Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Clichés

Jenny Morris from Falling For Fiction interviewed me on Friday. It was my first blog interview, and I was impressed with the research Jenny did to prepare her questions.
So thank you, Jenny. It was a lot of fun.

Falling For Fiction
So back to clichés.

No, these aren’t the stupid little clichés that show up in your writing. These are the ones that appear in your plot or your characters. I just got hit in the head with mine. I’ve been learning so much these last six months, but I guess something I kinda ignored was the clichés, because I have two big ones in Frosty.

Clichés don’t bother me as a reader, but apparently, they are a big turn off to agents. So we as writers are NOT supposed to use them. Although some writers argue that almost everything is becoming cliché these days. But that is an argument for another day.

So what clichés did I use in FROSTY?

Corbin is hot. Rich. Captain of the basketball team.

Brooke is beautiful, a cheerleader dating the captain of the basketball team, and although she ISN’T a mean girl, she does a few not-so-nice things to her foster sister.

After I realized this, my question became, do I fix/change them?

With Corbin: no. He has one big thing going against him, that contradicts what you would expect out of a kid like that. So I left his. Besides, it’d make changing major parts of the story—which I didn’t want to do.

With Brooke: yes. I got rid of the cheerleader part because it wasn’t really an important detail for the story. Only took me 10 minutes delete all the cheerleader references. I had to adjust one minor scene, but it didn’t really affect things much.

But now that I know about this cliché issue, I’ll take a harder look at my other manuscripts and make sure I don’t fall in the same trap. I want my characters to be original, so why not switch things up a bit.

Do you worry about clichés in your story?
Do they bother you as a reader? If so, which do you hate the worst?

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6 Responses to “Clichés”

  1. Rachel Schieffelbein Says:

    Some bug me and some don’t. I’m sick of love triangles, but it doesn’t bother me if they are done well. Cheerleader mean girls don’t bother me, but they would if I had been a cheerleader!
    The ‘hot’ male lead doesn’t bother me either. I’d be fine with a not-so-hot lead, but I’m sorry, most people want to read about hot guys. Especially teenage girls. ;)

  2. Morgan Shamy Says:

    Such a great thing to be aware of… the metaphor cliches are the ones that bug me… but so do story line ones… gah. I guess I’m a cliche snob! LOL ;)

  3. Emily R. King Says:

    My first three books were full of cliches. But once I started focusing on the characters AND THEN the plot, my characters were fleshed out and became more realistic.

  4. Dana Says:

    I agree with Emily. If I work on my characters first, I tend to have fewer problems with cliches.

  5. PK Hrezo Says:

    Hi Suzi

    You know there’s a reason characters are cliche, cuz peeps tend to be that way too. But I admit, quirky out of the box characters are more interesting. I think sometimes agents read SO much they just get tired of everything.

  6. Theresa Says:

    Well we both know I’m in the same boat as you. lol. My football player is no longer a football player and now I’m trying to turn the mean cheerleader into something else. Just haven’t figured out what.

    I agree with PK on this. Cliches reflect people. You can’t exactly avoid them. I think you just have to give them a good spin. I do feel like everything is becoming cliche, but maybe that’s because we writer’s haven’t thought that far out of the box yet.

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