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Running the Cliché Gauntlet
C M Rosens
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:09 PM
Joined: 5/8/2013
Posts: 25

Having looked at the "What's your least favourite fantasy cliché?" post and realising that I am guilty of a few, I was too ashamed and shy to post mine as it seemed a little hypocritical! ... But I also noticed that what some disliked and considered their least favourite cliché, others were quite fond of and actively sought out books with those elements in them. One person's epic fantasy is another person's, um, hideous abomination, I guess!

So what "clichés" do you think you may have fallen into? Is it a cliché or a trope? How can you subvert and twist clichés/tropes, and do you think this is a good or bad idea?

... I think I just started several discussions... But I'd love to know your thoughts!

Maya Starling
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 11:14 AM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

I think I picked up a cliche storywise, connecting to the maiden-dragon-knight fairy tale and the beauty and the beast one as well. But I did them with my own twist, and not as predictable.

I don't think cliches are necessarily bad, as long as the execution is good, new, fresh, giving us a different perspective.

I don't like the repeated cliches, which you can predict and that makes them boring.

We need to get more creative and I think a lot of creativity can be found in twisting the cliches (just because so many have been done before, it's hard to be unique about it)
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:32 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 14

I agree!

I am not anti-cliché. I think people muddle fundamental human truths/behaviors with the term cliché wen talking about writing.

I don't think a girl meets boy, or knight saves princess, or first day of high school is bad (yes, it's cliché) but it's the way that the story is written that is good or bad.

I had a recent reviewer who called most of story lines cliché (because most of them are) but he didn't mean it in a negative way at all. The things he said were actually quite flattering.
C M Rosens
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:10 PM
Joined: 5/8/2013
Posts: 25

That's the kind of cliché I like - - the ones that are handled well and form a solid storyline. Those are the good 'uns.

Ben Nemec
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 9:47 PM
Joined: 1/21/2013
Posts: 47

To me, the perfect example for this question is the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher.  I you read some background on the series, you will discover that it was written on what amounted to a dare from another writer.  Butcher claimed that a good author could write a good book about not just one, but two tired and overused plot elements.  The ones chosen for these books (by the other person, no less) were a lost Roman legion and Pokemon.

And they turned out fantastic.  There's a reason the series is on my short list of favorites in my profile here.

So I guess my answer would be: Ideas, unique or otherwise, are a dime a dozen.  It's the execution of those ideas that matters.

(FWIW, I've heard essentially the same thing about Hollywood.  Everyone there has an idea for the next blockbuster, but almost none are able to actually follow through.)


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