Rinse and Repeat

So I was thinking about genre fiction and all the tropes, cliches and repeats that go on with it. There are so many stereotypes when it comes to books and writings.

Like Literary fiction is by smart peeps for smart peeps. And it is usually about nothing. Nothing happens. It’s just a telling.

In Romance, there are certain story lines that get used over and over again. Like secret babies or marriages of convenience or boss-secretary. There are certain things within the story line that gets reused like dish rag. Like virgins who are old enough not to be or motorcycle gang members who are really misunderstood heroes.

In SF/Fantasy, there is usually a quest. To find something or someone without which or without whom the world would end as they know it.

Nothing in fiction, or in real life for that matter, is new. It has been done a thousand times before. But for some reason, novels cycle these in great numbers. Like a thousand books about rock stars. Or a gazillion books about millionaires who fall in love with broke waitresses. Or orbs that must be found at the end of the quest.

I get that repeating verbatim, aka word for word, another person’s words is plagiarism. But what about all these recycled and repeated themes, tropes and story lines? No, I am not saying that using such is considered plagiarism. What I am saying that using such is a necessary part of writing fiction. I bet google searching will find your book has already been written. Your story has already been told. But, and this is a big but, I hope that you have written it better. That in your telling, something fresh and something new emerges. Even though it has been done a thousand times before. I also hope that your characters are the ones that are memorable. Fresh, new and defines that particular trope, cliche or theme.

I like reading genre fiction. I see the patterns in the writing. But I like it anyway. What I don’t like is laziness on the part of the writer, falling back on the trope and not making it theirs. Even if a theme has been written a thousand times, I appreciate that certain something that takes that trope and makes it their bitch. Now that’s talent. To take something old and make it new.

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