Thursday, September 29, 2016

Clichés To Avoid

Clichés are sometimes unavoidable, but that doesn’t make them less annoying.  Usually, clichés are the hallmark of a lazy writers, something used to appeal to a reader without making him or her think.  I thought I’d review the clichés that need to be avoided, if at all possible.

- Prison stories that involve male-on-male rape.  Yes, this plays to nearly every guy’s primal fears, but it has been done to death.

- Clean cut bad guys.  It seems that the only people you can make villains nowadays are bankers dressed in three piece suits.  Anytime I pick up a mystery or crime story now, it’s pretty easy to find who the bad guy is going to end  up being – I just look for the neatly dressed guy who has been successful while everyone else around him is poor.  Stop it.

- The rogue hero with a heart of gold.  This is almost standard in every cop drama or war novel,  We like to see guys with a rough exterior that we can peel away into a teddy bear.  I guess this goes to our notion of how we can change things for the better.  For a twist, make the rough guy really be a rough guy.

- Brilliant doctors/scientists who have an amazing epiphany at the last possible second.  Look, I get the need to build drama, but I can’t tell you how many times it’s that last second insight that solves everything.  Aside from being a lazy catchall, it makes me wonder why this supposedly brilliant person couldn’t think of it earlier.

- The hurt athlete.  It seems that every story involving a great athlete has that person get hurt in order to “find themselves,” as if tragedy is required for greatness(or maybe that we just hate jocks).  Perhaps an athlete should sometimes just be an athlete.

- The government conspiracy is behind everything.  Good God I get tired of this one.  It seems we’re so afraid of offending anyone that we resort to the eeeeevvvvvviiiiillllllll government(almost ALWAYS being the American government), as the catalyst for every villainous thing out there.  The complete lack of creativity involved in this makes me want to drill a hole in the side of my head so I can get the idiocy out.

These are just a few, but if you’ve seen it over and over and over and over again in either print or on your favorite TV show, find a different way.  Sometimes it can’t be avoided in order to stay true to the story, but most of the time it makes you look like a hack.

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