Thursday, January 12, 2017

Writing Cliche's and Ping -Pong

It takes a lot for a book to get and keep my interest. Yesterday, I started reading a woman's fiction novel good enough that I thought I might want to keep reading beyond the sample pages. (You know actually buy it.) And then I got to the description of the main character's husband. I could handle him being a very attractive doctor who golfs. I could forgive that, even though I don't think that the protagonist admitting her life is a cliche makes it any less so. Still, I was into it, until she tells us that he was also the captain of the football team in high school. It wasn't enough that he was a doctor, he had to be an athlete too. And he couldn't just play football. Noooo, that wouldn't have been good enough. He had to be THE CAPTAIN. Pleeeaase...

Do you know how many times I've read the sentence "he was the captain of the football team?" Neither do I, but it's a lot. It's kind of a trigger for me. It means instant death. As in, the author and her/his book are now dead to me. I mean seriously, if the author needed this character to be a star athlete why couldn't she have been a bit more creative? He could have played hockey, for instance. Or ran cross -country. Or thrown a javelin. Hell, why not make the guy a world -class ping-pong player? It worked for Forrest Gump, didn't it? Oh wait, that's why it wouldn't work. Ping-pong is so not sexy! No offense to Tom Hanks, who looked pretty good playing the game. Still, there's only one game COOL enough, and MANLY enough to say, This man had it all. He was a stud.

So I ask you, is it really necessary to measure a man's masculinity by his ability to play a game that requires a helmet to prevent his brain from being bashed in?

(No, I'm not a football fan. I know it's unamerican, but there it is.)

Oh, and don't even get me started on the other writing cliche that makes me crazy. You all know this one. You've read it dozens of times. (Unless you don't read fiction, in which case your are dead to me. Kidding, just kidding!) I'm talking about first person stories where the main character stands in front of her bathroom mirror giving the reader a detailed description of her appearance, including such details, as 'unruly' curls, or 'flowing locks,'. If you're going to throw us right into a character's mind and thoughts, at least try to make it a place we want to visit. Appearance- obsessed people are boring in real life, and more so in fiction. Please, author friends, have your characters back away from the mirror and do something! Or, better yet, give the character an original thought. That would draw me in.

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