Is this concept cliché?

by Austin

Question: With all of the writing tips you have on this site I feel as though the "writing" part won't be too difficult, so I just want your opinion on the concept and to know of any changes you would make.


A man is basically experiencing Groundhog Day and living the same day over and over again, coincidentally on this day a Tsunami hits and he is the only survivor among his family and friends. His goal is to make sure everyone close to him survives and to find out how to end the cycle once his goal is complete.

I personally like it but I am concerned that it is cliché.

Answer: The concept seems cliched because there have been a few popular films in recent years based on the idea of someone reliving the same day over and over. I believe some TV shows have done episodes like that too.

Of course, many story ideas get reused over and over -- some going back thousands of years (love triangles, for example). There are a couple of reasons why you shouldn't worry too much about using established story premises.

First, remember that by the time you have written, revised, shopped a manuscript, sold it, gone through the publishing process, etc. several years at least will have gone by. Ideas that are hot now will become out of fashion and vice versa. For this reason, you should never follow trends. (It actually can be more useful to look for ideas that have fallen out of fashion that will seem new and different for today's generation.)

Second, write your version of the concept. Don't just do the "repeating day" the way others have done it. Find a take that is different and interesting to you. That way you have a chance at writing something that will appeal to fans of the concept, but not seem like a story they've read before.

For instance, lots of people wrote vampire books before Twilight came along, but no one had quite done it as a high school romance. No one made their vampires sparkle.

But above all, don't give up on a story idea that really appeals to you just because you're afraid it is a cliche. A great story is always a great story, and very few great stories are 100% original.

Every year thousands of romance novels, murder mysteries, etc. are published that share similar concepts.

So just write what you love, what interests you. If a story is really overly cliched, it won't interest you for very long either and you won't be able to write it. You'll move on to what interests you more.

Best of luck.

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