Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015
So, many of my blog posts are direct responses to questions, comments, and thoughts which I happen to see when perusing different writers groups. I find it interesting to make my thoughts on these topics via this blog as much as I do responding to individual posts,. the difference, of course, is that lengthy responses on a Facebook post tend to get glossed over, so I make longer responses known right here.

One thing I saw today which caught me a little off kilter regards the concept of using cliche's in writing. While I am somewhat of an elitist when it comes to writing, as evidenced by my disdain for vampire novels and cheap erotica, I also understand that there are certain areas of life that are difficult to avoid.

Some people actually attempted to say that cliches lessen the craft of writing. I fuind it unbelievably arrogant to feel as if we can write something that has never been written before. Everything we say has been said; it is not whether we say something new, but the presentation with which we approach the topic.

A couple of examples were thrown out and, while I could, I am not going to address all of those examples; just two.

First book thrown out as 'one without cliche's' was the Divine Comedy. Sorry, that book is one, lone Biblical cliche. Is it told in extraordinary fashion and an incredibly unique structure? Yes, to both questions. But the subject matter was cliche.

The second example was The Bourne Identity. Seriously? Someone tried to throw this out as true literature? And do so feeling it is not cliche? Please. 'Hired assassin gets a conscience?' MAJOR freaking cliche. in fact, most spy novels are cliche; they copy a format made popular by John LeCarre.

The point is that I feel as if the three basics of all books: Love, life and death are all cliched to freaking death. There is no manner of living, be it in a city, in the suburb or on the country/woods.wilderness that is not open to being called cliche. Love? There are countless ways to fall in love and they have all been written to death; love itself is cliche. Hell, even the love on the Netflix series 'house of Cards' is somewhat cliche. It mimics the relationship that many people believe exists between the Clintons. Yes, they take some poetic license with the concept and history; but we have seen that before.

Death? There are a million ways to die, and they have been told to death. (Get it? Pun intended there.)

The truth is, there are currently millions upon millions of books. to think that there is some concept we can come up with where neither the concept nor the words within fall into a cliche is flat out stupid and arrogant. If I wanted to critique the books of those who said that 'cliches lessen the craft of writing' I might find myself too harsh.

It's not whether a story contains a cliche or a cliched concept, it's how the cliche is presented. You can say:

I fell in love with my best friend.

Or you can say:

As ridiculous as I once thought the concept of marrying one's best friend, looking back on my own history, it was a fact that my wife had been and would continue to be the best friend I could hope for in life. Cliche's exist for a reason, and I suppose we were the reason despite the preponderance of examples to the contrary.
Fiction is supposed to resemble real life. In real life, this is how people feel. Truthfully, even if I said the opposite, it would be a freaking cliche! See, ALL love is cliche! Cliche's themselves cannot be escaped, all we can do is recognize the absurdity of living a cliche in a manner that makes the concept unique to that story.

tomorrow, I will likely delve into the concept of pricing books and the fairness, or lack thereof, to other writers when books are given away.


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