Why does everyone hate clichés so much?

Clichés.  I like 'em dammit.

My book WRECKED has a few reviews that say the story is “cliché” or some of the characters are or whatever.  It's obviously a downgrade in these people's minds.  But why?

We all went to high school.  Or those of us who weren't home-schooled did.  Did you all have the popular kids at your school?  The jocks?  The nerds?  The druggies?  Those aggravating cliques?  If you think you were missing one of these groups I've mentioned, I have news for you:  You were probably a member of that group.  🙂

I write stories to mimic real life.  It's how I make them believable.  It's how I create a world where a reader feels connected to it and gets so involved it's hard to put the book down and stop the story.  How could I possibly do that if I removed every cliché character or scenario from my stories?  And I would also say that while a character, like Sarah Peterson in WRECKED, might seem like the cliché snobbish rich girl, it's clear after getting to know her in the story that she's ever so much more than that as a person.

And that's the point, really: to show that under the cliché, under the stereotype, there's a real, unique, individual under there who in certain ways will defy the norm and the standard, just like humans always do.  That's the beauty in reading a book like that.  At least, that's my goal when I write one.

So those of you readers who think a cliché in a book is a bad idea, I challenge you to take a scene or character I've written and change it, alter it so it's not cliché, and present it to my readers as a “better” version.  I wager that we'll all prefer the original, because the world is full of clichés, and we like to get lost in books that take things we know and turn them on their axis, even if just a bit.

22 comments on “Why does everyone hate clichés so much?

  1. I understand what you’re saying about cliche’d characters. That part doesn’t bother me. I do tend to relate to them. My editor told me I had to get rid of all cliches in my book. He didn’t mention characters and he wasn’t specific so I got rid of all cliche’d phrases. I guess I should put some thought to the other kinds too. Anyway, keep writing, there are no new characters or plots, just different ways to write them. 🙂

    • If your editor is giving you feedback like that without specific examples and instances, he’s not doing you any favors. Crack that whip, woman! Or just have a reasoned conversation with him and ask him to be clearer. lol

  2. I agree!! I think it’s cliche’ for people to get so bent out of shape over cliche’s!! haha Look at The Breakfast Club. Those are complete cliche’ characters but you’re right, they are real and we can instantly connect with them on them some level. Obviously, you can over-do a good thing, and I wouldn’t use a cliche’ without a reason. However, sometimes the reason is that I LIKE IT. They’ve become cliche’ for a reason. Sometime we hate to love something!! 🙂

  3. I’ve no idea. Cliche done well *That’s you dear* is familiar, easy to relate to and identify with, and just plain comforting sometimes!

    There are a few people who write cliche’d characters sooooo badly it makes want to vomit. There is a difference. Cliches in and of themselves aren’t bad!

    It’s all in how you wield them!

    And now I’m gonna go re-read Wrecked again. 🙂

    • 🙂 I like the idea of “wielding” clichés. En garde!!! I’m wielding this cliché, and I’m not afraid to slice you open with it!

  4. Cliche or no cliche I can’t put your books down. And yes it would change the characters completely to take away the cliche in them. Everyone has a Sarah in their lives at some time or another. I just got Reckless yesterday afternoon and I am 50% done already. It is the characters that keep me from putting the book down and getting the sleep I need :)Love your books Cliche and all.

    • I’m starting to get the idea that if I can get the readers to connect with my characters I’m in good shape. I’m glad I’m able to do this for you! xoxo Elle

  5. Agree. A cliche is a cliche for a reason. You write something too different and probably the same reviewer complains that you’ve written an ‘unbelievable’ character. Just write your story.

  6. I know this is going to come across as totally lame, But Isaac Mizrahi, in Project Runway All Stars, said something to the contestants that really stuck with me. He said, “No matter what critiques they give you, you’re paid to be a designer for a reason. You know things they don’t know.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist, right? Anywho, I just stopped reading my reviews period, good or bad. It’s hard to please everyone and it just leaves you questioning yourself. If you go with the old Disney channel type motto of “Follow your heart” then you’re in good shape. Just started rereading The Changelings and am falling in love all over again! 😉 Haven’t read Reckless yet, but I am not worried…Bring on the cliches! 😉 <3

    • I’m tempted sometimes to walk away from reviews, but I just can’t. It’s helped my writing to listen to my critics and I can never get enough reader love. It motivates me to keep writing, even when I’m tired. But I understand where you’re coming from. Criticism stifles creativity.

  7. Funny. I’ve actually begun to detest the anti-cliche and anti-stereotype in fiction because it has become the norm. It has become cliche to make the kid from the projects the saint while the kid raised in a nurturing home the problem. It’s become cliche to make the druggie the reasonable one. Etc…Cliches and stereotypes usually reflect a majority truth. Yeah, the exception may be the more interesting oen to read about, but in casts of thousands in as many novels as you write, it’s impossible. In fact, it would annoy the crap out of me, if an outhor went out of her way to make every character the antithesis of what the cliche or stereotype would dictate.

    • Wow! That’s actually pretty cool. Now you just need to get a few more people to join your movement, and I’ll be all set. lol Seriously, though, I agree with you. When characters act out of character, it makes me cranky. 🙂

  8. I for one am impressed that you take the time to actually respond to every review you get. I wouldn’t of taken the time to explore the rest of your site if I hadn’t noticed you were actually responding to every single post on here. That lead me to discover your apocalypsis series and ultimately is just putting more money in your pocket. Money well spent to an author that obviously cares about her readers. Keep doing what you’re doing, and I don’t think you’ll ever have any shortage of readers willing to help pay some of your bills lol.

    • I’d hate for anyone to think my responses have anything to do with putting money in my pocket, but I hear what you’re saying. I just feel a very strong connection to my readers who take the time to reach out or share their thoughts about my work. I was a reader for 40 years before I was a writer, and never once did I ever get the opportunity to connect with the people who created worlds for me to get lost in; but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to really badly in some cases! So I am essentially the writer I always wanted to meet as a reader. 🙂

  9. Its obvious that filling your pockets isn’t the goal, and that’s why us readers appreciate your work and your responses. I’m happy to dish out a few dollars here and there based solely on your dedication. I picked up Wrecked as a free download for my kindle but I’m happy to fork over a few bucks to give your other work a shot based on the commitment I see here on your site. Otherwise I would of just went back to perusing more free downloads. I read several books a month and yours will be the first author I’ve actually purchased a book from in well over a year. The closest thing I can relate it to is supporting the local coffee shop instead of hitting a big chain. Sure the chains might be cheaper sometimes, more consistent, and faster. But I’ll take local over the chain every time, and I’ll pay the few extra bucks to read from an author I now know truly supports her fan base. Plus you weave a pretty good yarn so that helps too =P

    • I’m honored to know you’ve invested in my work and enjoy it so much. Thank you for your kind words and support. I hope you have time to leave reviews on Amazon. They’re my drugs. xoxo Elle

      • I’ve tried posting some reviews on amazon but they dont seem to want to pop up on their site for some reason. Maybe it just takes awhile to clear moderation. I’m up to the third book of the Apocalypsis series already. That is 3 of your books read in as many days (including Wrecked). I’m liking Apocalypsis even more then I liked Wrecked and just wanted to thank you again for your outstanding work in the survival fiction genre. All I can say is Apocalypsis is subtle, but addicting. Bodo’s little secret he was keeping from Bryn and Peter was clever and hooked me into the series even more then I already had been.

        • I can’t wait to read them! I think I saw one already. (happiness!) I’m really glad you’re enjoying Apocalypsis. It’s a book/series I wanted to write for a long time. Since I was a little kid, I always wondered what the world would be like with just teens in it. This was my exploration of that concept, and it really went in a lot of directions I hadn’t expected. My characters write my stories, so I’m as surprised as my readers at the way things turn out. Glad you’re hooked. 🙂 xoxo Elle

  10. First I have to say that while I do have Wrecked, I have not yet read it. I promise I will get to it, as I also will get to your newest series!
    Now, I just have to say that I like clichés. And I love your work. Keep writing how YOU want to and what comes into YOUR head, not what someone else may or may not like 🙂
    Not everyone can like every book ever written, which is why I typically do not read reviews but I understand that they aid in your work. You have lots of great reviews, people who comment regularly and follow you, your able to begin publishing books, and you are able to continue your series and create new ones. You must be doing something right!
    So, while several people may have commented on the use of cliches, focus on all of the other good things people are saying about your books 🙂

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