Welcome back to the planning series that is starting to take over my blog for the run up to NaNoWriMo! I know what you are all thinking, clichés Helen we all know about clichés! But hear me out, we all fall into the trap of relying on these set storylines because we know they work. Cliches were developed, not through failure but through success, so when you want to follow success people tend to follow what they did.
Just a heads up: Cliches are not always bad, most novels have some kind of cliché in them; the love triangle, the hero being special, the damsel in distress… they are the back bone to some great stories.
Now this post isn’t about avoiding clichés, because honestly I don’t think they should be eradicated I just think we should start trying new twists. Lets bin the hetero-normative, gender-normative and the elitist or ablest for a little while. Yes, I guess this is just a little talk about diversity in the written world; but a lot of clichés are formed around these aspects (the girl needs saving, the girl has to choose between a good guy and bad guy, the protagonist is really the long lost prince/princess…).
Clichés can help build your story if you use them properly, instead of relying on them to tell you how to write your story. Have the girl faced with two love interests and make the reader think they are in for another usual love triangle and then get the girl to choose a non-romantic relationship with her best friend instead of the two (most likely) strangers that provide no stability. Have the princess find out that she was swapped as a baby and is a decoy for the real princess. Have the bad guy be the good guy.
Well I guess, what I’m saying is, use the cliché to your advantage! Use them to trick your reader and make them question whether they should try and predict how everything will end. Use the clichés to destroy themselves!
Why don’t you have a go? Think of a cliché, it could be one you have seen a million times or one that is slightly vague, then have a go at twisting and manipulating the cliché! You can pop them in the comments below, if you want to share that is!