Books · Characters

5 things that should be in a story

We have a lot of cliches in our fiction- the Chosen One who saves the world, the mentor figure who dies, etc.- so many, in fact, that one can hardly find a story without them nowadays.

And while those are not necessarily bad things, and can even still be used in stories, I’ve noticed a lot of things that seem to be missing from fiction. So, today let’s go over five of them.

So cliched…

A princess who does what is expected of her and agrees to her arranged marriage

I think it’s safe to say that we’re all pretty tired of the stereotypical princess who goes against the expectations of everyone around her and doesn’t marry a foreign prince, even though it could really help her kingdom politically. Maybe she loves someone else (probably an idiot peasant, or something like that), or she doesn’t love this prince, whatever. She just won’t do it.

But the truth is that for hundreds of years almost every royal marriage was arranged, and some often are even today. And real princesses had (and still have) to put up with it, no matter how many idiot peasants they loved. It was (and is) a normal thing, so wouldn’t it make sense to have a lot more fictional princesses just agree to their arranged marriages and stop whining about them? Especially when it might save their kingdoms?

A hero who fails so badly that he ruins everything

Wouldn’t if have been awesome if Neville had to defeat Voldemort instead?

We’ve all seen the hero- or Chosen One, since that seems to be popular now- win the battle he was born for, and save the entire world. But really, how many times does it happen in real life that the first time someone tries to fight off the equivalent of a Dark Lord, he succeeds? It’s rather ridiculous to assume that, just because someone is the Chosen One and there’s a prophecy or something about them, they can defeat a much older and smarter person the first time they try to.

What if the hero should fail, as happens a lot of the time in this world? Maybe he would die? That seems quite common in real life. And then someone else would take his place, and fight the battle to the end, right? Now that would be realistic, and probably more inspiring.

A mentor who doesn’t die

Please, just once, would someone leave the mentor figure alive? I know, it’s a very nice way to encourage your protagonist to take responsibility for his quest or whatever. But it’s been used so many times that it’s basically a given that the mentor will die. Can’t you think of some other way to push your protagonist along?

An older sibling who’s jealous of the younger

Everyone seems to love to make the younger brother jealous of the older. And that’s normal- younger sibling generally do feel a need to live up to their older sibling’s standard. But it’s almost as common to see an older brother who’s jealous of his younger sibling. So could we see a little more of that in fiction?

Remember this sibling pair?

A love triangle that actually fits into the story

No explanation necessary. You know what I mean.

So there are 5 things that I believe should be more common in our fiction today. Now go, writers, and use those ideas in your stories, if you can.

What things would you like to see in stories?


6 thoughts on “5 things that should be in a story

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