Thursday, September 13, 2007

The difference between run of the mill and success.

Went to a great TRW workshop recently, about empowering character’s emotions by Margie Lawson. Really great, would definitely recommend her workshops to anyone out there.

One of the things that really struck me was her rule about clichés. Basically, don’t go there and if you must even approach one, turn it on its head.

Cliches are just lazy writing. This hit me like a ton of bricks(ha ha!) when Margie brought it up. She talked about clichés in the context of the actual writing, the words on the page.

But then it got me thinking about the clichés that exist in the subgenre of romance.
The Duke of Slut in the regency romance, and the bluestocking heroine. These are clichés, because they’ve been produced so often.
Same with the evil villain in romantic suspense. You know, the villain pov where he stalks a victim, and we as the reader get to see everything but his identity and perhaps real insight into his reasons why.
In paranormal Vampires are headed in the direction of clichéd.
And in chick lit, it’s the ditzy but sweet heroine who’s obsessed with shoes and shopping.

I see a cliché like the above and I’ll usually put the book down right away. But turn one of those clichés on their head, and I’ll sing the books praises.

Not to repeat, but JR Ward with her unique take on vampires and amazing world building, took her vampires way beyond cliché.

There’s a lot of speculation out there on what it takes to sell as a new author. The market is tight, lots of competition for fewer spots, but I think most editors would love to see a fresh take on an old cliché.

It’s not too big a risk for an editor, but still compelling to read, it feels fresh, but they know how to market the book.

Sounds easy. Sure, if you can come up with one. Me, I’m still trying..


Molly O'Keefe said...

So true Sinead - everyone wants something fresh and at this point in our genre most things are a cliche - you either have to do the cliche SUPER well or flip it. I'm not smart enough to flip anything.

Say 3:10 to Yuma last night -- Sinead listen to me -- GO SEE THAT MOVIE. You will LOVE that movie. At one point Russell Crowe actually turns to the camera and says "Where is sinead? I am saying this for her?" Not kidding.

I love westerns.

Anonymous said...

Molly, had a crap day and you made me laugh out loud.
My Dad is salivating at the bit to see that movie, so it's next on the list for sure..

And I do love Russell Crowe, not in a lust way, but when he's good, he's so good..

Molly O'Keefe said...

I am still thinking about that movie and how it ties in to your cliche and flipped cliche ideas -- 3:10 to Yuma manages to do both so well and the best flip is the hero's. So good -- you are going to love it.

Sorry to hear about crap day -- babies will do that...

Anonymous said...

Crap days come and go...

Hey, have you heard, new season of Dexter starts Sep 30th..

I'm very excited.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just got a slap on the hands by my editorial service for having a cliche minor character (my excuse is it was a novella). Told me to be more creative and change him up a bit.

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