Are my first few chapters too cliche?

I have a prologue (wondering if I should keep it or not, considering the fact people hate them most of the time)

And my first chapter, wondering if its too cliche for a first chapter

(I know certain stuff is supposed to be italicised in these chapters, ignore it)

Prologue

There I was, gasping for air, panting, wondering where I was. It all happened so quickly. Floating here felt like I floated in mid air.

No. Water.

I was in water.

I couldn’t move either. It was gloomy, cold … eerie. The feeling of a thousand daggers stabbed through my chest along with my wrists and ankles being shackled.

Why did they put me here? Did I do something wrong?

One moment I was eating in my room and the next, here I was.

I felt weak and … gone. Like I wasn’t there, just waking up from something. I ached and numbness consumed my limbs.

Water contained me.

Freezing water.

When I shifted, my legs barely moved. At least, I thought they did. They still felt like they weren’t there, but I knew they were.

My arms felt stiff, and my chest burned fiercely for some unknown reason. I also touched a cold surface beneath me, fully sunken in water.

The water stopped me from doing anything. But water was all I saw as this small capsule held me.

“LET ME OUT!” I screamed through my air breather, my throat scratching raw. I stopped short when water snuck its way in my mouth, causing me to almost choke.

I coughed, my throat burning due to inhaling water.

I tried the best I could to not drown, even though I was sure I was going to anyway. I moved my head to see properly, but water stained my eyes. Even though I couldn’t feel my head moving, I knew it was. My hair lashed my face to my movements which struck water in my eyes. So, I narrowed them to trickle the stinging water out, but it was no use.

Floating in the water, I tried to twist around to see my surroundings, but again, all I saw was water.

I squirmed uncomfortably, attempting to make sense of the situation. But my weak and limp body stopped me from doing anything more. Even when I started regaining strength, my body still felt like it was gone.

Numb.

The darkness surrounded me and my mind.

All I could see was a light through that darkness.

Wait, a light.

Instantaneously, the light got more vivid and pierced my eyes, shining through the glass. I groaned as a weird intrusive sound bled my ears, water bubbling after. Ringing sounded and soon, I felt deaf. I closed my eyes.

I felt like I knew nothing. Everything that just happened disappeared so instantly.

Back to the beginning.

Who am I? Where am I? What the hell is going on?

Before I could look at my surroundings, the shackles that bound me released me, and I instantly floated into the water. The mouthpiece came undone and instantly, I was already gasping for air.

I can’t breathe.

I CAN’T BREATHE!

“Ahh! Agh!” I screamed, kicking and banging my fist against the glass tube. I felt my dizziness consume me and my consciousness wear off as my breathing decreased, water holding inside of my throat and lungs.

It burned.

I groped the glass, feeling the cold, wet surface. I screamed and screamed, nothing but bubbles coming after. My eyesight got blurry and water stung everything. I felt my lungs giving out, my breathing getting harder, my confusion rising. All because I was in some strange glass tube with nothing but water surrounding me, almost causing me to drown.

Suddenly, I saw a blurry figure behind the glass, saying something to other behind it. I continued to kick and scream, yell and struggle.

With a few touches a keyboard clattering, the water instantly drained and when the water was low enough, I swam up and took a huge gulp of air. I breathed heavily, taking in the satisfactory. Then, the water drained all the way down to the bottom and I fell, my back against the glass tube.

I felt like a little boy, although I knew I wasn’t one.

With a whoosh, the glass before me opened and there I saw, a man, darkness loomed over, light surrounding his silhouette.

I sat there, staring at him with water drenched me, dripping from my hair and clothes.

“Who the hell are you? Where am I? What are you doing with me?” I blindly asked, voice cracking. My voice scared me as it was so deep, but meek at the same time. I still gasped for air, struggling to drain the water out of my system. When he approached closer, I saw an abundance of medals and pins and patches on his navy blue uniform.

What?

He shook his head, not saying anything. Then, two more people who wore military clothing approached me and reached inside the tube. The held me up, maintaining a firm grip on my arms. I squirmed, but they gripped me tighter. My fighting was no use as I was too hurt and stiff to try. We walked through an open door, me closing my eyes to the vivid light.

When it died down, my mind woke up. I realized I was in some sort of lab. We walked down a lasting white hallway, our footsteps echoing after each step. It smelled of bleach and chlorine which burned my nostrils. The guy with medals escorted us. People in camouflage suits the hallway, wielding guns.

They looked exactly like the men holding me.

Military.

I jumped when I heard a sound, a door closing from behind me.

Looking around, I saw walls made from glass. Behind them, people laid on tables with wires rising from their bodies, hooked to machines. One person I identified was a girl with black hair and comatose on a work table along with the others. I reduced my speed to look at her.

Why does she seem familiar to me?

One guy carrying me noticed I slowed down to look and jerked me to move forward. I looked down. The floor was extremely cold.

I felt faint.

Hurt.

I inclined my head, water still dripping from my hair. We approached the end of the hallway with what seemed like eternity and another guy awaited there, hands crossed behind his back. He wore a white coat and glasses. The guy escorting us walked up to him and said:

“Patient GZ-0018 has been wiped anew. Finalization complete, ready for-,” addressed the guy, delivering his response.

They all crossed their arms behind their backs except for the people clasping me. I didn’t hear him claim the rest as he said it very quietly.

Patient GZ-0018? What’s going on?

“Alright,” mentioned the guy that waited at the door. He nodded his head.

The man who escorted us nodded back and walked away, footsteps reverberating throughout the hallway. I just turned my head to look behind me, but I couldn’t as my neck ached in pain, stopping me from turning my head any further. The man at the door walked inside the room, nodding at the men holding before doing so. I looked around aimlessly.

Suddenly, they pulled me up and one of the men held my face. His grip hurt, but I did nothing. He turned my head and looked straight into my eyes. I looked around to his is awkward glare and actions. I tried to fight my wait out, but he wasn’t having it.

“Hold still!” he boomed, his voice sending shivers down my spine. I ignored him and continued to get out of his hold.

“Let me go!” I exclaimed.

“He’s a struggler. A fighter,” the other commented, staring at my face. I widened my eyes at his comment. Then, they looked at each other and nodded affirmatively.

Huh? What?

They pushed me into the room, and I fell hopelessly, still wet from that weird, dark room. They closed the door with a slam.

I looked around, unable to see anything but little lighting and white walls. When I was about to get up, I looked down to see my wrist, a weird design etched on it. It was a triangle with a half-line bottom and line through the middle of it, along with the numbers 0018 under it.

What the hell is this?

My thoughts stopped when I heard a sound from in front of me, something banging against metal.

“Up here,” a man called. I looked up to see the same man who stood at the door standing at the end of the room, back faced me. He lowered his hand from the metal wall. The cramp room made me feel small and claustrophobic. I panted while questions filled my head.

What’s going on? What are they doing with me? Who are they? Why do I not recall anyone here or me? What is this weird triangle?

The windows before me whirred opened, revealing a snowy forest-like atmosphere behind fuzzy glass.

“Ready to survive … Ethan?” I looked at him, then out the windows. I didn’t know why, but I was ready.

Chapter one

I opened my eyes, seeing the blue sky.

Where am I? How did I get here? Why am I on the ground?

I slowly got up, my knees shaking with the effort. I observed my surroundings; a snowy forest, filled with redwood and pine trees, an odd mix. I felt small compared to how tall the trees were. Lush grass, some dead and the rest green and bright, blanketed with snow. Ethereal echoing sounded in the distance and innocent animals ran around. I smelled maple and pine as well as the frosty air.

There’s was nothing else I felt like doing, so I started walking.

After the first step, the snow crunched under my feet, making me glance down. I looked up to see the radiant sun, a warm sensation suffusing my face, forcing me to screen my eyes. It felt pleasant, but I still didn’t know what was going on. A weird snowy forest appeared right in front of my eyes as soon as I awakened.

My foot instantly caught something, causing me to lose my balance. Peering down, I noticed I had tripped over a stick. No, not a stick. It was a long, thin staff with a hazardous blade at each end. It was something I could use as a weapon, something to defend myself. Although two blades for a staff was strange, I still considered it as a dangerous weapon.

As soon as I picked it up, the blades retracted out smoothly with the tilts I gave it.

What?

How am I supposed to fight with this?

I ignored it.

Birds chirped, trees swayed, a cold breeze shifted my hair. I shivered, using my hand to gently push the hair out of my eyes, the black leather from my gloves rubbing against my forehead.

I shivered, already feeling the snow that fell on top of me.

Looking around, I only saw flowering plants and the extensive forest ahead of me, still alive and covered with sparkling snow. Magnificent trees with fall coloured leaves circled around me. Most trees though had dead leaves or none at all.

The green grass scattered around, showing very little dirt and snow. Clouds scattered the luminous blue sky, sprinkling snow everywhere. Although most of the trees were dead, this breathtaking sight disturbed my thoughts, and I started wandering around.

I sighed, seeing the cold mist coming out of my mouth, “What? Am I dreaming?” I gently rubbed my eyes. I closed and opened them, only to see the same snowy forest before me. It seemed too genuine. I produced questions in which I attempted to answer.

What’s my name? Ethan, check. Gender? Boy, check. What the hell’s going on?

That was a question in which I didn’t know the answer to.

I got a hold of myself. I couldn’t freak out. I needed to assess this as an adult.

Wait, how old am I? I’m 17, okay, that’s good. I only understood a few things. I’m a 17-year-old boy named Ethan. That promised a start.

“What is this place?” I asked myself out loud. It was a forest full of snow. Stupid question. But where was this forest, that’s the question.

How did I get here? Why?

I started walking again for a while and came across a pond. Water, rippling and clear filled the massive pond, most of it surprisinlgy not frosted over. I walked closer towards it, noticing the pond had fish with scattered cattails around the sides.

Looking down and the edge of the clear water, I took notice of my pale face. I was Caucasian and possessed short raven hair with green eyes. Dirt streaked my face, and melting snow caked my rumpled clothing. I looked like a hunter. A winter hunter.

A hunter that hunted in the winter.

It seemed very peaceful, but I didn’t feel that way. The wind grew more aggressive as the leaves and trees rustled. The wind breezed cold air in my face, nearly making me freeze My senses heightened. I felt terrified as no one was nearby.

Then, I heard it.

Snow crunched, footsteps. My right. Left. Behind. I looked around to see who or what was there, but I didn’t have any luck. Just a blur, a line of black ran past the trees. As my only instinct, I ran. My breath started coming out in puffs, and I started breathing harder. My limbs felt numb and cold. I searched around, expecting anyone, anything.

Wait, my staff.

I just realized I forgot about it.

I can’t leave it there! It’s the only protection I have!

I skidded to a stop, snow flying everywhere. The sound came back, “Wh-who’s there?” I knew deep down, calling out would get me killed in pretty nasty ways. The sky grew dark, scaring me even more. Great. I sprinted towards my staff, running in the other direction.

I’m not dying … not today.

I sprinted while tripping over various roots and leaves that stuck out of the snow. Leaving everything behind me, I ran like nothing else mattered. I maneuvered past the trees and plants, tripping and stumbling over multiple things. Shuffling through the snow, it flung in my face.

I didn’t stop; I avoided whoever that thing was back there and ran towards my only protection. Running without it right now scared me as I didn’t know how to fight. Everything seemed to fade to black until…

Eventually, I ended up on the sight of where I woke up. Sighing in relief, I picked up the staff, gently brushing the dirt and snow from it. I panted, recovering my breath as I examined the forest, then looking back at my staff. A glint from the sun caught on the blades and I squinted.

The handle maintained a grip, fitting my fingers. I wrapped my fingers around it, looking at all sides. The splintered wood poked the tip of my fingers as my gloves covered the rest of my hand. Olive-green stripes ran along the black staff. Why did I have a staff? An unusual thing to wake up with. I then observed something on my wrist and moved my sleeve.

It was a triangle with odd lines. The numbers 0018 placed under it.

I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, looking at the suspicious design and numbers.

“Wha-.” Before I could say anything, the sound came back more distinct. I instantly shifted my head to uncover the source of it, forgetting all about the tattoo. The snow stained my hair, water dripping on my clothes. I ran in the opposite direction, breathing heavily.

I didn’t end up anywhere. I ended up in the place I started. Wait, did I? The forest seemed the same to me. No buildings, people, reason.

Wait, where’s my family, friends? I must have a family. I’m here right?

I dropped to the ground, cold tears filling my eyes. I veiled my face, shoving the leftover snow in my eyes.

“What the hell’s going on? Where am I?” Tears started to swell up, but I held them back. I placed my hands up to my face to catch the tears. Not crying yet. I can’t cry, shouldn’t cry. I got back up, standing my ground. I brushed myself off.

I’m not giving up, not today.

After walking for only a few minutes, my body neared the point of shutting down. Gathering a shuddered deep breath, I clenched my fists. I started getting weary, dizzy. Coldness surrounded me. I felt strange suddenly. My body felt weak so I stopped, almost toppling in the snow. I buried my face, trying to gain consciousness.

When I uncovered, it was extremely dark. What? Already? I breathed heavily. It seemed so surreal, no key reason, no people. I was having this mix of complex emotions in which I’ve never felt before. I gripped my staff.

The wind howled and raged. It caused me to almost lose my balance. Snow crunched. I whirled around to see where that sound was coming from. My breath was jagged. My fear rose. My peripheral vision close in on every little thing in sight. I shuffled, turned and moved my head. Everywhere, behind me. Behind me.

Behind me.

My heart beat faster and faster as I slowly turned around. Once I did…

I thought my heart stopped.

Is it too cliche?

Nah… I have made prologue too and there is nothing wrong with it…you are the writer, You aren’t here to please anyone, taking constructive criticism is different and pleasing someone is different, doesn’t matter people hate it or love it.

Prologue job is too hook the reader and shows that whatever you don’t be able to show in further chapters so if it’s doing that keep it.

So what if your chapter 1 is cliche if it is, and you don’t want it to change it…but there isn’t anything wrong with it being cliche.

2 Likes

but, is it cliche to you? thats my question XD

It’s not cliché,every story is unique in it’s own way, sure you have made it because certain things inspired you and it can’t be helped that people will find some other stories to defined it with. The cliché is the mean girls type and all the populars in high school, no offense to the writers of that genre, i love reading cliches too. but back to this, first two is intriguing really, don’t doubt your stories.

I don’t think it’s cliche. The word is used way too much to the point of being silly these days. If you worry too much about it you will never write your story and you may change up the first chapter doing editing anyway. I read the first chapter before going to the prologue and since your character has memory loss I think you can do without it. You can have him recall what occurred in the prologue in the next three chapters as he remembers things about his life while traveling through the forest. Your prologue is not long so it is very little to cover and you can include information about his ordinary life as well. For example you don’t even have to say that he is seventeen just yet. He can remember that in a flash back to being held captive or when he remembers home. I don’t have a problem with prologues either way however. Hope I could help.

3 Likes

A lot of your suggestions wont work since he doesnt have a home (but, he is an orphan and he gets a dream one night of being in an orphange, so yeah).

Ive been contemplating on the prologue, if i should keep it or not. He only remembers a few things in the beginning like his age, first name (remembers his last name later on) and his gender (duh) but thats it

That’s good to spread things out and keep readers wondering “who is this guy”. It sounds like you are off to a good start with your story. Someone might call it cliche. I’ve seen people throw the word at everything around here. It’s true many stories have been told over and over again but that does not stop us from loving our super heroes and talking animals finding their ways home. It’s the heart behind the tale and the love you as a writer put into your character that makes the story and it already seems like you are developing a good lead so I would say the story is going in the right direction.

1 Like