I have written about avoiding clichés, and even pointing out clichés that aren’t discussed often. Something else came to my attention recently. Most stories have clichés, in fact I cannot think of a single book, movie, or TV show that completely avoids clichés. Perhaps there is something out there that doesn’t utilize an overused trope in its story, but I do not believe I encountered one.
The issue is how often do clichés appear and how they are utilized. There are common threads that bind genres together, obviously, that is what makes them genres. Yet, when something like a magical weapon that must be found, or destroyed in order to destroy the big bad is used, we automatically think of Tolkien. In fact, that cliché is so overused in the fantasy genre that a story guilty of using this type of plot will be accused of being a Lord of the Rings rip-off. However, lesser-used clichés, like a character finding what he needs in the middle of the book will be less obnoxious and more forgivable.
Stories that have noticeably less clichés and strive to be their own tale, instead of a repackage of their inspiration are what authors strive for. In the search for originality, it is easy to loop back around into the territory of cliché once again. Us writers should always intend to avoid things that are over used, but sometimes it is inevitable. Just like in the real world, things repeat. It is simply important to know when and where to use them and to be careful.
My latest book Crystal Moon is now published! You can purchase it here.
Here is a little more about it:
Gerald’s life suddenly changed, leaving him moody, hungry and scared. He lives in terror due to his own wife! For reasons Gerald cannot fathom, she has become a witch bent on hexing him. While attempting to survive his wife’s curse and its side effects, he discovers a new friend and a town that feels like it was made just for him. As Gerald’s plight grows worse, he begins to document his experiences, but little does he know, his wife has been keeping a record as well, and not all is as it seems.
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As a writer, obviously I’m a huge fan of books. I love that books are able to flush out a plot and the characters better than most movies because they aren’t confined to a certain length. In saying that, I argue that films are just as important as books to the genre, and frankly there is quite a shortage of quality fantasy movies.
The most recent fantasy films we got were The Hobbit Trilogy. Many people are divided over this films. Some complain about the deviations from the books, the 60 frames per second, supposed lack of character development, and the over usage of CGI. I would argue that they are gleaming gems for the fantasy genre. These films are far from perfect, but in the context that films should be judged separately from books they are some of the best fantasy films made recently. No, I do not count the overabundance of Marvel movies, besides they are science fiction not fantasy.
Over all there has been a draught of well-made blockbuster fantasy films, which is rather disappointing. Why is that I wonder? It isn’t like the audience for fantasy movies is too small. I would imagine filmmakers could tap into The Lord of the Rings fan base. Over the last decade science fiction movies, particularly superhero moves, have seen a huge uptick in quantity. Most fantasy films I have seen in recent years have been independent films, which is fine of course, but where are all the major films? Someone might point to Warcraft, and that might be a valid point, but we all know that movies based on videogames are rarely tolerable let alone good. Perhaps Warcraft will prove an exception to the rule, but that is still one move. The fantasy movies that have been released within the last few years have generally been panned. The Seventh Son, The Last Witch Hunter, all of them were pretty mediocre as far as reviewers were concerned.
What can us fantasy fans do about this? Well, maybe not much but we can support the films that are being released and maybe give attention to indie films. Typically, independent films have low budgets and subpar special effects, but I have found more than a few gems. Hopefully since superhero movies have made such an impact on culture, fantasy will not be so over looked in the coming years.
I have relaunched Goandria: Visions of War. The second edition had new chapters, greater characterization, and now includes Flight of the Wizard short story which used to be only in the paperback version.
It took two months to prepare this version and I feel it finally does the story justice. If you read fantasy and are looking for something new and different you can take a look yourself here.
As always I’m looking for reviews as well. If this is something that interests you, and you want a free eBook copy let me know in the comments below. You can also shoot me an email at email@example.com