Fantasy Clichés Come in Pairs

So, if you read, write or play fantasy books/games you will be familiar with the idea of the fantasy cliché. To some, a cliché may just be an idea or a type of character that is overused or crops up frequently. To a fantasy writer, clichés act like warning beacons, flashing at us from either side of the runway as we bring our novel gently in to land. Steer too far towards them and you are in danger of wrecking your work. But equally, sticking the thing on autopilot and staying away from clichés too much can have much the same effect.

Here’s a few examples of what I view as clichés and their titular ‘pairs’:

  • A woman is incapable of speaking up for herself, fending for herself or resisting the urges of our dashing hero.
  • A woman is more than capable of getting stuck in when a fight breaks out and sassing the members of her all-male gang.
  • Our hero is a young, handsome prince/pauper who is in actual fact ‘the chosen one’ and must save the world.
  • Our hero is a surly, stubble-wearing rogue who cares only for himself and must reluctantly save the world.

When things become clichés, you often find that people go the complete opposite way in order to be original. But being original is not about avoiding or following clichés. It is about inventing something that is very much ‘you’ and presenting it to the world. There’s no right or wrong way to approach this, it’s just a matter of considering what really is original and what isn’t in the modern world.

Thanks for reading!

~ James

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3 thoughts on “Fantasy Clichés Come in Pairs

  1. Pissant Partisan 15-Feb-2012 / 12:29

    Female characters who tag along with our hero and make the odd token or comedy kill at the end of a fight are equally annoying.

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