As I’m working on my own paranormal series, I was interested in story elements/characterization stereotypes. In other words cliches that I wanted to avoid. I have a couple of articles posted on the website regarding romance cliches, but damn if there don’t seem to be more in fantasy.
For me this bears a bit of irony since of the two genres romance is the more restricted. In fantasy you can make your own world in ways you can’t with romance. You can go to the past, the future, a parallel world or one that exists only in your own mind. You can have a love interest if you want, but you don’t have to. You can have a happy ending if you want, but you can also be a bleak son of a bitch if you desire. Your characters can be shape-shifters, vampires, invisible pixie-like ‘droids if you want them to. So why so much conformity?
Part of the reason, I’m sure, is that unlike pure fantasy, fantasy publishing exists in the real world where what is expected to be a success tomorrow is the thing that was a success yesterday. The mantra tends to be give me exactly what I had yesterday, except just different enough not to incite cries of plagiarism. I mean how many versions of The Incredible Hulk do we really need.
I think it’s also true that people write what they’ve seen and liked and thought they could put their own spin on. Hey, the Bard of Avon did it. His Romeo and Juliet is based on another work Romeo and Giuliet (I think that’s how it was spelled, but it’s been a long time since I took that Shakespeare course). To the Elizabethan (and other minds) the true merit of a story was not its originality by the skill the author showed in telling their version of the tale.
Given the recent spate of remakes of previous works everywhere from the movie theatre to the bookstore to Broadway, it appears the do-over is de rigeur.
What cliches do you hate seeing in science fiction/fantasy/paranormal works? What would you like to see more of? Inquiring writers want to know!