|Femme Fatale: This is my cliche stance!|
When the trope becomes so predictable, and it not only kills any kind of tension in your story, your audience (yawn) gets bored. That's when a trope starts going in to cliche territory.
Below is just my personal list of cliches that I'm sick of. These are cliches that will require some kind of crazy-ass twist in order for me not to groan and throw my hands up. For me, once something goes into the cliche universe, it's almost impossible for even the most creative genius to resurrect such a tired, overused, and boring cliche.
1) Normal everyday Joe/Jane learns about their secret heritage. Learns some awesome skills/unlocked powers and kicks everyone's ass.
2) Lasers hitting metal and making an explosion. Oh, and laser guns recoiling. Yes, this is science fiction, but you can't make me suspend that much belief.
3) The old mage/wizard/teacher that helps the hero save the day. I don't mind characters having teachers, but when they're used deus ex machina, I get bored.
4) Sentimental little sayings between loved ones. I've read a few books with this little mechanism. It's to do two things: foreshadow the death of one of them AND to make that death more painful for the reader. One book I read had a mother and son have their own little cute saying. I think it was something like "Only you and me forever" or something hokey like that. The moment I read that, I thought to myself, That mother is toast!
5) Evil bad guy/gal that's evil and ruthless only for the sake of being evil and ruthless. Just so you know, tyrants never see themselves as evil. Tyrants believe they are HEROES. Give us some three-dimensional villains!
6) Speaking of villains - how about villains that are scarred, maimed, or defective in some way? Whether an eye patch, a robotic claw, or a big ass jagged scar across their face...sick of these visual cues.
7) Elite or royal guards that couldn't defend their lunch from the cafeteria bully. Oh, and the bad guy's minions/sidekicks are blindly loyal and moronic.
8) Humans are determined to be so unique and amazing to aliens because of our capacity for emotions. And then we're told that emotions (our capacity for love) is both our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness. (Yack, barf, barf).
9) Prophecy of the Chosen One. Pretty sick of this. Many times, it ties into Cliche #1 above. Writers try to avoid this cliche by sliding a little "Accidental Hero" trope, or "Anti-Hero" trope in there, but we all recognize this cliche. And it's so overdone.
10) Main characters that don't die. As a reader, I don't ever feel real tension if I'm sure a main character is seemingly immortal, no matter how dangerous the obstacles are in front of them. Thank you George R.R. Martin for breaking this cliche.
11) Magic Schools. From Hogwarts to Camp Half Blood (Percy Jackson), I'm bored of this one. A school for wizards, vampires, gods, werewolves, heroes, etc.
12) Speaking of vampires and werewolves, I'm sick of them too. You can go ahead and add angels who come down and fall in love with humans. Damn you Twilight. Had to put a paranormal twist on Romeo & Juliet.
13) Female cliches. We're all tired of the damsel in distress one. But what about the smart-mouthed kick ass one? I think we've rocked the boat too far in the other direction. It seems tons of paranormal romance, sci-fi, and urban-fantasy stories have a very pissed off female that kicks everyone's ass. But then her heart melts when she falls for the alpha male.
I especially get annoyed when this tough woman finally "lets go" and isn't such a wisecracking ass kicker when she finally gets some good lovin' from some stud. Isn't this characterization demeaning to women???
14) Love triangles. 'Nuff said.
15) Evil Dark Overlord Villain Dude dies by falling. I guess nothing is more satisfying than watching the bad guy falling in slow motion. I guess bad guys never heard of HAND RAILS.
How about you? Are you sick of any cliches?