The plates we know

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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For those of you who aren’t inclined to Google a lot and those of you who didn’t Google something as obvious as this. This title won’t make sense.

I’ll break it down. I am talking about clichés. It is a reference to the French origin now long forgotten. You can also call it a stereotype, but this you ought to know. We hate clichés. Why do we hate clichés? Because we have seen them before, that’s why.

Now this plate that has been used before is not bad, automatically. It is bad because someone else has done it before and we have seen it before. There was a time however when certain plot ideas were considered revolutionary and they are just… okay for us. We have seen them before. So I call them the familiar plates.

Since the word stereotype and cliché have a similar origin I will discuss it as well. Some of our characters we have seen in other places or at least a large part of them. Did you make that man the genius or that guy the thief? Or that guy the thug? Stereotypes usually have a truth to them and so do old clichés. With the world going on and millions of writers out there, it makes you wonder if someone isn’t taking your idea as you are reading this blog. I am just kidding. Don’t wonder. It happens.

Now quit your worrying about an original idea and think of the plates that worked. They were brilliant once and all you need to do is to show them in a different light. Don’t discard all clichés. Rather hide them among your ideas. Put two old ideas together and you have a new one. It doesn’t matter how much we hate these old plates, for if we strip them from the press, guess what will happen. Fiction will collapse into chaotic madness.

Don’t believe me? Take away the stranger in town, take away an abusive parent, take all orphans away, take dying mentors away, take certain relationships away, delete all romance, serial killers, certain plot twists and a hero that sacrifices himself for others.

Some of them are clichés you’d hate to see go. Not all, but some. For me, each one houses a place in modern literature as long as each author can make it his own. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but these are the plates we know.


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