Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

It's Wednesday again. Already?

Over at YA Highway, today's topic is: What's your favorite literary cliché?

This is such a tough one for me. Growing up, I loved reading Historical Romances with the worldly alpha male hero and strong-minded yet naive heroine...See full size imageYeah, the whole bodice-ripper thing.                           
But as soon as someone pointed out what a cliche that is (and how it perpetuates sexist notions about love) it was totally ruined for me. Now I cringe when a book I'm listening too starts to lean in that direction.

Then there's Star Trek (another love of mine growing up) where every new guy or gal on the away mission is bound to be the one killed.                                     
See full size image                                                                         
I suppose there are many wonderfully written things (including Historical Romances and Star Trek) that still have elements of the cliche in them...put in either consciously or unconsciously by the writer. There is some comfort in the familiar. The thing the reader can automatically latch onto. And some humorous stories even depend on the cliche.

So maybe I'm oversensitive because I read more as a writer now than a reader. To me, recognizing something as cliche is like figuring out (or being told) how the magic trick soon as that happens, the magic is gone.

I know some people feel tolerant of or even like cliche's. Where do you stand?


  1. I am pretty tolerant toward cliches, so long as they are cliches done well (or ironically). But cliches done poorly are like nail on a chalkboard.

  2. Cliches are fun. I know they're taboo. But I love them. I mean, if you think about it, they're cliches because, in our mind, that's how things should work (as bad as that sounds) and hense why the situations are used over and over again...becoming cliches to begin with.

  3. I think it depends on the cliche really. Some genres I guess could be one giant cliche BUT oh well they are fun and that's why I want to read, or watch them

  4. for me, it really depends on how it's done. I recently read two novels that had the love triangle cliche...I won't name any names because I found them to be lacking, mostly because I kept stopping and saying, "this is just too overdone" But, then there are other instances when I devour all the cliches the author throws at me *shrugs* :)

  5. If the writing is great - then the story doesn't come across as cliche. Atleast that's what I've found in my reading.

  6. Karla and Laura- I think you have a good point...what seems cliche is partly in the eye of the beholder and in the skill level of the writer.

  7. I completely agree with Rebecca! Excellent point. I really don't mind cliches when they're done well, but when they aren't... EEE!

  8. I really like this quote: "recognizing something as cliche is like figuring out (or being told) how the magic trick soon as that happens, the magic is gone".

    I agree.

    And as for a really good romance- have you read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series? It's so not a sexist bodice-ripper, but oh-so-good.

  9. It took me five minutes to read this awesome post because that first pic made me go O.O

  10. KO- Yes, I did read the first Outlander and enjoyed it...I need to get back to that series as I think there are a few I never got to.

    Michelle- Sorry the picture isn't very family friendly...I debated about using it but figured it made the old cliche so clear. Strange how those images still seem a little shocking even though music videos today are way more explicit.