Are Cliches to be Avoided?

Clichés abound in movies and books. The dashing prince rescuing the helpless princess. The mentor dying and his student going on to save the world. The villain dressed in a long black cape with a pet snake on a staff. In an effort to create fresh stories, writers – and even some films nowadays – are turning old clichés on their heads to rework the story. But should clichés be avoided like the plague or can they help a writer? clicheshopeann

A cliché, by definition, is anything which has become trite or commonplace through overuse. These can be phrases, such as ‘right as rain’ or ‘red as a cherry’. They can also be a mold fitted about a character, such as the carefree friend or the grim mentor. And, of course, there are cliché scenes: a handsome young man glimpsing a beautiful lady across a courtyard and falling desperately in love. The mentor dying. The villain telling the captured hero all his plans…

Some are a bit sickening, like falling in love at first sight. Or they can be lazy, like the villains laying out the details of their evil plots. (Don’t be offended if you have one of these scenes in your book. I’ve had them too and I’ll touch on this cliché again in a minute.) But many clichés have remained popular because they work. People connect with them or enjoy them. Who doesn’t thrill over the heroic rescue or ache for the main character as his mentor dies saving him? (Well, mentors do die a bit too often, so the emotional impact is beginning to fail. Again, more on that in a moment.) [Read more…]

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Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legend of Light novellas and is the Kingdom Pen Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration. You can find out more about her at: http://writinginthelightpublishing.com/

Only A King

By Emma Travis

He loved his kingdom.  Every earthly ruler who had ever taken up the scepter had looked to the stunning beauty of his dominion and yearned for it in their hearts.  The crown upon his head was not taken lightly, nor considered a mere decoration.  To the king, it was a seal.  A promise and a binding oath.  His people would be safe.  He would lead them in every attack, be the last to leave in every retreat. onlyakingpost

The thousands, millions of lives that looked to him for guidance were struck every time they laid sparkling eyes on their king.  He wasn’t haughty.  Nor was he arrogant.  Without a word nor any sound, he made it overwhelmingly clear that he loved his people.  In his heart, he felt the zealous and passionate love that could be found in a new father, looking down at his newborn child.  None could describe the depth or strength of a father’s love.  A king’s love.

 

He was looking out over the land visible from his palace, a castle beyond anything that mortal men had ever dreamt of before its ancient construction.  Towers stretched upwards as if they would pierce the sky itself.  Banners were waving on a gentle wind, the colors easily visible: a lion, regal and fierce, embroidered in white and gold.  Fields of wheat, waving like liquid sunshine, were rippling far below, contrasted to the vibrant forests just beyond them.  He looked silently upon the land unparalleled in its beauty, but grief, not peace, was in his heart.

He knew that the prince from the east was causing pain among his people again.  The bold, defiant knight had defected from the king’s household and tried to overthrow him.  He had little known then that this king was not to be overthrown, but the fact was now widely recognized with fear and trembling after observing the prince’s fortunes.  The knight had been defied and defeated by the king himself and banished forthwith from the kingdom of his origin.  More than seven-hundred of the king’s lower knights had defected with him and had established themselves in the neighboring territory to the east.  Raids and terrorizing attacks had been constantly coming in waves against his dear people.  More counterattacks had been issued, and the prince’s forces were always pushed back.  Always. [Read more…]