(image from memegenerator.net)
Yes! Today I want to talk about clichés. Cliches get a lot of bad press, from just about, everyone. However, people who are just readers and watchers generally like clichés. If the concept weren’t good, it wouldn’t be a cliché, right?
The reason I’m talking about clichés today is because of the book I am reading. The book is an adult fantasy story, and sadly, I’m inclined to stop reading it. Next year, I plan to work on my first true adult story, so I decided to get a feel for what is selling in the market. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again, adult fiction bores me to tears. I think the only adult fiction I’ve liked is the Anita Blake series (barely), Game of Thrones, and Outlander (borderline).
Other than that, I don’t like many adult books. For some reason, I don’t feel adult fiction has a real sense of adventure. It’s more structured.
Anyway, back to clichés. I know most bloggers list out the different clichés, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to mention how clichés can help us grow our readership.
So, how can clichés help us?
Well, one, it helps readers with expectations. If the story has certain elements of a cliché, then they know what kind of adventure they are in for.
For example, if at the beginning of the book, the main character is told, “I’ve been waiting for this moment to tell you the truth.” Well, then we know the character is about to embark on a quest or have some emotional turmoil from whatever changes are coming their way.
Could they be the chosen one? – Cliché!!
The book starts out with a female character at a party. She’s had a few drinks, but she doesn’t want to stay. As she walks out the door, a male character comes up behind her and says she shouldn’t walk home alone. Female character protests and says she’s fine. The male character insists he should go with her. As they are talking, her phone vibrates, and she comments that her boyfriend wants her to call him. The first male character we met grimaced at the mention of her boyfriend.
What have we learned about these characters?
- The main female character may like to be alone
- If the first male character we met isn’t related to her, we can assume he may be a love interest later
- The first male character doesn’t like the female character’s boyfriend
- Our hook is, “Why is the female character at a party without her boyfriend?” and “What is the relationship between her and the first guy we saw?”
What cliché could this be? Love triangle!! If the main female character mentions how protective or good looking the first guy is, then yeah, we got a love triangle.
Both of these examples show how clichés can guide readers. While yes, I agree you shouldn’t fill your stories with clichés after clichés (Wattpad stories), but put your own spin on them.
Clichés are like word usage, only use them when necessary. What are your thoughts on clichés? Do you use them in your stories?
That’s all for this weekend! Thanks for reading!