What is original? What is cliche? What is a trope?

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Cliche - overused phrase or opinion, stereotype

Trope - a common or overused theme

"Cliche" sounds like it's a bad thing. "Trope" seems to accept that this is how it is.

MANY THEMES ARE COMMON OR OVERUSED, because they are popular. Does that make a story cliche, or a smart use of a popular trope? Depends on the writer's skill, and the reader's interpretation.

Romance tropes are well-studied and well-documented. Can you spot them in Wattpad stories?


The myth of Pygmalion is about a sculptor who fell in love with the statue he carved. It was cited as the inspiration for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (about a man who creates a living being), the movie musical My Fair Lady (1964, about a man who makes a woman "presentable" for English society), and She's All That (1999, guy makes over nerdy girl, falls in love with her). Is your story original,  cliche or a smart use of a trope?

ALL GIRLS WANT BAD BOYS TROPE (from tvtropes.org http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AllGirlsWantBadBoys)

Girl wants the guy who is "bad" - because all he needs is to be cared for? Loved? Masakit siya magsalita pero softie talaga siya if you get to know him? Does she end up with him against the sensible opinion of her friends, family? Does she reform him, or does the relationship end in tragedy, thus proving her friends and family right? You can see this used in WAR AND PEACE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?

ARRANGED MARRIAGE TROPE (tvtropes.org http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArrangedMarriage)

If you read historical novels, nakabasa ka na nito. Arranged marriages date back to the earliest romance stories too. Nobles, monarchies, any place with a king or ruler, would have an arranged marriage trope tale. Modern stories have translated this to arranged marriaged with powerful families, rich landowners, rich businessmen. Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?


Carrying on an attraction or flirtation with a "family member" who might not actually be a family member because they only grew up together and are not actually related. Also seen in MANSFIELD PARK, LES LIAISONS DANGEROUS, CLUELESS, CRUEL INTENTIONS. Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?

THE BET (tvtropes.org)

Plot is moved along by the premise that someone will do something because of a wager that he/she cannot lose. Also seen in AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, OCEANS 12, SEINFELD, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?


Falling in love with someone you've known since you were a kid. Had to overcome the feeling of "brother and sister." Also seen in LITTLE WOMEN, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?


Unexpected change in plot that is based on characters doing something that readers aren't aware of, until the results are there. There's a list of twists on the TV Tropes site. Does this make a story original, just because it is full of twists? Or is it cliche in that it overuses the twist? Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?


Is one of the love interests a famous actor/actress? Is the other a regular person? Do they meet in a bookstore? Does one of them love books? Does the celebrity hide in the regular person's world and like it there - so much that she/he chooses to stay there? Is the celebrity's world not as glamorous after all? Is your story original, cliche, or a smart use of a trope?

At marami pa. Bisitahin ang tvtropes.org, nakalista doon ang sobrang daming trope at kung saan sila ginamit.


May mga writer na hindi mahilig magbasa ng romance genre kasi baka maapektuhan ang sarili nilang kwento. Sa totoo lang, kung mahilig kang magbasa, di lang romance, makikita mo na may mga theme na lagi talagang lumalabas throughout time.

Kung masyadong kang mag-focus sa pagiging "original", baka madismaya ka dahil parang lahat na ng kwento nagawa na. (And yes, if you do enough research, you will think this.)

Kung masyado kang mapuna sa cliche, o umiiwas sa cliche, baka may magandang kwento kang hindi mabasa dahil lang iniwasan mo siya because "cliche" siya. Ano, cliche ba si JANE AUSTEN? Dahil lahat ng libro niya may katulad na ibang kwento ang plot?

Tulad ng sinabi ko sa ibang chapter at comments, nasa skill ng writer lahat. Nasa execution. At kung writer ka, malalaman mo based on reader reaction kung tama ang naging execution mo. Dahil kung di nila gets, baka kulang ka pa sa practice. But writing is not just inspiration, it's also learned. Keep writing and you'll get better.

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