I want to talk about cliché, a word every blogger and writer clashes with every time they put finger to key board, and in this place it’s okay to talk about it…
Is it cliché to come across as artsy and reflective when talking about being a writer? As much as I like the image of wearing a dark roller neck jumper, cradling a whisky tumbler, staring through thick rimmed glasses and reclining in a popular chat show sofa; that image totally isn’t me.
I find myself dancing around the inevitable question when somebody tells me they’ve read my work, it’s almost as if they are waiting for me to ask ‘what did you think?’. Instead I’ll weave around their words and seem disinterested, yet another typical behavior artists have towards their work.
But cliché seems to evolve around everything successful in story telling today, you see it in similar looking book covers, titles and everyone has to have at least two reviews on that cover. As much as we strife to stay away from cliché, we need it for our stories to thrive.
In my writing I like to suggest something typical is about to happen or a certain person has traits that are seemingly familiar only for the reader to discover there is something much deeper within and that is the inner message of all my work. I call back to my latest novel The Teleporter, and the main character Kurt Wiseman. On the surface of this story the whole deal reeks of comic book style cliché with a dusting of comedy, something I meticulously toiled over and decided would probably sell the book, something now I was very wrong about. I wanted people to come for the super hero bit, but stay for what the story is really about (read it and you will find out). In essence I failed to capture the right level of cliché in a super hero comedy, a niche which would seem failure proof.
Unfortunately cliché moments in the book are what sometimes define them, readers want to see the good versus evil battle, the damsel in distress get rescued, the rugged semi handsome guy put in the save, an older paternal/maternal type perhaps die on their valiant sword for their efforts, the guy gets the girl, the nerd is actually a warrior, the monsters came from space, the bad guy is bad for a reason, the dead parents… the list ultimately goes on.
What if all of the above is justification to say there are no more original stories?
Something which I half agree with, but what if you can get over that statement by being different, perhaps delivering the story in a different way that distracts the reader enough not to think this was the same old stuff. If can call back to another one of my works; Open Evening, the not so typical high school horror with so much more waiting underneath the surface. Yes you’ve got the typicality of such a story, but the way it is delivered, the struggle, the uncertainty, the ultimate resolve all have a different and a cliché busting way of providing the story which is totally different to those in it’s genre. Just read the reviews, not one bad word goes against the actual story.
If I’m going to plug my books it is not complete without Darke Blood; a not so ‘vampirey’ type vampire story… again the whole deal begins with your typical horror affair but what comes out the other end is a bunch of things done before, but not like they have been done in Darke Blood.
All of my work is example enough to say cliché can be embraced and avoided. There are ways as writers and bloggers that we can deliver our products and words differently. Then again if we are all going to be different, then aren’t we actually the same? I guess that’s cliché to say…