Aug 12, 2009

On being Cliche'.....

Lately I have often heard the word Cliche' being thrown around. Unfortunately one particular toss of the word was used towards my MS. Not a happy word to me. I decided I wasn't really SURE what exactly the word meant. So I did what any unknowing, uninformed person would do...I Googled it!

Per Wikipedia -

A cliché (US: /klɪˈʃeɪ/ UK: /ˈkliːʃeɪ/, from French), is a saying, expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. The term is frequently used in modern culture for an action or idea which is expected or predictable, based on a prior event. It is likely to be used pejoratively. A cliché may sometimes be used in a work of fiction for comedic effect. um...not too happy about it being used towards my book, considering I THOUGHT it was quite the original idea...sigh

But let's make sure I am understanding this word correctly. Here are a few examples I have put together that are "cliche'" with a possible remedy for each.

Cliche' - Driving in the car with children ... them saying "Are we there yet?"

Remedy - I was quite impressed when my children decided to break the mold and instead say "This is taking too long!"

Cliche' - The question given by husbands and children around the globe, "What's for dinner tonight?"

Remedy - This could be easily remedied by just asking, "What can we make you for dinner tonight mom?" See how original that would become!!!

Cliche' - Folding Laundry

Remedy - um...there is no remedy just yet for that...BUT there is no denying it's a Cliche' idea!

Cliche' - Having to FORCE my children to clean their rooms

Remedy - Having children that do not make a mess of their rooms and when they do they pick up the toys immediately after.

Cliche' - TV Shows about Doctors and Hospitals

Remedy - TV Show about Dentists! (Capitalize on THAT NBC!!!)

And the number one Cliche' statement used more often than it should...drum roll please...

Cliche' - This is a very subjective business and I am afraid your novel is just not right for us at this time.

Remedy - Please send me your full manuscript along with your prospect advances and we will get your book/movie deal going immediately!

What???? I've got a point, you can't deny it!

But do you see what I see? Sometimes there is no way around what is Cliche'. Sometimes what is Cliche' just happens to be what works. So is it really Horrible that something about my book may or may not be Cliche'?


CKHB said...


ElanaJ said...

Freak, that show about the dentists would NOT be on my DVR. And I especially like the fix to the last cliche. ;)

Marybeth Poppins said...

yeah isn't it kinda cliche' to reject my script with those words and then say it's because I'm cliche' that's irony!

Jody Hedlund said...

Then there has to be a whole lot of Amish fiction that is cliche! The market is incredibly tight to new authors--we're told on the one hand to find something fresh and original, but on the other we're told we need to write what sells. So I guess it's matter of finding that balance of fresh but still saleable.

T. Anne said...

I don't think a cliche is a sin in and of itself. I think we need to menuvere (sp) it in a creative manner. BTW we live identical lives.

Jessica said...

Oh girl, I've ran around that cliche bush! LOL I was so paranoid that my dear writing friend told me to stop worrying and just finish the book. Sometimes cliche works. Sometimes cliche is comfortable and sometimes that's just what a reader is looking for. :-)

Heart2Heart said...

You follow Rachelle Gardner as well I see.

I think it's just trying to be new, outside of the box and creative instead of the same old same old.

People don't want to put people in a box with everyone else, they want fresh insight and fresh perspective, eyes that don't see what ever one else sees.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Katie Ganshert said...

You are a breath of fresh air in my blogging world, Marybeth. That saying might be cliche - but it's true. :)

Krista Phillips said...

Ohhh, you've read that word on my blog haven't you:-)

Here is my opinionated take on the matter:

View cliche's as fun. Make it your mission to twist them.

An example from my first book (still unpublished so take with a grain of salt.. I like it though, LOL):

"She didn't want ever Tom, Dick and Mass murderer to see it."

Obviously, "tom dick and harry" is the cliche. I just made my own twist to it.

ALL plot lines are cliche. Everything, in some way, has been done before. It's our job to twist them, to pepper them with unique, enticing sauces to make them better.

Spaghetti is, well, spaghetti.

But Not all spaghetti is made equal. Some have meat in the sauce, then kids like mine eat it with NO sauce. Then you have me, who goes no sauce with a healthy (er, unhealthy) dose of butter.

Anyway, that's my opinion:-) Take a cliche and make it better, Marybeth. You can do it!!!

Glynis said...

That made me smile..whoops is smiling a cliche?
There are many novels out there, that are written about the same thing, but it is the style that a reader goes for. We all have different styles and tastes. I would just ignore the response and keep trying. :)

CMOM Productions said...

MB, YOU are so not cliche!