Fantasy questions: Cliches

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Herickson, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Herickson

    Herickson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I want to discuss the use of cliches in writing and how they can be both good or bad.

    My thoughts are that if used correctly, a cliche can allow a reader to relate easier to a piece of writing and if it is used incorrectly, then the reader will end up becoming either board or down right annoyed. There is a fine line between the use of cliches and so I wanted to get a discussion about how and when they have been used both properly and improperly.
     
  2. Tabris

    Tabris 11.11.11

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Norway
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    This is a very interesting question as I have pondered this one myself. Here's my take on the subject (as of now, at least): I used to dislike any kind of fantasy that wasn't Tolkien, as I saw it all as Tolkien-ripoff. If I wanted to read about elves and dwarves, I would read the original. Everything else was just bad copies and cliches.

    But then I played games like Oblivion and Dragon Age and ended up loving those games, despite them being "cliche" fantasy. And that is when I had a realisation - to me, the typical high fantasy is a common cultural myth. Or legend. Dwarves that mine and love gold and ale, elves that are lofty, tall, intelligent and prone to magic. Humans that are proud warriors... It's all part of a great cultural mythology, put together by Tolkien and developed further by D&D.

    So to me, every new fantasy book/game/movie is just a new take and new variation of that myth. That means that if they are "cliche", they are just using the same mythology. If they have a new twist on it, that's just interesting. So it all becomes the same mythology for me, only seen from different persectives.
     
  3. Herickson

    Herickson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    You make some interesting points.

    One of the things that I have tried to stay away from in my own writing is the normal cliches, such as dwarves and elves for example.

    Another cliche that is used a lot is derived directly from an ancient style of writing called the hero of 1 thousand faces or the heroes story. What exactly does that mean?

    You know that recurring farm boy that gets drawn into the global conflict? Once you read up on the Aristotle heroes journey, a lot of stories, such as star wars pop to mind.

    I hate the farm boy, the most cliche start to the heroes journey. I hate him with a burning passion, not because there have not been good books about this sort of thing, there have. I love the Lord of the Rings stuff and Frodo fits that story to a tee.

    This is another cliche that I try to avoid, the farm boy and his journey. In my book you have a character from seeming humble origins, but guess what? Later on in the story, you find that his humble origins are not so humble and that stuff that was supposed to be at random, had direct correlation to his past.
     
  4. ML Hamilton

    ML Hamilton ML Hamilton

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I don't judge a book by the cliches. If it has interesting characters and a somewhat original approach, that's enough. As an author, I may use a recognizable startup, but where I go from there is enitrely my own. I'm a character driven author. I'm never quite sure what they will do.

    I don't personally write about elves and dwarves and such, but I do love reading about them and I've never felt it was cliche. Tolkien wasn't original himself. He took a lot of his ideas from folklore. He just masked it so brilliantly everyone thought he created it.
     
  5. Herickson

    Herickson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I agree with everything you are saying. When it comes to cliches, it is not which ones you use, but how you use them that matters. If a cliche is both used at the right time and supported effectively, that cliche can have powerful implications in a readers mind and in some cases can bring an emotional response from the readers subconscious, which draws them in.

    Would you say that is accurate?