Clichés and Chainsaws

800px-1885_Punch_three-volume-novel-parody_Priestman-AtkinsonOnce upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, I set out on a quest to become a writer. I had it in my mind I wanted an agent, and knew I must develop some Important writing credits to provide street cred to my résumé . To that end, I wrote a few short stories and sent them off with a pat on the head to several Important Magazines. With one particular fantasy story, I received a rejection, along with a link to the most frequent writer clichés that earn a submission a short walk to the guillotine. It was more than a pointed hint I’d fallen short of Importance.

I took the advice to heart, and turned my back on blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls who discover, much to their surprise, they are THE ONES to save the world.

A few years have passed since then and I can’t help but notice that readers gravitate toward clichés to a certain extent. Well-written (and some not so well-written) clichés are marketable (particularly in the romance genre).  So I guess what it comes down to is choosing to write a story people will buy, or risking obscurity in the pursuit of art. (See my previous post on writing what will sell HERE).

There are those who will say, “If you write a great story, readers will discover it.” Okay. Go for it and good luck. As for me, I’ve concluded that clichés are not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps clichés are merely another sort of blunt tool in a writer’s repertoire.  After all, beautiful art can be created with a chainsaw. ~ S.G. Rogers


2 thoughts on “Clichés and Chainsaws”

  1. Love the cartoon! You raise a great point. If we write what everyone else is writing, we can’t stand out enough for people to notice us, but if what we offer is too different, many people are afraid to sample. It’s a balancing act, isn’t it?


    1. Just recently I was asked to compare one of my books (*Tournament of Chance*) to three others like it. I really couldn’t…which is perhaps why it’s selling so anemically. So, yes, *too* original for an author at my level is probably not a good thing.

      On Sat, Feb 1, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Child of Yden


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