Time for more rambling! This time, I will talk about cliche’s tropes and the stuff. And I’m not even going to add the accent to the e of cliche. So, cliches are things that are well-used, predictable, all that good stuff. It’s sort of like comfort food. You know what’s going to happen. Tropes would be more like building blocks, certain things that come together to form a story. They can be characterization or location or even plot points.
Now, people might see them as bad. If they are used too much, the story will become predictable. But that is not necessarily good or bad. Predictable stories, if well written, can still be fun and fine to read. They probably won’t be the masterpieces, though, but not all works are.
Consider them as tools and rules. As a first time person forming plots, stick to what is known. It won’t blow anyone’s socks off, but you can get the hang of characters, moving them along the world and setting up conflict. Then, as you get better at forming plots, you can start to break the rules. There is a big difference to doing things randomly and deliberately setting up expectations only to subvert them. You should have a reason for breaking rules, a certain thing you want achieved. And you can’t properly break the rules if you don’t know why they are there in the first place.
For that reason, I think cliches and tropes are still important to have. For stories for younger readers, I would suggest sticking closer to well-known happenings. That’s because it become really hard to subvert the rules when none are established at all. For savvy readers, maybe do a double/triple fakeout. I guess eventually everyone will be savvy enough that untwists and twists are both surprising.
So don’t just set out to avoid all cliches and tropes. They are useful tools and information that can help guide your story, even if your goal is to guide away from what’s been established. Understanding the cliches help to make a better story.
Maybe there will even be a genius move of going sideways and breaking new ground. All original ideas might have been already used at some point in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create a personal mixture of ideas that feels unique to the writer.
And my thoughts now running wild. See you next week.