avoiding cliche (1 Viewer)

jazzythezoo

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hey guys,

ok so for my short story im writing about incest...yeah sick i know, but with the few books i have found to help me with my research, im finding my ideas seem to be fairly familliar. is there anything i can do to avoid making it sound like just another story without changing my idea too much? should i just do something completely crazy and make it humourous? or set it in a time and place completely irrelevant to anything?

any advice would be appreciated...losing inspiration!!

jaz
 

Blue Suede

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you should be getting your inspiration from your research. research is what essentially fuels your ideas, and also works as a means of justifying them when it comes to your report/reflection statement.
 

alex.leon

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hey guys,

ok so for my short story im writing about incest...yeah sick i know, but with the few books i have found to help me with my research, im finding my ideas seem to be fairly familliar. is there anything i can do to avoid making it sound like just another story without changing my idea too much? should i just do something completely crazy and make it humourous? or set it in a time and place completely irrelevant to anything?

any advice would be appreciated...losing inspiration!!

jaz
Incest? Really?

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but try and take into account the average age and gender of a BOS marker (mid-aged female). Not sure incest would go down that well, especially in explicit terms. I'm not sure it would be an appropriate 'theme' or centrepiece to your work. Seems a bit...yeah.

It's now rolling into March, you have time to completely change your idea if you really want. Just don't mill around too long- research research research. Get onto it.
 

Deer

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Yes, I'd definitely be wary, but as alex.leon stated, changing your idea now will have to accompany twice or three times the amount of research in a very concentrated amount of time, to catch up with where everyone else is. You could do it but it would take a lot of dedication on your behalf.

Otherwise..... well...... What are you thinking, exactly, as your concept? WHY have you chosen the topic of incest, what do you want to communicate to your audience?

Definitely do not make it humorous!! I don't think it will go down well with the audience. A topic like this needs to be handled sensitively.
Maybe, just some ideas... Perhaps you could initially establish their love as beautiful, natural, blah blah etc, just a 'normal' intense love and understanding. Really make your audience empathise with the characters, throw in a complication which further draws your audience in and makes the audience want to see the couple stay together. Stress perhaps the significance of shared thoughts/mannerisms/interests, look into the idea of inheritance (ok, may be going off into a tangent), but I mean, look at what draws people together, and what repels them. The basics of what makes a good relationship. Lame, but with the incest thing, becomes more complex.

Then perhaps add the twist that they are brother and sister, (or whatever relation), after tying up subtle references that you've dropped throughout the text (Checkov's gun technique).

Which will make your audience question their beliefs: They were originally engaged with the characters, invested in their happiness, why should the fact that they're related even matter, if it's 'true wuv'? Is that what you're trying to show? Perhaps the characters do not even KNOW they're related? Perhaps only the audience finds out they're related, if you're doing some sort of post modern style. You could even do this through simple 3rd person. Perhaps the characters themselves would be opposed to it if they knew, but they don't, so is it a problem? Etc etc?

Just some thoughts that you can discard or not.
I suppose this is the definition of cliche in this topic, but I don't know what else you could plan to do with it? Unless the cliche is simply that incest is wrong/perverted, but if that's your aim, I don't see why you should be basing your major work around it, as that is the generally accepted belief about it, and you're not really challenging anything, simply affirming what society already thinks....

Let us know more about your idea. Don't get discouraged, although I may sound discouraging, I think it has potential, you just have to be careful.
 
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jazzythezoo

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i understand exactly where you guys are coming from, the thing is this was my initial idea because ive always had an urge to explore incestual abuse and i thought this might be a good opportunity to do so. then i was told by a few that its too cliche and i know nothing about it (teachers are always encouraging me to write what i know), well thats where they are slightly wrong. i wouldnt say this story is too familiar, but i had been in situations where friends i felt were like family pushed the boundaries and i was too young to know otherwise. but thats a WHOLE other story, however a BIG reason why i wanted to do it, because in one way...i kinda do know what im writing.

my story was actually going to be about a past sexual incident a 10 year old brother had with his 4 year old sister, and when the father found out, he decided to isolate the family so no one was able to find out and he could save his and his families reputation (mother is dead btw). father ends up dying, and brother tries to cut off connection with society and pretends to be severely socially inept, requiring constant close care from his younger sister, who hppens to adore her brother to bits. she isnt aware of her past but suffers from the typical long term effects of an abused victim, yet she doesnt quite know what to make of it (for example her random promiscious sexual urges which she feels she cannot fulfil because she finds it hard to be intimate with men, and has very little contact with them anyhow). a love interest enters the story who displays a father figure persona which instantly attracts the young girl, now in her late teens to early 20s, and decides to let him into her and her brothers life, something her brother and father feared as anyone may discover his forbidden past. the love interest starts to take notice of the brothers strange behaviour and eventually puts the pieces together when brother and sister are forced to move to original house where abuse took place (because brother felt the man was begining to threaten his concealment) and sister recieves strange yet familiar flashbacks and contacts man to vent her emotions.

im not sure about the ending, but i have a theme of possession and desire throughout the story. for example, the father had a passion for making time pieces, it was his desire to keep and control time, and he even tried doing so beyond his death. the brother has an extensive gun collection which he treasures dearly, and does not allow anyone to touch, he describes guns as a desire only he can control and use at his leisure. the idea im going with is the girls sexuality and innoncence had been ripped away from her, when really its something she should only be in control of and her brother took that away from her at her weakest and most vulnerable - so i thought perhaps love interest should shoot him with one of his guns, so as to kill him with what he thought only he truley felt he owned, much like the young girls body/innocence.

i guess the main idea im going with isnt incest itself, its more about the betrayal of trust between family, people whom you should never have to question their intentions. also the idea of loving and adoring and being blinded towards someone who actually destroyed your life, whether you know it or not.

maybe i should go back to my other ideas :( ... somebody please help!
 

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Your exploring other topics through a controversial idea. I've actually been a big fan of this techique for a while now. Furthur more, it can work rather efffectively. it's all about how you emphasise the other themes, and how you write about them.

A text I'd recommend is you take a look at is the film Grimm Love. It explores love, passion, abuse, psychosis; all through the guise of cannibalism. The horror genre, deliberate exploitation films, and transgressive cinema are all areas you should look into, at the very least, wiki the terms.
 

jazzythezoo

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yes thats exactly what im kind of going for, im trying to you abuse as a tool to venture into other ideas connecting to relationships, love, affection and mainly trust.

making a bit of sense now?
 

Deer

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AH no, I interpreted it the wrong way, your idea sounds fantastic!!

At the moment, the only thing I can see is that your plot is very elaborate, so you'll be working hard to literally progress through it all. Just make sure you balance the movement of the narrative with thoughts and philosophical stuff too. I mean obviously that will come through in the actual contents of the story, but yeah. If you know what I mean. You could probably write a novel our of your idea, 8000 words is not much!
 

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Jazzythezoo... Did you go to the national art school? :?
 

jazzythezoo

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*feeling muuuuchhhh better now*

:), umm national art school? no, but by the sound of it i wish i did :p

why do you ask?
 

Deer

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Oh, just wondering, as went to a course there for preliminary, and met a girl called Jaz, who was also doing exII english... And I checked your subjects and you said you were doing visual arts too, so I thought perhaps you were her. Obviously not! Just ignore me xD
 

jazzythezoo

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wow! that is certainly a coincidence, ur doing visual arts, slightly off topic, but id love to know what you're doing for your major?
 

Deer

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wow! that is certainly a coincidence, ur doing visual arts, slightly off topic, but id love to know what you're doing for your major?
I'm doing a large/long painting, using a combination of acrylics, watercolours and pencil to create a series of portraits of my nana and other elderly people in her dementia ward. The centre portrait is of nana; surreal, as she has three sides to her face representing confusion, grief and humour, the different emotional reactions to incurable memory loss and disorientation. Then there is disintegrating portraits of other elderly people using watercolour and monotone pencil, and my nanas hands sort of attempting to pull them out from the clouds, which obscure their faces.
Sorta.
Basically.
Haha.

So yes, it's about dementia.

*edit; what are YOU doing? : D
 

jazzythezoo

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omg that is fantastic! i wish my family could inspire me liek that...i love the pulling from the clouds idea, seriously great stuff! art express material for sure in my opinion!!

well my work is based on obsession. im communicating societies obsessions through my own; shoes!

so im using six shoes and designing over them to respresent six major obsessions belonging to society; sex, drugs, money, celebrity or hollywood, war, and physical appearance.

each shoe will be elevated in a show box, and the box will be filled with other related items.

its not fantastic but its something, and im interested in becoming a shoe designer so im hoping this will help kick start some serious skills!
 

alex.leon

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AH no, I interpreted it the wrong way, your idea sounds fantastic!!

At the moment, the only thing I can see is that your plot is very elaborate, so you'll be working hard to literally progress through it all. Just make sure you balance the movement of the narrative with thoughts and philosophical stuff too. I mean obviously that will come through in the actual contents of the story, but yeah. If you know what I mean. You could probably write a novel our of your idea, 8000 words is not much!
Yeah, sounds more like a novel or an epic- how are you going to fit this into the alotted word amount?

Sadly, I'm still not convinced. I understand if you want to write about something you feel strongly about or feel like you truly understand- there's nothing stopping you. It's true what teachers say about familiarity being your best friend in creative writing, your natural affinity to a certain thing definitely easens the beginning of the writing process.

The reason I'm not quite convinced is that the plot is very...it's very stock standard, or at least you make it sound that way. I understand the twist is the incest etc, but everything else...I dunno, I'm just not of the opinion that drama is a good genre for Extension 2.

I think understanding the context of your submission is just as important if not more than the story itself. I've already been through this process, and I would say that it can make a big difference in marks. The difference between the HSC context and the 'real life professional author' context, is that an author writes for the public- for an audience he or she doesn't know. You, in the HSC, have the advantage of knowing generally the expectations of your markers- I mean, they have a marking scheme- BOS makes it easy for you!

Just reconsider, or think about tying in another idea WITH the incest thing. If you can play off the incest idea with a convention that already exists (I'm thinking- philosophy, religion, ideas/works of another author, big world ideas, -isms, periods of time, eras) then at least it has that security of certainty and logic behind it.

I'm saying this to help. It should in no way discourage you- but try to think how you can change what you have. You've still plenty of time.
 

jazzythezoo

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well, yesterday was my viva voce, and my teacher was looking throuhg my journal and came across another idea i had in the past about a relationship with a guy 4 years older than me, and she fell inlove with the story and is trying to push it more that way.

i pretty much have the story, its based on a george michael album and each song represents a chapter in the relationship. it was kinda jst a rough idea i didnt expect would go anywhere but she read it and convinced me it was the best way to go in regards to time, as i have the whole story i just need to heavily edit, and originality, as it is about the older guy being the naive one and the younger girl being the more experienced when it comes to the relationship and the whole exploration of love and what it really means.

so...i guess thats where im going?

it still looks into the idea of trust relationships and love...i dont know, ill see how i go.

thanks for the help though, really! :)
 

RedCrimsonFlame

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Lolita + Oedipus Rex = Good times.

Watch and read both (not so much watch Oedipus as read it). Lolita is focused from the angle of a paedophilic(?) step-father, both in the film and novel. And Oedipus is basically the GOD of incest stories, if you haven't already heard of it, which I expect you have.

Also, research on Freud if you haven't already.

I would also read up on Josef Fritzl...

and any Harlequin Books that have come out from Tasmania.
 

jazzythezoo

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read and watched lolita...great stuff in my opinion and read up on oedipus and did a small amount of reading on frued last year for advanced, another reason why i thought it was a good idea to write about it seeing as ive already did quite a bit of reading on it.
 

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