marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

cliches and resonance

One needs to have a lot of respect for cliches.  Nothing gets to be a cliche without good reason, because without good reason, it would not get used over and over and over and over again. . . .

Which means it has to resonate emotionally or carry plot forward effectively or delineate character effectively.  I have actually heard grumbles that a wise old man the characters meet will know things to help them.  Like a wise old man who does nothing for them is plot-relevent enough to be mentioned.  The death of the mentor -- how else can the student show he is his equal except by managing without him?  With bonus points for providing a motivation, too.

Then again, cliches are notorious for having no resonance, for having all the emotion drained out of them by over-use. . . .

It can be hard to judge because it's subjective.  Not just in how often you've seen it before, but how well it resonated for you.  A cliche that carries a lot of punch for you can still be powerful when the cool kids are saying it's oh so five minutes ago.

Tags: cliches, motivations, plot devices, theme, writing audience

  • The Arabian Nights

    The Arabian Nights translated by Husain Haddawy Based on one of the older and more unified Syrian manuscripts. It has only two hundred and…

  • Latin American Folktales

    Latin American Folktales by John Bierhorst A large variety. On top of tales, also riddles and prayers, and the tales come in all sorts of forms.…

  • Leaves from the Garden of Eden

    Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales by Howard Schwartz A collection of tales. A number from his earlier collections.…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded