Cliches and Would You Rather…

Paper Hangover is a fantastic group blog offering writing tips and advice, book reviews, weekly blog topics, and teen interviews. I recommend you spend some time exploring the site–they have so much to offer!

Here’s today’s Friday Five prompt:

Oh, there are so many literary clichés I love, particularly in YA! Hmm. So hard to choose only five, but I’ll try…

1) The  childhood-best-friend-newly-rediscovered-romantic-interest, a la The Body Finder. (I’m totally working on a story that makes use of this cliché, but I PROMISE it won’t actually be cliché!).

2) The quirky and unique BFF, because what heroine wouldn’t want a quirky and unique BFF? Sort of like Frankie, from Twenty Boy Summer.

3) The neglectful, dead, disengaged or workaholic parental units. Yes, it’s convenient and annoying, but it works so well for YA self-discovery, like in Shiver.

4) The tombish or self-proclaimed awkward girl who’s actually gorgeous but lacks confidence until her one true love helps her realize her outer beauty. Oh geez, the examples here are infinite… let’s go with the most obvious: Bella from Twilight.

5) The asshole bad boy who turns himself around for the shy, sweet girl he’s suddenly falling for. Yes, I recently watched Beastly. (Yes, it sucked.)

Cliché or not, I chose these five because in the right authorial hands, they can definitely work. See the examples. 🙂

Do tell… what are your favorite clichés?

And in other Friday Fun, literary agent Rachelle Gardner asks this compelling Would You Rather…

She give you one million dollars for your entire body of written work, but then lock it away where no one will ever read it…


Make sure at least one million people buy your books over your lifetime, but you will never make a single dime?

I’ve actually discussed this topic with my husband before and the answer is easy. I’d definitely rather have one million people buy my books but never see the profit. That might sound stupid, but for me writing is about the story, not the money. Sure, a generous advance and hefty royalty checks would be amazing perks, but if forced to choose, I’d rather have people read (and enjoy!) my work.

What about you? Money or love? 


20 thoughts on “Cliches and Would You Rather…

  1. Lynn Rush says:

    OH wow. That’s a tough question. And those cliches…NICE. Great post. Got me thinking too much for this Friday morning. I think I need a couple more cups of caffeine first. 🙂

  2. aleeza rauf says:

    great answers to both questions! love them. to me it’s also a lot more about people reading my books and loving rather than me getting money from them. 🙂

  3. Tracey Neithercott says:

    I’d much rather have the readers than the money. I’d cry knowing no one outside of my family would ever ready my stories.

    And you’re so right about cliche story lines…that done rightly they can work. As much as I hate the whole absent parent thing in particular, most teens would never get away with a fraction of the stuff they do in YA books if their parents were present/alive/not psychologically disturbed.

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, yeah. Absent parents seem to be more of a norm than a cliche in YA. How else would our characters embark on adventure and grow into themselves?

  4. Sophia Richardson says:

    Man, my first instinct was to take the money. Not because money>readers but because the joy of writing (at my current stage) is in improving and I don’t need readers to notice improvement right now whereas I *could* use the money. But to never have anyone read my stuff ever? Even when I’m actually (hopefully) good? That changes things. How about 500k now for everything and we regroup in five years to see about the other half a million?

    • katyupperman says:

      Haha, I like your negotiating skills. 🙂 Sure the money would be amazing, but for me it would only be short-term amazing. I’d rather have longevity and a successful career.

  5. Alicia Gregoire says:

    I agree about cliches in the right hands can be awesome. As for the other part of your post, if I had to choose, I’d take the readers. (Then I’ll be one step closer to being overlord!)

  6. Alison Miller says:

    Oh definitely readers. The money would be nice, but come on – i’m a teacher. I’ve never been in anything for the money. 🙂

    And great list! LOVE #1

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, it seems most of us (even those with book deals!) are writing because we truly love it, not because we’re hoping to be rolling in money someday. 🙂

  7. Amie Kaufman says:

    Aw, see, sometimes cliches are definitely used a lot for a reason, and those are some great ones that can be handled really well! Steering clear of all of them is like saying you’re not going to check out the Eiffel Tower because everybody else does it. Pfft! (Hey, I’m back! With news 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      OH MY GOSH! I just read your news, Amie, and I am over-the-moon thrilled for you! I can’t wait to read more about how it all happened (not to mention see more pictures from your amazing trip!). HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!

  8. Emy Shin says:

    I adore all of your favorite cliches, and yes yes yes to the first one! I love all renditions of the best friends turned lovers cliche. 🙂

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