A cliché or cliche is an expression or idea that has been overused to the point where it lost its original meaning. Cliches detract from your stories and articles because of lack of originality.
However, cliches are not meant to be mistaken for tropes, or writing conventions that we find everywhere. It is impossible to write a story that has no tropes. Think of it as trying to write about nonexistence itself, but writing about that is a trope itself resulting in a paradox.
A story can share the same tropes as another, yet be completely different because of the way it is told. For example, Star Wars or Star Trek share a lot of similarities. Both are space operas involving many factions of aliens, but the two are completely different because of how the perspectives of the characters are portrayed.
What makes a story highly acclaimed is how well the story is told over what tropes are used; the story should not be seen as a stale imitation of something else.
Writing conventions to never use
Do not engage in any of the following. These are either entirely unoriginal or are against the wiki's rules.
- Imitating other creations - For obvious reasons, do not make carbon copies or rip-offs of other user creations. There's a fine line between inspiration and imitation.
- Preaching - Not only does the wiki maintain a policy of neutrality, but preaching detracts from the narrative. It is also likely to receive negative reception from those who hold an opposite viewpoint.
- Mary Sues - Mary Sues are characters that are too perfect to exist. In a nutshell, a Mary Sue is usually a fantasized version of yourself doing great things. See the character development guide for more information.
- Mary Sue utopias - Utopian/dystopian civilizations are allowed to some extent if done realistically and within the audience's willing suspension of disbelief. What is not allowed is the creation of a utopia with the intent of expressing how your creation is superior to everyone else's. This can come across as extremely provocative.
Worn out tropes
These conventions when initially used by shows such as Star Trek became extremely influential and inspiring. Unfortunately, generations of imitators have made it difficult to make something new out of the following.
- Saying your species influenced a real world culture on Earth - Not only can this become extremely improbable if your civilization is far away from Earth, this comes across as a cheap way to say that your species has a rich culture. The bottom line is that Earth is not the only location in the galaxy that is considered interesting.
- Human aliens - Human aliens are species which look exactly like humans. This trope mainly appeared due to budget limitations from television shows, but the realm of writing has no such constraint. While convergent evolution has strong scientific evidence (i.e birds and bats both evolving wings), the chances of two separate alien races evolving to look exactly like each other is astronomically impossible. Even humans on Earth look different from one another depending on what region they are from.
- Sapient species which all share the same personality and ideas - Having a Planet of Hats quite simply put is boring. If you try to write multiple characters native to said species, then it leaves little room for development. One way to create something original out of this idea is if the civilization's government deliberately alters the minds of their citizens.
- Pure good versus pure evil - This premise does not match the dark tone of Galactic Crucibles. We encourage more development into the grey areas and truly explore the nature of your characters or civilizations.
These cliches are generally hard to make something new out of, but are still usable by experienced writers.
- Earth animal aliens - As per Human aliens, convergent evolution does not result in two completely different species from different planets looking exactly alike. Alien life can look like virtually anything, except for being identical to that on another isolated planet.
- Chosen Ones - While it is alright to have characters who have a destiny of sorts, you should do more than just say, "this character is the chosen one because X says so".
Godmodding is the act of changing your civilization to be better than everyone else's. The definition of "overpowered" is relative, as it depends on the rest of the civilizations nearby. Willing suspension of disbelief is a good way to measure whether a creation is godmodding or not.
- One Man Armies - The tech levels have to be drastically different for this to be believable.
- Civilizations that control entire galaxies or larger - For the time being, it is much easier to manage smaller civilizations. However, giant civilizations that existed in the past are welcome additions to serve as historical information.
- Pacifist civilizations that have a strong military - Essentially, this is the "peaceful, yet powerful" civilization. If a species is supposed to be pacifist in nature, they likely wouldn't have the best military in the galaxy. A highly militarized civilization would have obviously spent more time bettering their fighting force, while a pacifist civilization would spend more time developing culture.
- Unlimited energy sources with no drawbacks - Even post-scarcity economies aren't unlimited. Using powerful energy sources carelessly can lead to plot holes.
Violations of willing suspension of disbelief
These are out of place in Galactic Crucible's setting.
- Species evolving beyond the need for sustenance - All living creatures need sustenance. Otherwise, it wouldn't be alive in the first place.
- Implausible biochemistries - In modern science, biochemistry is still highly debated, but alternate biochemistry is a staple of science fiction. While we do allow some plausible biochemistry types, keep in mind that carbon-based life is the most common type in the universe.
- Single ecosystem planets - This cliche only applies to garden worlds. Single biome planets do exist, but even those planets have a great variety of ecosystems. A swamp planet, for example, is likely to have multiple continents and different forms of life depending on ocean depth. A desert planet may have only microbes on the surface, but a thriving ecosystem underground.
- Planet-wide cities - Unless these were built before the advent of interstellar travel, planet-wide cities are unnecessary and inefficient. Why cram everyone on one planet when you can spread out to others?
- "better than most species/the best of all species" - Don't use superlatives as it undermines other creations.
- "compared to humans" - Describe your species for what it is. Try not to use humans as a comparison when describing your species.
- "similar to that thing from that sci-fi show" - All articles are supposed to be written in an in-universe style. If it doesn't exist within the GC universe, then it shouldn't be used in an article.
- "a race of X" - If your species is developed enough, it should not be able to be summarized with a single word.