Worn-out Themes


Some themes, in my opinion, have been completely worn out. They have been used so much lately that reading/watching them has lost its original thrill for me. Here they are:

  1. The Cinderella story – Rags to riches is everyone’s dream, but this one has had too much screen time lately. From maids turning millionaire to Slum dog millionaires, this one needs a time out.
  2. Vampires – I think we can agree that every level of evil from pure good vegetarian vampires to horrible soulless monsters is explored. Every variation on the “original” myth has been explored. The erotic nature of sucking blood from someone has been well-explored, as well as the horror of it. I challenge anyone to make something really new out of vampires. That said, I still like a good vampire story now and then. It isn’t the vampires that draw me in, though, but the characters and their story. 
  3. Variations on other, more obscure myths, made “fresh” – I’m betrayed the legend of the wildly successful self-published author here, but I think that we’ve played out all the monster myths. Sssh! Trolls re-thought seemed really dumb to me. Sorry Amanda! You’re my hero, but I didn’t like Trylles. Some things just can’t be re-cast. I couldn’t stop thinking, “Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum!” I haven’t seen any new ones that weren’t a little goofy.
  4. Retellings of fairy tales. Make up some new stuff, people. Really! “There is nothing new under the sun.” BUT you at least have to try. It’s especially excruciating when more than one blockbuster movie comes out at the same time with the same fairy tale. The movie may be awesome, but I’ve lost respect already.

Genres that are getting old, but not worn out.

  1. Apocalypse – This is a genre that is so popular now, but I think they are pretty close to exploring it all out. How many versions of fighting the aliens with a decimated population of rag-tag fighters can you make?
  2. The monster within – I’ve seen enough angst-ridden characters moping over how monstrous they are. This one still can interest me, but only if it is really new, fresh, and well done.

What themes do you think are worn out? Why? Am I wrong? What fabulous story have I missed that will change my opinion? You will be graded on a curve.

Some more links about themes:

http://www.write-brained.com/2011/01/over-used-themes-in-ya-part-i.html

http://www.wattpad.com/541937-a-guide-for-wattpad-writers-what-makes-a-story

http://www.ehow.com/how_2193512_avoid-clichs-fantasy-writing.html

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/when-writing-about-an-overused-supernatural-creature.html

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Categories: Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Worn-out Themes

  1. Sorry, Kate, but I love a good vampire story. I’ll never tire of them. One of my good friends has just had her dark vampire book published in the UK. It’s fantastic! And since I’m a writer of vampire lit, I hope it never goes out!

    • Don’t get me wrong. I get in the “vampire mood” and love a good vampire story too. It’s just that I think we’ve explored every new way of seeing them and can’t rely on that to carry a story anymore.

  2. I’m glad to report neither of my WIPs falls into these categories. Whether they’re good new ideas remains to be seen once I finish them. 😉

  3. I think the trick is to look beyond the ‘theme’ and hope that when we sit to read it’s just darn good writing. Characters that pull us in, plot that just won’t quit, etc.

    • Absolutely! Your book should always rely on good writing and not on a new plot idea. Those are great when you can find them, but new material is really hard to find these days.

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