Friday, February 4, 2011
Watch out for those nasty cliches!
Hi, all. Dana Mentink here. I was perusing a Tweet from Harlequin Editor Emily Rodmell (who happens to me my editor!) about cliches that she sees often in suspense novels. Her first one was the vague threatening note ordering someone to back off from some unnamed threat. Must quickly delete that threatening note on the porch scene from my work in progress. Ha! It made me start thinking about other suspense cliches, things that tend to crop up in spite of our best efforts. Here's a quick list.
1. The aforementioned threatening note.
2. A similar threatening phonecall. No name given, just a menacing warning via the phone line. Or maybe even a call where no one speaks at all, just that nice menacing breathing and such.
3. The lady who goes into that dark basement by herself. Oy! I see this one in movies from time to time. Scary dark house? Killer on the loose? Is a normal person going into that basement? No way.
4. I know I'm going to get into trouble about this one because I'm guilty as charged, but writing the same type of hero. He's a....choose your role...Texas Ranger, Navy Seal, homicide detective, Marine, pararescueman...etc. etc. Oh I know! Who doesn't love to read about a macho, take charge kind of hero, but perhaps it would be a nice change of pace to insert a regular job in there? Of course he would be a remarkable character, but couldn't he have a regular Joe job? Say a nice accountant thrust into horrific circumstances that test his inner strength? Maybe that just doesn't get our romance juice flowing, but I've read many excellent suspense novels where the protag is just a regular guy and it's very compelling stuff.
Hmmm. What do you think? Any cliches in suspense fiction that bug you?