Webster’s dictionary defines a cliché as a phrase or expression that has been used so often that it is no longer original or interesting. Clichés and Tropes are everywhere, when I say trope I am referring to a trope being an overused plot device. You can go to any genre and find the trope or cliché. Look at Rom-com movies, the fact they are all so similar has become a running joke everywhere, so much so that making fun of Rom-coms have become a cliché (that’s a little to meta for this early in the morning).
We have so many books where the handsome, unreachable billionaire with a dark secret (usually bdsm) falls for the plain ugly girl who ultimately heals and fixes him. In romantic books there is the inevitable love triangle, the dystopian in YA, the cop shows always have the eccentric Sherlock Holmes-esque character to solve the crime, the title and opening to this blog even (seriously that one bugs the hell out of me, stop opening speeches with definitions).
It is a very easy way to turn a reader off of your stuff. Who wants to read or watch the same things repeatedly. It’s why it is super important to really research and read a lot in the genre you write in, no matter what it is. Even in blogging, which is something I didn’t even think about till I was book shopping with Danielle one day. We saw a couple books that looked good, but she said they’ve been done by several other book reviewers. You want to be different or else you just blend in with the rest of the pack.
I have a bit of a Pride and Prejudice obsession, not sure if you’ve ever picked up on that. With that obsession comes a lot of P&P variations, but I recently kicked the habit because I got so tired of reading so many with the same trope. Inevitably Elizabeth and Darcy get in a argument, she leaves in a storm and gets lost in the woods. Shes usually pregnant and doesn’t know it yet, falls and hurts herself and Darcy finds her and nurses her back to health. Like SO many guys. Also, I can’t sit and read another Labyrinth fan fic where Sarah gazes lovingly into Jareth’s mismatched eyes. I just can’t do it anymore! Please don’t make me!
Ooo! Sorry about that, minor breakdown. The thing you have to keep in mind is your work probably isn’t the first one of this genre the reader is checking out. A lot of us tend to stick around the same types of books or movies. Everyone seems to have a certain comfort genre that they like to come back to. Find out what everyone else is doing, and do the opposite. Shock them, keep them guessing.
Be the Bowie of your genre!