Top 10 Fantasy Cliches you can probably do without

10. Orphan boy who leaves home to travel and become a man – Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Eragon, etc..

Solution: Think of a less cliche way to begin a story. Have him or her anywhere else in the world, EXCEPT home.

9. Wizard kidnaps hero from home to go on adventure – Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Allanon, etc…

Solution: See number 10.

8. Home gets attacked forcing the hero to leave – Harry Potter, Eragon, Richard Cypher,  etc.

Solution: See number 10.

7. Parent(s) are killed by bad guy – Voldemort, Darken Rahl,  etc

Solution: Kill them some other way or don’t kill them at all. Also, see number 10.

6. Family Heirloom – Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, Vin, etc.

Solution: Either make the magic very unique or keep the value purely sentimental. If it’s a magical #2 that’s been passed down for generations, chance are me, and many people like me aren’t going to find it the least bit interesting.

5. Beautiful Princess – Pretty much every Disney Princess with a few exceptions, Leia, Fiona, Elayne, 

Solution: Don’t make her a Princess. Make her a queen, a governess, a teacher, a witch (although beautiful witches are slowly becoming a cliche) a hooker or any other title. Just not a princess.

4. The Wise Old Man Wizard – See number 10.

Solution: Take out the words ‘old’ or ‘man’ or both and replace it with something (ANYTHING) else.

3. Massive army of faceless, easy to clone, monsters – Orcs, Zombies, Trollocs, Goblins, Demons, Trolls, Ogres, Vampires, etc.

Solution: Don’t use anything I used above and anything else that has been done before. Make up your own with a different look, culture, body mechanics and so on, like Brandon Sanderson’s Koloss in the Mistborn series.

2. The magic sword or magic object that can do anything – Excalibur, the Sword of Shannara, the Sword of Truth, The Sword of Godric Griffindor, Narsil, etc)

Solution: Use anything else except a sword or don’t use it at all. Or make the object cursed or unique in some way. Just not a sword.

1. Bad guy wears all black or all white

Solution: Don’t use black or white, or don’t focus on colors at all.


See you next week and thanks for reading.


About berleykerr

A Steampunk Author from Los Angeles.
This entry was posted in My Writing Process and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Top 10 Fantasy Cliches you can probably do without

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