So why do we scorn them?
We all know cliches. Literary cliches, plot cliches, life cliches, character cliches, and so on. Once upon a time they were original and new. But it was only a matter of time before people began to get sick and tired of hearing them over and over again. They boycotted the use of ANY cliche, come hell or high water, and before long they vanished into thin air. But I take a different view. Now it maybe hard to swallow, but cliches make me happy as a lark.
When I see a cliche, I often groan. I’m not going to lie. But I’ve been writing for a long time. Most of my life, in fact. Recently I started looking back at all the books I’ve read and all the books I’ve edited/beta read, and I’ve come to the realization that I find cliches fascinating. Not because I think they’re clever, or original. Far from it. Because usually they aren’t, and that’s the problem with cliches. Not that they exist, but because people don’t try to make it their own.
Recently I started a new story (because I so need more), and I decided the main character, a young girl named Gretchen (after a lovely lady in my chat group), was going to have a cliched past. Why? Because it’s a challenge. Like I said above, I’ve been writing my entire life. I’ve done the whole “never use a cliche” shindig. I’ve practiced it, I perfected it in my stories, and then I got bored. When I get bored, I start thinking, which is never a good thing. This time I started thinking about how I can challenge myself to use cliches and make them original.
Why can’t I have a cliched story? A premise? A backstory? Why can’t I use cliched phrases? It’s no longer a challenge to stay in the box and follow the rules. I want to break out and challenge myself by making a cliche interesting and unique.
So show some back bone! No one said it was going to be easy. You gotta put some soul into those cliches everyone puts down. Make them your own and break free of the rules. Not because it’s fun to break rules (because it is), but because it’s fun to challenge yourself.
Hope you have a lovely June!
(PS. I SURVIVED AN EARTHQUAKE! I’m so proud of myself.)