Don’t be Afraid of Cliches

(Did you play the game yet? Let’s Play a Game! Win a free ecopy.)

So many writers feel as if they walk a thin line. As if they can’t write what’s been done, but it also feels like everything has been done.

That fear may have some foundation. But honestly… How many books can be brought down to boy meets girl; boy falls in love; they live happily ever after? Or to boy meets terrifying monster; boy improves self; boy defeats monster?

Cliches, tropes, expected endings, formulas, etc.

Why are you afraid of using them?

Why is it people complain about them?

Readers love them.

What is Shrek besides satire of every thing that a fairy tale deals with? It tries to hit as many cliches as possible. I know it does so with humor and that sounds daunting too.

But guess what your brain automatically creates?

A rift. A point of difference. Somehow this story you are creating isn’t the same as another.

How? What about this makes it different from the rest like it? Your style. Your viewpoint. Your thoughts. Your ideas. You make it different.

–Now there are authors out there that lean on fanfiction or have copy/pasted another’s work. I’m not talking about them. That’s a line you don’t cross.–

So, excluding when you use direct resources of an author, everything is open.

Make a reboot or rehash the same idea as your friend.

Try it!
Write a short plot prompt for you and a group of friends to do. Does anyone have the same story? They may have a similar formula, but they’re different. Because you are all different writers.

Rehashing will be easier than creating new.

People like cliches and formulas. They know what to expect. Aren’t you the type to chose the same restaurant every time? Or go to the same super market? Or buy the same food stuff every week? You have favorites. Reading is no different.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t try to avoid them.

There is a reason we call them cliches. They wouldn’t end up so common if people weren’t reading them so much.

If your work has them, don’t try to remove them. Let them sing. Play into it. Make a joke about it.

The real problem is when you try to force them in. That’s what you should be afraid of. Don’t force a cliche. If it happens, great. Let the story tell the tale. Let the characters decide their future. A force cliche is all kinds of wrong.

Don’t be afraid of writing something already done. If wasn’t done by you, was it?


(Did you play the game yet? Let’s Play a Game! Win a free ecopy.)

[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe]

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