I Don't Understand Cliché
In a previous blog, I confessed to not understanding the word existential.
I wrote that blog on November 14, 2018, and I still do not understand that term. However, I now understand why my mind cannot accept the definition of that word. I feel it is an improper description, like calling a horse an apple. “This is quite an existential situation.” No, it is a person talking about their problems. We call this activity complaining, and in my mind, it is not existential. For this reason, I cannot wrap my head around the word’s meaning.
Another word I do not understand is cliché. The word should describe an overused plot device or expression. A good example is the love triangle, where two people are in love with the third. The phrase, “You are the weakest link” is cliché because it is an overused phrase. The idea behind this is that by calling something cliché, we are voicing our dislike.
Humans have been writing, talking, and making up stories for thousands of years. We have explored the most basic plot devices and phrases which means they will be reused. Let’s examine the love triangle plot. How many types of romance can there be? I can think of five. In my meager dating experience, I have been in a love triangle three times. Therefore, (in my mind) this kind of plot device is fair game because I know it is real. (Side note. No, two women have not desired me. At least to my knowledge:)
Why not spice the story up? One lover is from “the bad part of town.” This dating adventure occurred once. How about a kidnapped lover? Fortunately, that tragic dating experience has not happened to me. So, this plot device is not cliché. Right? That plot is so cliché that it spans romance, adventure, action, and sci-fi plots. There have been thousands of stories with this plot, although it rarely occurs.
I argue a writer must make fundamental choices. If they choose to write a romance, a love triangle is valid. However, critics would say, “That plot has been done to death. How cliché! Bad writer! Shame on you!”
This reaction is why I do not use or understand or use this word. Cliché is a sarcastic putdown because it identifies the obvious negatively. “The sky is blue. How cliché.” Of course, the sky is blue! What other color can it be?
Should I take a step back and embrace the word? I just read a book where the principal character loses his memory and is in a spy ring. Clearly, this plot is cliché. However, I am hesitant to use this word.
Should I ignore the word when I encounter it? Should I make people stop using the word? Hmm. Sounds interesting. I will start with my four blog readers. Hey! Please stop using cliché.
Wow, what a cliché blog ending!


You’re the best -Bill
May 12, 2021
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