DISCUSSION: We Gotta Talk About Clichés

Posted January 11, 2017 by Aly in Features, Have I Gone Mad? // Discussions / 8 Comments

Hello, Wonderlings!

I am sorry for my sudden disappearance off the face of the earth. I was sound asleep one winter eve when I was woken by bright strobe lights, a strange buzzing sound in my ears, and aliens flipping through my books like they were otherworldly features to them. Which, to aliens, they might very well be. Who knows, maybe aliens are so advanced that they download books straight to their USB-drive like brains.

As you can imagine, my trip to space didn’t end well, although I did come back with a whole new appreciation for cake: cake has never tasted so good. Aliens can’t bake. In a bake-off, even could win, and I can’t cook without accidentally poisoning myself.

Anywho, today I bring you a discussion about cliches! After all, cliches are called cliches for a reason, and why shouldn’t we discuss the hows and whys of our dear sometime-friends?

Personally, I’m all for clichés. Sometimes, I prefer them to being surprised. There’s a certain comfort to knowing what is about to happen, and not being terrified that your feelings will explode everywhere like rogue, unicorn confetti. I think that’s why I take such comfort in rereads: because I know what’s going to happen and even though the feels (ahem, Ruin & Rising, I’m looking at you!) are all the same (most of the time) I don’t need to mentally prepare myself. You know?

I like love triangles, drama, even some insta-love when it’s done well. Actually, there’s a certain yumminess to love triangles that begin with insta-love. You thought you knew where this contemporary novel with a pretty pastel cover (a cliche all on its own!) was going, but BAM! What if the MC fell in love with this guy instead? How d’you like me now?!

But let’s talk about when some books just take it a little too far. As stated before, I like clichés, and yet. And yet. There is such a thing as over-icing the cake, and so there is such a thing as over-cliché-ing the cliché. Sometimes, if an author works it right, it doesn’t feel like you’re reading the same fantasy novel tropes that have been used and abused for centuries, but other times… it’s really obvious, and can make the novel difficult to read and take seriously.

If you’re wondering why this discussion post is suddenly so ranty, it’s because I’m facing a conundrum: currently, I am reading a novel slated to come out in January 2017. It’s severely hyped, written by an extremely popular author, and a piece of work I was so excited to read, but the clichés are almost too much. You have your Special Snowflake, insta-love, a possible love triangle, a sullen teen that is sickeningly talented, a dreadful past accident that set all the Special Snowflake-ness in motion… and well, is it too much?


What do you think about clichés? Do you like ’em? Hate ’em? Would you read a book knowing that it’s so steeped in clichés it’s practically swimming? Have I gone mad? Let me know in the comments below!

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8 responses to “DISCUSSION: We Gotta Talk About Clichés

    • Aly

      I feel you. Too much is too much, and if there’s nothing new, you’re reading the same recycled plot over and over again. It’s a vicious cycle.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! <3

  1. I think my feelings on cliches are pretty similar to yours – I don’t mind them if they’re done well. I do love as well when authors use cliches but put a slight twist in them. For example, I read a series recently where there was a love triangle, but the twist was that the girl at the centre of the love triangle knew who she wanted to pick, but couldn’t outright reject the guy she didn’t want because he was the King… so that put a bit of a different spin on the cliche! 🙂
    I totally get your problem with that book though. I’m not keen on books that are pretty much built entirely on cliches, as it’s just too hard to get into the book when it feels like you’re just ticking stuff off the cliches list!
    Awesome post! 🙂

    • Aly

      Oh! I feel like I’ve read this book? Is it Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie? If so, I LOVED that book! It was so tense and wonderful.

      The book I had to place on hold/DNF had TOO many cliches and my head hurt after a while. Also, I’m all for suspension of belief but there’s only so much I can take. I can’t deal with it all, hahaha.

      Thanks so much, Laura! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope to create more discussions like this in the future! <3

    • Aly

      I’m a sucker for a few romantic cliches, as long as they’re done well enough, but it’s when they go too far that my eyes roll so hard they almost fall out of my head. Poor eyes. POOR HEAD.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Honestly, I too have a bit of a love-hate relationship with clichés – as a writer myself, I do tend to avoid them like the plague, but I shy away when people insist that all clichés are horrible & dastardly & should be BRUTALLY EVISCERATED & SET ON FIRE. I taught a writing class over the summer & one of my (as well as the students’) favourite lessons was on reworking clichés & turning them into fresh new ideas – I think there’s something lovely in reworking the familiar, which is perhaps also why I so adore fairytale retellings? Regardless, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Aly – wonderful discussion, & I’m so glad you’re back. <3

  3. Olivia-Savannah

    I’m not really a fan of cliches unless they are done right. I like love triangles – if there is a justified reason for there being one and it isn’t just some person flinging between two people because they can’t control themselves. I’m not for insta love at all actually – I think it’s the cliche I like the least. But fake relationships ending in a real romance? I’ve only read two, but I fall for them. Easily.

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