Writing Lies Part 6

writinglies

Writing lies are back! Who is ready to delve back into this series? I love these posts because they definitely spark some conversation and I love hearing your thoughts on this subject. Let the controversy begin!

“That’s so Cliche”

Honestly, I’m just going to apologize in advance because a) this is a pet peeve of mine and b) it also tends to become a soapbox. So that out of the way . . . here we go.

I have been told this about my own writing. I have heard and read it in so many reviews, and honestly, it makes me want to gag every. Single. Time.

You want to know why? My most common argument against the whole “it’s cliche” argument is the verse from Ecclesiastes. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Often times, I feel like this argument is more of a cop-out for a reviewer trying to explain why they didn’t like the book than it is for the writer.

Take my book for instance. A mystery. The detective is the main character, he’s grouchy, he has a doctor friend. . . seeing the ‘cliche’s’ here? Some would see some details of the book and go full on beast-mode that the story is a knock off of Sherlock Holmes. But honestly, what is wrong with that even if it were true? My book has so much more to offer than just a typical “Sherlock Holmes spin off”. It has sibling relationships, a detective who is damaged goods and a Christian perspective on grief and healing.

But the same people who complain about cliches also enjoy fairy-tale retellings. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t add up.

The definition of cliche is something that betrays original thought. Cliche might be a valid argument if it were used correctly, but so often it is not. Just because a story had a popular trope – take a love triangle, for example – most people have more imagination than you give them credit for. By telling them that their story was cliche is telling them that they did nothing imaginative or inventive or new with the story. Which in most cases isn’t true.

I just get so bothered under the collar because this complaint is used as a cop out. At least the majority of the time in my opinion.

So anyway, to try to wrap up my point: Don’t let the naysayers get to you. Unless someone can explain to me why something in my writing is cliche and why it should be changed with a knowledgeable approach, I often ignore this criticism in reviews. So just keep plugging away at your writing. Write for the people who love your work. Not the people who don’t.

By God’s Grace,

Victoria

7 thoughts on “Writing Lies Part 6

  1. Loved your explanation! Clichés bother me, when it is truly a cliché. But I love a good retelling (Amanda Tero’s ) too, so “that’s cliché” isn’t a valid argument. If you didn’t care for the story, just say, “it wasn’t my cup of tea” and move on. I’m looking forward to reading your books, btw. Especially London in the Dark! I love Sherlock, so if it is a spin-off or whatever that word is, lol, I will be happy! And if it’s nothing like it, awesome! I just love a good clean mystery and my hat is off to those who are smart enough to write them! I’ll stick to reading them for now, lol!

    Awesome post!

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  2. Couldn’t agree more, Victoria. On top of the things you mentioned, what’s considered “cliche” depends very much on the individual reader. That very same thing that one person found cliche could be fresh and new to someone else. Rather than saying, “This is cliche”, which isn’t that helpful to anyone, I wish people would say something along the lines of, “I personally have seen this particular thing done so many times that I’m getting tired of it, but other people might feel differently.” A statement like that is still honest, acknowledging that the story wasn’t to that one reader’s tastes, but doesn’t act as if the writer somehow did something wrong or was unimaginative.

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  3. I totally agree with this, Victoria! I get tired of hearing the whole cliche argument — because a story *may* have some similarities, and it may have the same nice, happy ending, but it will be a totally different journey to get to the ending, and hence a whole new experience. Because, yes, people are imaginative, and they won’t take the same approach that another person would have. Even Hallmark movies ((like the Christmas romance ones)) are very, very predictable, and they all end the same (guy gets girl) and they all have basically the same plot line (they meet, they fall in love, they have an argument, they kiss, the end); but even those characters have unique journeys throughout the storyline that make it original. The concept might be cliche, but the story is new each time.

    And all that is coming from a girl who might maybe tolerate a Hallmark movie if I’m in the right, sappy mood.

    *Steps off soapbox* Anyways……I enjoyed reading this!

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