Writing ; Nuts And Bolts. Article 1.

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Thread: Writing ; Nuts And Bolts. Article 1.

  1. #1

    Writing ; Nuts And Bolts. Article 1.

    Before you read this article, I would strongly recommend reading a story by Bilston Blue.


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    I will wait until you have done so.
    Dum dum dee dum dum, etc. etc.

    Finished already ?

    From somewhere deep in my past I seem to remember there being a golden rule for writers. THOU SHALT NOT USE CLICHE'S. Yet in my humble opinion, to the short story writer a cliché is one of the most powerful tools in the box.
    I like to think this story is a very good example of how to use, or abuse them successfully.

    cottage on the bank of the Severn, with its steep thatched roof and manicured lawns

    A fairy tale device providing an instant short cut to giving a feel of a rural idyll.

    a single mother of two from Seattle

    The appeal of this fairy tale device is much stronger to foreign nationals, especially Americans.

    the cliché about love being blind was steeped in truth

    So blatant, so cunning.

    discovered the legend

    Legends, foreboding's, foretelling's. A hint of the supernatural.

    The rose bushes on the side?’

    English country cottage with rose's round the door !

    I’ll mention it to the gardener,

    Perfect in the way lots of money is hinted at.

    She sat with her legs crossed. Her skirt rode up to reveal a dark stocking
    covered thigh above a knee high boot,

    The early stages of courtship, condensed into such a short statement of titillation.

    hear the cogs of her mind turning

    This cliché gives away the predator mind set of the male, engaging in sneaky psychological warfare.
    A hint of self justification, She is a bad woman, a legitimate target.

    lemonade jug.

    I am not sure this cliché device actually belongs in this story, a real cliché would have been a jug of Pimms.

    Sure, who knows what lies beneath.’

    This is so bad it's good. It even made it as a film title.

    A short story with a twist in the tail.
    A predatory male, and a scheming woman.
    A country idyll.
    A hint of paranormal.
    These are classic ingredients, often cooked up by Agatha Christie.
    This is a very good story, and either by accident or design it demonstrates the power of a well used or subverted cliché.
    By the way, yes I know I have not listed all of the cliché's. I hope there is just enough to illustrate my point.

  2. #2
    I think the point about the story you reference was that it recognised the clichés and then moved beyond them. It toyed with the clichés like a killer whale does a baby seal carcass. This is something quite distinct from writing in clichés.

    My 2c on clichés has always been that one can deal in the ideas associated with them by simply adding more detail or juxtaposing them. When the clichés are conversing with one another, they can say new things, but when they stand alone they get boring really quickly.

    An example of something that dealt in clichés and came out on top would be something like The Notebook. It gave those clichés life by breathing detail into the characters. It's not something that is within the realms of my usual reading, and definitely outside my sphere as a writer, but when you hold that story up to the light, you can see that there is much more to it than what lies on the surface. A synopsis of that story doesn't do it justice simply because you cannot reduce detail down and leave it intact.

    I sound like a Nicholas Sparks fanboy, which is far from the truth, but it was the best example I could come up with.

  3. #3
    I love clichés, they are like dough, ready to be moulded into interesting things.
    They are a short cut to every readers preconceptions.
    The dumb blond may not exist, but we all know her.
    There is so much more to be written on this subject, and I am not the person to do it, pity cos I like playing with them.

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