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30 Days: That's So Cliche

[personal profile] seventhe asked about story cliches I love, hate, and enjoy seeing subverted.

Love: My number one favorite cliche (or maybe this is a trope, or a narrative kink; I confess that I'm not entirely sure of the difference) is What is Real? I adore, adore, adore stories that force me and/or the characters to question the nature of their own reality. Inception, The Matrix, Dark City, The Truman Show, Brazil, Lost, Memento, Being John Malkovich. Some favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine and Buffy. Similarly, I enjoy unreliable narrators and good twist endings, especially if some level of ambiguity is maintained. I will see pretty much any movie with this type of premise. However, I am much pickier about it in books (for example, I hated the ending of "Life of Pi").

Another narrative cliche I really like is stories within stories. "The Orphan's Tales" by Cat Valente, for example, where you have a storyteller telling stories about people telling stories. Layers upon layers, wheels within wheels. I enjoy seeing how the threads of the different tales cross and connect -- it adds a richness, to me.

For romance, the cliche that always gets to me is a good separation and reunion story. The separation can be physical distance, emotional distance, or difficult circumstances. Even better if it's some combination thereof -- in my mind, Paine/Nooj hits all three! And I find stories about that separation interesting. But the part I really love is the reunion. I am a real sucker for an emotional reunion between characters with a romantic history.

Hate: Stalking, abuse, and any other behavior with misogynistic overtones as a sign of "true love" probably tops this list for me. It's both tired and dangerous. I'm not fond of other sexist cliches either (or racist, or homophobic, and so forth), of course. But this particular one really presses my Do Not Want buttons.

Otherwise, though, there actually aren't too many cliches I mind in and of themselves; I care more about the execution.

Enjoy seeing subverted: All of them.

No, really. See above regarding twists in reality and turning the story on its head. I find the good subversion of a cliche to be a form of that. Take a standard cliche and flip it around in an unexpected way, and I am there. It almost doesn't matter what it is; I will at least be interested.

30 Days of... Project! Complete list of questions / Ask a question on LJ or on DW.

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