Thursday, September 23, 2010

Unconventional inspiration

Unconventional for speculative fiction anyway. Each genre has its cliches. Are you up to the challenge of genre-bending these Chick Lit cliches (from Chicklit Club) into speculative fiction? There's ethnic, mystery, historical (Jane Austen has been recategorized as chick lit.), Christian, why not anthro? Or zombie? Or magical girl? (Though, come to think of it, that already is!)

Not having broad experience with chick lit or flicks I'll paraphrase from the teeming mass of experts at Wikipedia: Chick lit is about women who can stand on their own two feet. Often they're trying to make it in the modern world dealing with issues that women face, centered around relationships with family and friends and sometimes -- though not always -- a romantic interest.


What would chick lit be without its conventions and devices? Those character types and stereotypes that appear in book after book. But are these cliches expected by fans or a real turnoff? Read on for the top 10 character cliches.

Chick lit cliches: characters
  1. Gay friend.
  2. True love who heroine despises at first but is attracted to nevertheless.
  3. The wrong guy - he's either a jerk, insensitive, unfaithful or too preoccupied.
  4. Bubbly best friend.
  5. Cheating husband.
  6. Overbearing mother.
  7. Backstabbing colleague/ boss from hell.
  8. Double-crossing friend.
  9. Dysfunctional family members.
  10. Diva celebrity.
And there's more. Here's those other cliches that appear so often in the plot and setting.

Chick lit cliches: other
  1. Surprise pregnancy that is bleedin' obvious to anyone but the woman involved. Often related to pregnancy that happens to mid-30s woman from one-night stand.
  2. Urban setting. And characters often catch up at cafes and bars.
  3. Designer clothes/shoes obsession.
  4. Everyone works in publishing/PR/fashion.
  5. Hatches, matches and dispatches - someone, somewhere always falls pregnant, gets married or dies.
  6. Fight with the true love where it seems they'll never get together.
  7. An American goes to England, or vice versa.
  8. Significant birthday approaching.
  9. Living well (cool apartment, socialising, taxis, clothes) despite meager earnings.
  10. Regular coffee/Coke/ice-cream/chocolate habit.

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