View Full Version : Cliches
08-19-2008, 01:24 AM
I was wondering how you guys approach cliches. I try to avoid them but I realize that sometimes I write the opposite of the cliche just to avoid being cliche - when maybe the cliche would've been the better choice.
Someone said something interesting to me once. They said, "You see cliches a lot because they work." And I never thought of it that way. The reason a cliche is a cliche is because it's used a lot. But maybe it's used a lot simply because it works. If you choose to go a different direction, you get to brag that you weren't cliche, but possibly at the expense of a better choice.
08-19-2008, 01:57 AM
Cliches are cliches because they're tried and true. If you avoid them, you're taking the long way around. I use them when it's called for, but you have to do it unashamedly.
As an example, check out the old Newhart episodes. They're rife with tried and true comedy. Cliches.
Go ahead, Emily, you're not going to hurt me.
Are you sure, Bob? I can pack a pretty good wallop.
I was an athlete in college. C'mon, right in the gut.
If you say so.
Emily winds up.
No reaction from Bob.
Well, gee, Bob, I'm impressed.
Bob walks into the bedroom and closes the door behind him. Emily tidies up the coffee table.
Emily straightens up. Bob walks out of the bedroom.
So what's for dinner?
Now even back in the 70's I had seen this done a dozen times before, and when they started with this routine I thought to myself, "They're not going to do this old thing." But they did, and I fell off my couch.
08-19-2008, 03:13 AM
Avoiding cliches is a cliche.
08-19-2008, 06:18 AM
It could be argued that everything is a cliche.
The cliche itself isn't the problem, it's the execution.
08-19-2008, 06:23 AM
The major problem with a "cliche" is when the audience can anticipate it before it happens.
It's cliche for lovers to be reunited at the end of the film, but the audience is still going to be happy to see it happen... unless it was obvious the whole time that it was going to happen. That's what an audience resents.
08-19-2008, 09:24 AM
I take the Joss Whedon approach and see if I can turn them.
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