Cliches aren’t that bad …
Disclaimer: this post may contain a couple of spoilers from Teen Wolf, Nikita and Beauty and the Beast.
Most of the TV shows I watch, I do so with my husband. The ones I watch alone are The Vampire Diaries, Nikita and Beauty and the Beast – but these are all gone until September …
So, the other day I wanted a *new* TV show that I could watch on netflix while on my elliptical. I asked on twitter for suggestions, but most of the suggestions were of shows I think my husband would like to watch with me. Then, I remembered two writer friends gushing about Teen Wolf on twitter (holler to Karen Rought and Stacey O’Neall) – this series had potential and because it’s about a teen guy, it wouldn’t be of hubs interest.
I gave it a try.
One thing that SCREAMED the entire first episode: cliche, cliche, CLICHE! Despite that, I was totally hooked! I’ve watched the 1st season, and I’m into the 3rd episode of the 2nd season so far, and I can’t wait to watch more. It’s like my newest personal drug =P
Want to see cliche? On Teen Wolf, you’ve got:
1) The unpopular boy who is bitten and suddenly turns into a werewolf which comes with super strength, super reflex, etc, and makes of him a super star of the [insert sport here] team.
2) The nerdy friend who doesn’t know how to behave around girls.
3) The older and mysterious werewolf, who during the first few episodes acts in a suspicious way to make you think he is bad, when he isn’t all that bad.
4) The new girl who hits off with the unpopular-now-popular boy.
5) The omg-nobody-can-know-what-I’ve-became-especially-my-love-interest thing.
6) The popular and rude and super rich guy who dates the popular and bitch girl.
7) And the father of the aforementioned new girl is a werewolf hunter!
I do think more will come, more that I won’t see coming and that probably won’t bee much of a cliche, but so far, the cliche thing has been FUN!
If you think about it, there’s cliche on everything, even if it’s only a smudge of it. Which proves (to me) that cliche isn’t a bad thing–you just have to make it “fun” and find a unique way of telling it.
Like, tell me how many successful books have you read about a girl moving into a tiny town and being the new girl in school? Or the mysterious guy who suddenly appears in the school? Or the girl/guy who get powers when they turn 16 yo? Or the girl who thought her mother (or father) was dead, only to find out her mother is actually the queen of a magical race? And all of them are about a girl who doesn’t really fit in and a bad boy who has tons of girls flocking around him but he only has eyes for the awkward girl.
However, these books manage to bring something different with the cliche. I don’t remember with whom I was talking to about these sorta things and he said something like “if it was totally unfamiliar, you wouldn’t like it. We need familiar [or in some cases cliches] to connect with it.”
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho said once: “There are only four types of stories: love story between 2 people, love story between 3 people, a struggle for power, and a journey.”
You can’t run too far from those four types of stories. Let’s take Hunger Games, for example. It’s a journey and a love story. You could even argue it’s a struggle for power too. Want another example? The Avengers is about a struggle for power. If you strip these famous books and movies down to their premises, it’s probable they will sound similar.
Now, I’ll add my own writing to these discussion. I’m crazy and I mean really crazy about assassins. Oh, yeah! I even wrote a post about it back in Sept/2011 about wanting to write a book about assassins but all my idea were sorta cliches.
When I was a teenager (14yo to be exact) I was so into La Femme Nikita. Even back then I dreamed about writing an assassin story. In 2010, CW created Nikita (the new version of La Femme Nikita) and I’ve been addicted to that series since then.
This series actually brought back my will to write an assassin story. However, like I said on that 2011 post, my ideas of how a person becomes an agent are cliche. Criminal brought from death row (or simple death) and given a “second chance” = Nikita, Elektra. Child injected with something to make him/her stronger, faster, etc, and/or trained from birth to be an assassin = Dark Angel, Hanna, Ninja Assassin. Soldier who volunteers to become a super soldier/assassin = Bourne series (movies). Agent who becomes an assassin/spy by choice = Alias, the 007 franchise.
However, now that the idea of cliche not being so bad has been refreshed in my mind, I think I should just go with cliche for how my MC becomes an assassin, then try to avoid cliches for the rest of the story? Maybe bring new perspectives and “fun” to this cliche. My *best* idea so far revolves around something like Dark Angel/Hanna (being a child/baby and receiving injections to become “super”) and then there would be a twist that is actually a big part of the Beauty and the Beast TV show (which I love by the way).
Anyway … I’m already too busy with the books I have to finish revising and that I need to write next. If I tackle this assassin story, it’s going to be next year … or even the other LOL
What do you think about cliches? What movie or TV show or book that you really like that even though knowing it’s a cliche?