Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Writing Wednesday: When Cliches Take A Life Of Their Own!
I kinda lost my drift in the WW postings in the recent weeks, so in thinking where to pick up for this one, I went back to some posts I had written a little while ago. So, yes - this is reposted material, but I thought it'd be fun to get you alls' take on this topic...
So, when cliches take a life of their own...
He was tall, dark, and handsome...
No need to tell you who this refers to - the hero, of course!
But, have you noticed how all romance heroes seem to fall under this description?
Let's try something else.
The best friend whose shoulder you'll always cry on is all the time boyish, maybe with a mop of curly hair, who half the time, is red or blond.
Or, the guy's shoulders are a mile wide.
Or, his hair is luxuriant.
Are you seeing a common thread here? All this is expected. You close your eyes and you picture this kind of description all the time.
Why? Because it's a cliche!
All the men in romance tend to look alike, a carbon copy in a sort.
I ask, aren't you fed up with men who all look, sound, feel alike? Why do we read romance? For escapism, for the HEA, but a major part of it is - to fall in love with the hero!
How then do you fall in love with one same man all the time? Isn't there scope for a variety of men out there? Women in real life aren't all attracted to the same kind of men. There's got to be someone who rocks everyone's boat but who won't rock yours. Case in point, I can't for the life of me drool over Johnny Depp. Throw whatever you want at me, he does absolutely nothing to me. Yet, women the world over would sell their souls to be with a man like him. Side note - I have been known to find Ed Harris sexy though... (!)
This kind of thing doesn't happen just to me. It happens to you too. Think of that geek you found cute. Or that hulking man who peopled all your fantasies once you set your eyes on him. Think of this fellow who caught your eye and you have no idea why coz he's a regular looking guy, nothing striking about him.
Heroes are supposed to be a transposition of real men to the fictional world. Why then would all heroes look like clones if we took them and placed them in the same room in the real world?
Kill the cliche. Emerge with a man who's unique. Why is he unique? Because he's different, and that's why and how your heroine falls for him. At the same time, this novelty is what will make women who read your work fall in love with him too.
Don't think a man has to be tall to woo. Think of Brad Pitt. He isn't a beanpole, is he? Same goes for Andy Garcia.
He doesn't need to be dark to be drool-worthy. One of the men women would die for and men would kill to look like is blond. His name is Daniel Craig.
Don't think he needs a mop of luxuriant hair that would make every woman envy him his locks. He doesn't have to be Patrick Dempsey and he can also be balding like Jason Statham.
Imagine a new hero. The world will thank you for it, because you brought a real guy to life in your story. And, nothing beats the real guy where love is concerned! We don't want a fantasy, or a world like the soaps which is filled with guys one so hunkier than the next we throw the towel in at the level of high-maintenance expected of us to just be able to stand next to them proudly.
No. We want a real man. Someone we could bump in at the corner store.
I'd love your comments. Feel free to tell me what sort of un-cliche man rocks your boat.
From Mauritius with love,
P.S. If ever all the guys you bump in at the corner store look like they come out of a soap opera, let me know. I'll relocate ASAP.
P.P.S. Or no, wait - you peeps move to Mauritius. I got pulled over by a cop the other day (routine check, thank God!) and he could pass for Victor Webster's younger brother!