Thursday, April 28, 2011

That's so Cliche!

I am so excited about our contest, but I don't think you guys have caught the fever yet!  I mean, think about it, we are giving you permission to use cliches.  That means no editing those cliche similies, or cliche story ideas, or cliche descriptions.  It's all legal!!  I woke up one morning with the most cliche story idea in the world...another Cinderella story.  I mean, really, how many Cinderella stories does the world need?  I was ready to dismiss the idea completely when I remembered our contest.  Ok, so I know I can't enter (darn!) but it gave me the permission I needed to say, "Who cares if it's cliche, go for it!"  So I did.  I'm pasting the first few paragraphs in hopes that it will spur your own imagination to go where you keep telling it not to go.

The Lottery Winner at a Ball

Astrid looked down at her extravagant gown and sighed.  It was an exact replica of an Elizabethan era ball gown, her mother had made sure of that.  Looking around, Astrid watched as the other similarly dressed girls twittered as the supposed prince of the ball made his grand entrance.  His eyes roamed the many rows of the girls who were arranged like the meat counter at her father's butcher shop.  She was in the third row back where you put the less desirable meat that you didn't want to be seen but still hoped someone would buy. 
She sighed again at her predicament.  She wasn't sure how her mother had talked her into this.  It was a barbaric notion to think you could thrust twenty- first century teenagers into the dark ages and find them a perfect match.  How anyone who ever read a history book could think that this was better than going on date was beyond her comprehension. 
The "Prince" had begun his walk up and down the rows of perfectly coiffed young women.  Astrid noticed he had the luxury of wearing a mask.  It was kind of like a Phantom of the Opera type model.  She turned and muttered to the uncaring girl next to her, "I wish I could wear a mask.". She girl sneered at her and opened her mouth, no doubt to say something vicious, but instead her eyes went wide and Astrid felt someone standing close.  Looking up, she already knew what she'd see. Sure enough, who else would be standing there but the prince of the ball. Groaning, she saw her mother across the room miming a frantic bow.  Winding her hands into the sides of her ball gown, she gave stiff curtsey and mumbled a quick, "Your Majesty."
She tried not to look at her mother's beaming face.  The prince gave a half smile, well it only looked half because part of his face was covered.  
"My dear Lady, to cover your face would be a sin of great proportions.". The girls around her practically swooned and Astrid had to keep herself from rolling her eyes and making a gagging motion.  But her mother had made her watch enough old movies to know what her next line should be.
" Your majesty is too kind."  She knew she should have left it at that but couldn't resist adding, "or a shameless suck up."  his eyes widened and then he began to laugh. 
"May I have the pleasure of seeing your dance card?"
Not wanting to be heard, Astrid drew close and whispered in his ear, "There are no dance cards for this period, that was the 1800's, you know, last week's dance."
"Damn it!". Everyone looked at them and he lowered his voice."How do they expect us to keep all this crap straight?  How many time periods can they really expect us to remember?"
"Well isn't that the point of this whole thing, to learn the social rules of ages past?". The crowd around them was starting to be anxious, the Prince was spending too much time talking to her.  She could feel every eye on them.  "Um, since there's no dance cards, the ball won't start until you pick a dance partner and start to dance." 
He too began to look around and saw the adults were getting ready to step in.  Whenever that happened it was never good.  "Well in that case, may I have this dance?" 
He bowed before her and she curtsied, "I'd be delighted your Majesty."  The girls around her glared.  She couldn't believe how seriously they were all taking this ball.  Didn't they have a life outside of this madness?  If not, they were bound to become some therapists dream come true.

 Well, that's just a taste of my story and it's not all that original, but boy, was it freeing to just write and not worry as the cliches came.  In fact, I think it could use lots more cliches.  Hmmm, I may have to fix that!  Now it's your turn... let your pen fly and remember to cliche away!!


  1. I'm excited, and I know what I'm going to do—but I just don't have time to even think about it until after the Storymakers conference!

    Question, though: should the story concept be the only cliche, or should we try to incorporate cliches into our writing?

  2. Jordan-you can cliche however you want. There are no minimums or maximums when it comes to the cliches.

    BTW, have fun at Storymakers. I wish I could be there!

  3. I like the meat analogy! And there can NEVER be too many Cinderella stories.

  4. Thank you, jessi. I enjoyed the meat market cliche myself, I always edit myself on cliches like that. It was nice to just write it.



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