back in September, I claimed that I did not have writer's block. That was a lie. Thirty thousand words later, I think I've managed to overcome that writer's block that got me started on this project.

I'd like to thank everyone that reviewed, even those people who told me that I'm an idiot. And I'd like to especially thank everyone who reviewed more than once and stuck with me right from the beginning. Every single review was awesome to get, including those that told me I have no idea what I'm talking about. They were lots of fun to read.

In an ideal world, everything we ever learned would stick in our heads. This, of course, could be less than ideal when you realize that you'd remember absolutely everything, even things you don't want to. So, let me rephrase that: in an ideal world, everything useful we ever learned would stick in our heads. But, this is not an ideal world. Instead, we get an extremely messy planet to live on, and an even messier place to go when we want to escape it, named the internet. Since you will not remember everything I wrote in this guide, here are some things that I think are particularly important:

-Unsolved mysteries are the best. They're super useful, and all around us. For example, life and death are unsolved mysteries. So is Jack the Ripper.

-Humans are really lazy, so you have to impress them right away, and continue to afterwards. People aren't going to change this quality in the foreseeable future, so don't wait around for it to happen.

-Edit like there's no tomorrow.

-The Percy Jackson characters are not yours. They have preset personalities, and, as a writer, it is your job to stick to these personalities.

-Balance is the key to success. And it's not easy to do.

-Planning helps. When you don't, you run into all sorts of problems. It's like making cookie dough and then realizing you don't have enough butter. And the stores are closed.

-You can sometimes get away with a bad beginning, but nothing excuses a bad ending.

-Writing is an art. You can experiment with it however you want. Just because you've never seen something been done, that doesn't mean that it can't be done.

-Plotholes are like cupcakes filled with dinosaurs. They're annoying, and they don't make sense.

-Romance by itself is not a plot. End of story.

-Annabeth keeps a lot of things to herself. This makes her hard to write, but not impossible. Be careful not to exaggerate her personality in any direction. I could go on about the other characters, but I often find that Annabeth is the most miswritten.

-No one is "calm, but sometimes random and crazy. A nice person but if you hurt her/his friends, watch your back!" That's barely a personality, anyway. Also, it is not healthy to be five-seven and weigh 102 lbs.

-Characters are real people, so treat them that way. They just happen to live in a different universe than you.

-Never have a gay character whose only personality trait is "gay."

-People who live in Manhattan do not live in houses. Research your setting.

-Make sure your story has more story than music lyrics.

-People die. So do characters.

-Every world has to have some sort of logic to it, even if it's completely made up. For example, dead guys cannot get live girls pregnant, no matter what.

-Greek mythology is over two thousand years old. It's not going to change just because your story requires it to, so don't force it to bend into whatever shape you want.

-Bad guys are people, too. They have emotions, and reasons behind what they're doing, whether it's for revenge, or simply because they really do believe that muggle-borns are inferior.

-It might seem a bit obvious, but avoid clichés like the plague!

I suppose I should put in a disclaimer, but there are really just too many copyrighted things I used to actually look up who owns each one. So, here's a list of everything I referenced, mentioned, or used that doesn't belong to me:

Percy Jackson, Twilight, Sonic the Hedgehog, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Nutella, Bomb the Music Industry! Luna, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, To Kill a Mocking Bird, My Sister's Keeper, The Gorillaz, Karma Police, The Mary-Sue Test, Lord of the Flies, Across the Universe, Cut/Copy, Shutter Island, Jersey Shore, Neverwhere, Oasis, Wikipedia, Emily Brontë, Greenday, The Ramones, Pink Floyd, Going Bovine, The Higher You Fly, Hollerado, Google, The Hunger Games, Porcupine Tree, Shakepeare, Microsoft, Bad Romance, Chapters, One Less Lonely Girl, Amélie, 150 Things I Can't do at Camp Half-Blood, Jenna Marbles, Star Wars, The Young Offenders, Dollarama, Catch 22, Beck, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Titanic, MTV, Hermes, Twelve Monkeys, Sherlock, The Tale of Despereaux, Army of Darkness, Pirates of the Caribbean, Wussy, Buck 65, Torchwood, Community.

And anything you have seen in this guide that isn't on that list belongs to me, so please do not take my ideas or writing.

Since starting the journey of writing a guide about writing a fanfiction, I have gone through so many fanfictions, I lost count. That's right, I braved the depths of stories with names like "TRuTh oR DaAre!11!" and "Percabeth Foreverz" for you people. So you'd better appreciate it. I guess I've learned quite a bit, not to mention that this is the longest piece of writing I've ever completed.

It's been several months since I started this guide. I've changed in some ways. For example, I discovered the TV show Torchwood, which had me close to tears. I've also lost a significant item that had been with me my whole life. But, in the end, I'm still obsessed with Doctor Who and hedgehogs, I still hula hoop dance, and I still have not managed to convince myself that visiting the Harry Potter domain of fanfiction is a good idea.

And now as I bid you good bye, I would like to say that it has been an honour to write this and to have it read by you wonderful people. This is most likely my last piece of work on , so if you read anything else by me, it will hopefully be published, and under my real name, Anna. So, go out there, write a lot, and break all the rules. Watch the TV show Community, and write proper letters on proper paper. Carry around muffins so that when you say, "aww, muffin," to somebody, you can actually hand them a muffin. Now, visit Australia, travel through Europe, listen to Buck 65, and remember that everything has its time, and everything dies.

Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog.