Another One: writing cliches

For the love of all that is holy!

 We have yet another snow day.  The fist one of each season is fun and exciting, maybe even the second one.  But after that–when all your snow make up days are gone and you’re looking at going to school until July 4th–the cliché gets old.

The kids dread getting that early morning text letting them know school is once again cancelled.  Blowing snow, icy roads, foot high drifts.  These have been our winter clichés.  And everyone is bone tired of it.

I wonder if that’s how agents feel when they open one query letter after another with the same worn-out themes. 

Author, Joelle Anthony, has put together a fun and fascinating list of the 15 most overused things in YA and MG.  Find it here on her blog.

What types of things do you find overused in the books you love?  Do red-haired best friends make the list or is it something less tangible, yet clichéd all the same?

How about writers?  What go to traits/quirks/scenarios repeat themselves in your writing?

Inquiring minds want to know! 

P.S.  I do have a soft spot for red-heads in my writing!

6 responses to “Another One: writing cliches

  1. There is, according to my writing buddy, entirely too much COOKING in YA these days. It doesn’t bother me, really, but now I am hyper aware of cooking scenes. And it’s true, there are many: off the top of my head, Bella in Twilight is always in the kitchen, and there’s a lot of cooking in Shiver, Patch teaches Nora to make tacos in Hush, Hush . . . I know there are more. Cooking is almost as prevalent as biology class–but not quite.

    • Oooh, another great one. You’re right. Cooking has definitely found its way into more than a handful of YA novels these days.

      Just realized I’m guilty. My supporting male character cooks, but he doesn’t have mom so his dad and he share the cooking. Mostly you see him cleaning up the kitchen after the fact.

      Shoot. Something to think about…

  2. Thanks for the link – what an interesting list. I have a fondness for auburn hair, but usually it’s my main character who gets to have that. I think my only pet peeve, which isn’t really a cliché, is a main character who makes really dumb decisions.

    • Auburn hair is beautiful, and if your MC can rock it, go for it!

      Like you, I dislike the ultimated dumb decision maker. Sometimes you want to reach into the pages and choke them!!!

  3. I think the orphan thing is a bit over done – although I understand the reason for it – and I’ve done it myself! It’s so much more fun for a writer when the teen is responsible for all those decisions!

    We haven’t had a snow day in years – the buses get cancelled when it’s really bad, but the teachers are expected to go and the schools remain open. It can get a bit dangerous at times!

    • Lucky you. We have another late start this morning. I’m getting tired of them and wish we would do something similar with in town kids. Makes sense. To me at least.

      You are spot on with the orphans. It’s easier to write when you have no parental constraints. I’m sure agents see “orphan” in a query and cringe. I guess if we use that cliche, we just have to be careful about how we present it in our queries.

      Great point.

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