cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Ghosts

It should go without saying really that ghosts pop up a lot in horror stories. Traditionally when a lot of people think horror they will think of ghosts and ghost stories.

This isn’t a bad thing, as ghosts can work amazingly in stories when they are done well.

A good example of ghosts being done well is the Haunting of Hill House television series that came out recently. The ghosts here were very well crafted and it was clear from the first episode that a lot of thought had gone into their conception and creation.

However, despite ghosts being excellent narrative tools they can, and often are, the victims of excessive clichés. All of which, I believe, stems from the same issue, a simple lack of thought.

A recent example of this being when I went to see a play that I will not name here (it wasn’t the woman in black, I feel the need to point that out). The story clearly established the ghost character, her motivations were crystal clear and her abilities firmly shown early on. It was pretty good if a little overdone. But right at the end everything about the ghost changed, her motivations changed completely, it went from “find me” to “join me forever” and her abilities went from “dick around with small technology within the house” to “being able to cause traffic accidents miles away”.

I remember sitting in the theatre and thinking to myself “Well, the writer clearly wanted a twist ending and just couldn’t come up with one.” I was disappointed and frustrated, to say the least. But this leads nicely into the main cliché that ghost characters suffer from.

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cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Heroes

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the clichés that befall protagonists, mostly in fantasy stories. I am, of course, talking about the ‘Hero’. Fiction and fantasy have come a long way over the years, and our character development has come along with them, we now have multifaceted heroes, flawed heroes, and anti-heroes (my personal favourite). But while we’ve come along way in some respects, there are still a lot of hero clichés out there and I’m going to rant about my most hated three.

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cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Male Characters

As I said in my blog about female character clichés, one cannot avoid talking about gender when considering clichés. Male characters have just as many cliché’s as female characters and today we will be exploring some of the clichés that irritate me the absolute most.

Secret badass 

Usually, this type of character will be the perfectly normal nice chap on the surface, the guy next door type of character. He’s happy with his idyllic life, usually with his family and doesn’t seek anything else. Everyone thinks he’s just boring old Bob from number 22. But then something or usually someone, from Bob’s super-secret past that he never talks about will turn up.

This person might be a friend in desperate need of help, or they might be an old enemy who murder’s Bob’s family. Either way, Bob is suddenly taken out of his perfect little life (normally by his wife and child being killed or possibly kidnapped) and suddenly it turns out that Bob is a badass! Maybe he used to be the best secret assassin the world has ever known, perhaps he was in MI5 or some super-secret spy service that no one knows about. Either way, Bob will now proceed to kick ass and take names, he’ll be calm (although angry underneath the calm), he’ll be tough and amazing at all weapons. Bonus points if he can fly a plane or helicopter.

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cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Women

When writing a series about Cliché’s one cannot avoid talking about gender clichés, I plan to discuss both male clichés and female clichés in turn. Today we will be looking at the types of female character clichés that occur so often in stories.

I won’t be covering all of them just the ones that irritate me, as there are far to many to cover all of them.

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cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Fantasy

I recently wrote a blog about the clichés in the horror genre, it was fun to write and so I thought I might have a look at the clichés in another genre that I like to dabble in. That being Fantasy. Fantasy stories are full of clichés, so much so that it would take far longer than I have to discuss all of them (that and I’m sure you’d get bored are the first eighty).

So today, I want to discuss my top fantasy cliché, but as I am limiting the amount I’ll talk about I thought I’d talk about the biggest cliché in the genre (in my humble opinion) rather than any of my personal pet peeves (which can be obscure at times).

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cliches, Horror Writing

Horror Cliches

A cliché is an idea, form of expression, or element that has become overused to where it has lost nearly all meaning. It has become irritating, or amusing, especially when, at its original conception, it was novel or meaningful. Certain clichés can still work when done well or twisted in an original (ish) way, but many are so overdone that getting them to work originally is very difficult, if not impossible. 

Every genre has clichés, every medium has them, and every form of art and expression has them. The horror genre is no exception and as an avid consumer of horror, in its many mediums, I have become accustomed to certain clichés out there. 

Over the Christmas period, I had a whole eight days away from my day job and a large portion of that time was spent watching movies, reading a collection of short stories (people always know what I want for Christmas) and playing part of the way through a certain creepy game franchise. This means that I was exposed me to a multitude of clichés and today I want to talk about six that I find particularly irritating.

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