It's a cold, rainy day here in The Big Apple, but you know what, readers? I'm still here for you because that's what a beleaguered Leagure does!
The topic this week? Cliches.
And since I'm kicking off the discussion, I'll play a little bit of devil's advocate.
I like 'em!
I can see you reaching for the Post Comment button now: Why, Anton & his trout, why?
Here's why: I think cliches are a great jumping off point for brainstorming. A cliche is a cliche mostly because at some point it was a great idea. It's just that now that great idea has gone beyond the ideal of a piece of fiction that it's been done to death. But it's a good place to start when brainstorming your own work. For instance:
Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon series. I'd call it suburban fantasy... a what if tale of what if Buffy grew up, had a kid and became a soccer mom? It has all the hints of Buffydom (demon hunter, a Watcher type character, quick witty dialog), but it is still its own unique voice . That's the trick. Cliche can be a great way to spark an idea, but then you truly have to make it your own.
Also, when you're trying to sell your book in a practical sense, a lot of editors are looking for more of the same when it comes to acquiring new books, that tried and true success especially in genre fiction. The closer something is to a cliche, with a twist perhaps, the more likely they're going to be able to get it past their editorial review board so they can purchase it. Not many editors that I know of deviate too far from the tried and true paths... it gets too risky for their comfort zone and to use a cliche- if it ain't broke, why fix it? It's not laziness on their part, but just good business sense.
So embrace the cliche, I say! Just don't be cliche... that's opening a whole other can of worms.