Friday, October 29, 2010

Victory Dance

Okay, this is going to sound highly preliminary, because that's the sort of thing one might say after NaNiWriMo is over, and it hasn't even started yet, but I'm doing on anyway.

I just finished my first draft of Cordamant's Heir.

**Victory Dance**

It's awesome. It feels so great you can even join in if you want to. In fact, I highly encourage it.

This was challenging. This was, by far, the longest draft I've ever done. Heck, I'll go so far as to say this is the longest thing I've ever written in my entire life. It weighs in at an shocking 103.5k. As far as I'm concerned, that's hecca long. Not Lord of the Rings 1 long, but definitely longer than Harry Potter 1. Somewhere between the two, really.

It's definitely long for me. (1.5x the length of Thief Book Draft 1. 2x the length of the Massive Revisions of Thief Book. 2x the length of Miss Snitch. 2.5x the length of my first book.) Yeah, for me, it's mad long.

Now do we understand the victory dancing?

I'm feeling mad awesome. How about you?

Almost There

Okay, so, yesterday wasn't my day. I woke up an hour and a half past when my alarm should've gone off. It didn't go off so much as turn itself off. Not the desired result.

My body: Yay!
My mind: Frick! I'm late!

It wasn't good. And, to make matters worse, I gapped on another meeting later that afternoon and missed it pretty much entirely. Yeah... Moral of the story: I can never remove my schedule from the wall next to my door. I didn't put it up this week, and it's not been brilliant. Other moral: Sleep more. Because, really, I should do that.

Anyway, in happier news, I'm closing in on the end of Cordamant's Heir. I'm so close to the end I can taste it. Now I just need to put words on paper. Should be done by the end of the weekend. Then, on to my final prep notes and NaNoWriMo. Yep, I'm doing it this year. Probably because I have some sort of death wish. Joys.

How about you? What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Story Telling Ticks

I'm starting to think I have a story telling tick. Not a word I fall back on, not a sort of story I like to write, not a theme, just one character element that appears in everything I write. This thing: Mathletes.

Hear me out. In Miss Snitch, my MC was a Mathlete. In the script I wrote for my screenwriting class this summer, my MC was a Mathlete. In the story I'm outlining for NaNoWriMo, my MC -- and the Male Lead -- is a Mathlete. That's a lot of Mathletes.

To this, I can only say, what the cherry tomatoes? I was not a Mathlete in high school. Okay, I was a Mathlete in Junior High and for freshman year of High School, until I got bored being on a team where the only scores that counted were those of the Seniors in Honors Calculus. Plus I wasn't too good at maths. That might have been a problem too. Anyway, I was a thespian, not a Mathlete.

So why are there Mathletes all over everything I do? Seriously, if it's contemporary, they just show up. Is there an advertising sign in my brain, Only Math Geeks Need Apply? I'm starting to wonder.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I'm not saying it's a good thing. Near as I can tell, it's just the way my mind seems to work. I'm sure some day someone will be able to tell me what's going on in my messed up head to put math people all over everything like salt on french fries, but until that day, I'm going to be thinking a lot about math.

How about you? Is there any element that appears in your stories a lot? For no explicable reason? For a reason? What?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Character Movement

I feel like I've been on a character kick lately, but at least this time I'm taking it in a different direction.

(Note: Captain Film Major would like it noted that he believes one should like the MC from Fargo because she's nice. I feel like he believes that, but it wasn't part of the conversation I referenced. Still, Captain Film Major remains adamant a clarification of his stance was required. I cede on the clarification front, but not on rewatching that movie.)

To proceed to my point...

This weekend, I attended a mini-lecture on movement, mostly how movement and how people carry themselves relate to the characters. It was a very though-provoking idea. I enjoyed the lecture. (Note: We will not be discussing my physical experiences during the lecture, because that probably wasn't pretty. Anyone who's seen me attempt yoga knows that.)

This made me think about how my characters carry themselves. Mostly, about how Amira, from Cordamant's Heir, moves. The first time I conceptualized her character, I imagined her a lot more graceful than she really is. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because ideas are so light and fluffy in my head. But, like a lot of the assumptions we make about our characters, we're not always right. (If you want to hear some more brilliant thoughts on this, click here to be redirected to Natalie Whipple's blog.)

I now realize that she's a little more awkward on her feet sometimes. She's not as good a dancer as her mother would like her to be, or really as good as she'd like to be, since she's not a fan of being bad at things. She does better with a weapon in her hand, but dancing while holding a sword is often considered bad form, even where she lives. It gets better, but she's not the best. And if I think about it more, I can think why she moves the way she does, why she's better with swords than dance steps.

I like that about her, but it's not the sort of thing I'd recognized about her when I first started writing, because I didn't think about it. Now, though, I'm starting to think that I should think about movement more. Movement comes from who the character is, and by thinking about it, we can get a gateway into who they are and how they live. I might have to add movement to my Character Charts.

How do your characters move? Why? What does it say about them?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Loving and Cheating

To return to the film that inspired this week's posts (in case you didn't know I've been building on a theme), I don't feel bonded to the MCs of Fargo. During one of our perennial debates about this movie, Captain Film Major said to me, "How can you not feel something for her? She's pregnant and investigating a murder, which is dangerous."

To such an argument, all I can say is, "CHEAT!" (Or, to quote Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, "Cheat! Cheat! Cheat! I hope you die!" But I try not to take Fargo that seriously.)

As far as I'm concerned, telling me that I should like a character because they're pregnant is cheating. So is telling me I should like them because they're left handed, have three eyes, or happen to look like my sister. Really, telling me that I should like them for any other reason than that they are a likable person is a cheat.

Much like showing me that your villain is a bad guy by having him kick a dog (and we all know that's a bad idea, right?), it's not okay to tell me that I should like your MC just because he's playing with a dog in the first scene. It's too easy. Maybe he's an ax murderer who happens to own a dog. In which case, you've a decent villain, not a likable hero.

Writing is hard work. I understand that. But there are reasons it's hard, and one of those reasons is that when you slack off, it shows. Really shows. I mean, everyone knows. They know, and when they put down the book, they talk about you. "Can you believe it? So-and-so didn't even bother to characterize the MC. All So-and-so ever says is that the MC really likes puppies. But come on, everyone likes puppies. Lame." **I do not promise that the dialogue will always look exactly like that**

But, here's the deal, most people like puppies and kittens. Most people like babies. Most people feel some empathy for pregnant women, people with disabilities or diseases, and/or people in untenable positions over which they have little control. However, none of these qualities or states of being, should your character possess them and/or be in them, actually constitute a likable person. After all, if you write a serial killer who gets picked on for having three eyes, I'm probably going say, "He's a serial killer. Who cares?"

Therefore, if you say, "You should feel sympathy/empathy/deep personal concern/love for my MC just because she's pregnant/he's in the unfortunate situation of having three arms/dogs love my MC," I'm going to call you a cheat. Most people, I think, would agree with me. Because those aren't likable characters. They're just people I usually feel something for.

I do not have an obligatory Harry Potter reference for this post. Why? Because I don't recall J.K. Rowling ever doing something like this. Good work, J.K. Rowling.

To sum up this week: You want the reader to love your characters. To do this, you'll have to give them something in the character to love. And this something better be something real about the character, not a stock sympathetic attribute, or it will not have the desired effect.

Have you ever run across characters that were more sympathetic type than actually sympathetic? Did this work on you? How did you feel about the character? Did your feelings about this character effect your view of the work as a whole?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Somehow, I Love You

In the comments of Monday's post, Melissa brought up the point that Malfoy does have lovable qualities as the series progresses. This is true. As the series progressed, I definitely felt some love for Malfoy. Besides that, I've definitely seen some fanfiction writers (yes, I do read that on occasion), who've made him and a few of the more dastardly characters very lovable without sacrificing much of the back story and basic personality of the characters. Thus, we have proof, it can be done.

Even the most unlovable seeming character can garner the love and sympathy of the reader. Here's how: Give the reader something to love.

That sounds simplistic, but it's true. In the midst of all the bad and wicked, give the reader a nice quality, a good trait, a relatable aspect, something for the reader to grasp on to.

Think of it this way: Most people in the world are not wholly good or wholly evil. You know how good guys have those nice things called flaws and weaknesses that make them human? Well bad guys have these nice things called redeeming qualities that do basically the same thing.

Redeeming qualities can be a lot of things. Maybe your villain has a habit of killing off the henchmen who fail to serve him badly. That's not lovable. But maybe he also loves dogs and has a habit of taking care of any strays he finds. People love people who loves dogs. Or maybe your anti-hero loves his mother and visits her every weekend. It's a lot harder to hate a guy who's nice to his mama.

The Obligatory Harry Potter Reference (Because the bit about Malfoy earlier was simply not sufficient): Snape. In a large way, it would be easy very to hate on Snape. After all, in the beginning of the first book, he picks on Harry just because Harry's James's kid. In the second book, Snape desperately tries to get Harry and Ron expelled after the Wamping Willow thing, and then he tries to get Harry kicked off the Quidditch team. Really, you could go on and on. Or, if you don't want to think too hard, just listen to what Harry and Ron say about him for most of the series. If the heroes don't like him, he must be evil, right?

But, alternatively, Snape was really in love with Lily Evans, even after she married the guy who used to beat him up in school. In the first book, Snape saved Harry's life. In the second book, Snape brewed the Mandrake Restorative that revived Hermione. When you look at Snape in that light, it's a lot harder to hate him. Don't you love him just a little bit? I do.

Have there ever been characters you hated even though everyone loved them? Why'd you like 'em so much?

Monday, October 18, 2010

You Want My Love

Well, not you specifically. But your character wants it. Or, at least, they should. Here's why.

Okay, obligatory statement of the obvious: Captain Film Major and I disagree on movies. (I know. You're all having heart attacks and dying from that surprise.) But, to bother being specific in this case, we disagree about the movie Fargo.

I highly anticipate that some of you are going to disagree with me about this one, and you can feel free to express that. But, basically, Captain Film Major loves that movie. Me, well, when he made me watch it, I contemplated violence against myself to escape. Nothing serious, just that feeling of, 'Hey, if I stab myself in the eye, can I stop watching now?'

Here's my deal with Fargo: I don't give a flying flamingo about any of the characters. Not one of them. There was no one in the movie to whom I felt an emotional connection. So, though this film is considered a cinema classic, I never want to see it again. It bored the living daylights outta me.

Why? Because when I'm watching a film/reading a book/hearing a story about people I don't care about do things I thereby don't care about, I tend to get bored.

In my experience, most people are the same way. Ever been stuck on a train with a stranger who wants to tell you about their second cousin's root canal? And you're just sitting there thinking, "And I care about this why? I hope this person gets off at the next stop. Please, Whatever Higher Power Happens to Be Listening, please let them get off at the next stop." Whereas, if it's your best friend telling you about their grueling trip to your dentist, you'll probably care more. People tend not to care about the doings and feelings of those to whom they have no connection.

Those rules that apply to strangers on a train apply to characters. If the reader feels no emotional connection to the character, no love, then they're not going to care about the character or anything that happens to him or her. Whereas, if you've made the reader fall in love with/feel great love for the character, then the reader will feel their joy and pain. That's what you're going for. Make the reader suffer, so they can enjoy the success.

Think of it this way: Harry Potter. Harry's a nice, down-trodden kid who gets picked on. So you're rooting for him when he gets to leave. Then he's taken and put into a situation where he's inexperienced and doesn't have a clue what to do, so he's got to maneuver in unfamiliar territory where not everyone is friendly, even though you know that since he's nice and down-trodden, this is all really unfair. So you're rooting for him when he makes friends and figuring it all out. (Quidditch!) Then he has to save the world, which is really, really hard, and he's doing his best. So you're rooting for him when he tries. Harry's a nice guy doing his best in a hard situation, so you like him.

Instead, now, picture Draco Malfoy in his place.
Draco's an annoying, arrogant jerk. So you don't care about his feelings when Harry tells him to shove off. Then he goes to a school where he's already accorded some respect for being a pure-blood and, by virtue of his blood and wealth, already has some power and friends. So you don't care about any struggles he has at school, since they don't seem that back. Then he wants to get in the way of someone trying to save the world. So you really wish Ron and Harry could push him off a glacier and make it look like an accident.

Getting the reader to love the character's important. So, you're going to have to make the character lovable. Once you've got the reader to love the character, you can lead the reader through the ups and downs of the fascinating story, and the reader will stay interested. Because they care about what happens to the character.

Your characters feeling the love?

How's your writing going? Do you ever have trouble getting readers to love your characters? Have you ever run along characters you just can't care for? How did this effect your reading/viewing/listening experience?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Revisions, Revisions

Sadly -- or happily, I can never make up my mind -- I'm not doing revisions right now. However, I recently agreed to move chairs and things for a local show. (It's a nice gig, actually. Great people, light work, and I get to see the one-acts several times for nothing. Have I mentioned lately I really like theater?) I worked the dress rehearsal, and thus heard the script for the first time. One of cast members said, "You're going to see a completely different show tomorrow." I didn't know if that could be as different as she made it sound, but with a challenge like that, you better believe I paid attention the next night.

Massively different show.

The second night, about two pages of script I hadn't heard before suddenly appeared. (Hey, things happen at dress rehearsal. And if I didn't notice it missing, it means they must have carried it off well. They're quite good.) Changed so much. Suddenly, the relationship between two characters became radically different. This effected the relationship these characters had with a mutual friend, also a part of the show. And a how lot about one of the character's back story became apparent. Totally changed the way I looked at him.

What does this have to do with revisions?

Well, the differences between the versions I saw made me think of different drafts of a book. Between version one and version two, character motivations may change, you might become aware of back story you hadn't previously known, or minor -- maybe even major -- characters might meet with a sudden, untimely death by way of a red pen. Things happen. Things change.

I remember writing the Thief Book. Between versions one and three, nine characters fled into the night never to be seen again, at least in that MS. One new bloke appeared on the screen, and one girl's part grew to subplot sized.

The long and short of it is, in between drafts, things change. Lots of things. Sometimes big things. Huge, colossal, size of a small town with mid-sized populous things. We must accept this. Our stories are not carved in stone. No, they are forged in metal. Thus, they can be taken apart, melted down, reforged, remade, cut off, reaffixed, and otherwise altered. Nothing's perfect, and nothing's permanent.

Things change. Life happens. Roll with it.

How's your writing coming? Revisions? Things changing? Big changes? Small changes? What's the biggest change you've ever made to an MS in between drafts?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some Laughs

Okay, I'm terribly sorry about this. I'm usually not so useless at the whole blogging thing (as some of you who've been around a while can attest). However, I somehow used my whole store of creative thought working on my Positive Pranking.

No, it did not look like this....

I said Positive, remember. Nah, I kicked it old-school (which, I guess, is about two weeks old), and ran around putting Tootsie Pops on doors. Then I did a little dance of glee. :-)

I highly recommend this Positive Pranking. It's tons of fun.

Now, in reference to my previous post about references (as I pause and take too much glee in the preceding phrase and in my use of the word glee), and in recognition of the fact that I've been listening to this series on CD lately, I'll leave you with this.

Because, really, if you don't know this series, you're missing out.

Have a rocking day. :-)

How have you been doing lately?

Monday, October 11, 2010

In Which I Reference Things No One's Seen

When I'm living in the same general vicinity of Captain Film Major, my life develops a refrain: "Are you serious? You haven't seen it? Why haven't you seen anything?" Not necessarily in that order or using those exact words every time, but it happens a lot. In his version of reality, I live in a bubble and have never seen any movies.

When I'm living in the actual world, I end up saying something very strange. Namely, "Are you serious? You haven't seen it? Why haven't you seen anything?" Usually not in that order or using those exact words every time, but it happens often enough and something along those lines.

This might be because, while I haven't watched a lot of TV or movies, and the books I've read aren't always the most mainstream (I hid from Twilight for more than a year), but that's never stopped me from referencing them. I make a lot of references, as it turns out. It's gotten to the point where some of my friends have told me, "If you're about to say, 'have you watched...' or 'have you read...' just assume the answer's no."

This makes me wonder, what references can we really expect people to get? Because, quite frankly, I don't expect everyone else on the planet to understand my insane quoting of West Wing (doesn't mean I don't think everyone should watch it, by the by), and I'm coming to terms with the fact that people don't run around quoting Shakespeare (though every time I realize that I get a little sad inside), but there are some things, I think, should be universally understood.

There are some things that we all walk around expecting people to have a working knowledge of. The plots of classics, such as Romeo and Juliet (though I swear I've seen someone screw that one up). The Bible. Major historical figures. (While kids are more likely to recognize Ronald McDonald than George Washington, I think we're all agreed you should know who he is.)

Then there are some things we don't classify as "important knowledge" but everyone has and you'll be surprised if someone doesn't. For example, Harry Potter. I'm not kidding. If you're not conversant in Harry Potter (and by conversant, I don't mean my level of creepy, quote-spouting fandom, I mean knowing the plot and characters), you will be missing things in American culture. How can I prove this? I heard someone reference it on the radio yesterday, fulling expecting to be understood by all listeners. And you know what, I feel very sure he was. (I, personally, think there will be a bullet-note in History classes on the 1990-2010 mentioning the phenomenon that was Harry Potter. But that's a story for another time.)

Then there are other things, like the stuff I go on about, that you might think people should know about but won't know about when you reference them. For example, when I say, "Men and women can never be friends, because the sex thing inevitably gets in the way," I, despite my disappointment, have to accept that most people won't understand that I mean When Harry Met Sally. (And, by the way, you need to go watch that movie. It's fabulous.)

I've a whole list of references I could make that no one in the world will get. I think we all do. Inside jokes with friends. Old movies and books we've seen and read that most people haven't. Songs by indie bands that never escaped our hometowns. They're great references, I'm sure.

We just can't make 'em. Or, really, we can. But at the right times and places. Which, often, aren't our books. References that aren't dated and we can expect any reasonable person to get are definitely fair game. Any other reference, if it's too obscure, will either need to be explained, which takes a long time, or it will go over everyone's head. Either way, it defeats the point.

There are exceptions to this, of course. If you're familiar with the show NCIS (catch that reference there), one of the characters, Tony, is a film buff, and he's constantly referencing films. But, for them to pull it off, it's done in a very specific way. First of all, they make it clear that this is something specific to that character. He's the only one running around making film references. Second of all, the references are almost all explained so that the viewer can understand the reference and why it's important.

References, though, outside of context to explain their importance or made by characters who wouldn't ordinarily be able to make that reference (ie: girl who never, ever, ever watches movies making a sudden, inexplicable Cary Grant reference) won't work. They'll be missed or they'll come off as strange. And not in a good, I'm-so-fascinated way. In the what-in-the-name-of-tortilla-chips is this person doing, this makes to no sense sort of way. Not the goal.

Trust, me, I've been the girl who gets people saying what-the-tortilla-chips, I'm that girl a lot, and it usually requires more time to explain than I want to devote words in an MS to pulling off. Making references people won't be able to understand is not the best use of our time.

By the by, we have some new members with us today. Hello, all! Nice to have you here. I'm sure you'll like it. I know I do. Anway, guys, this'll be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Do you often make references people don't understand? What's your thing(s) you reference that people don't get and you wish they would? How is your knowledge of Harry Potter, When Harry Met Sally, and Cary Grant films?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Some General Randomness

First off, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind every citizen of the US who is of age and eligible to register to vote. If you won't be in your area on election day, register to vote absentee. Just to remember, we live in what's pretty much a democracy. (Sort of a democracy. Sort of a republic. Trust me, I've heard of people expound on this. I won't.) Remember, as Shaw said, “Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” Or, more to the point, to quote H.L. Mencken, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." So, let's vote people. Register, and vote!

Moving on...

I wanted to share two pieces of video phenomenon.

First: Positive Pranking.

I'd like to help this concept spread, and I've already got some wonderful plans to positive prank my local area. Hope you can spread the love in your area. :-)

Also: A new concept -- A Book.

I've recently received the One Lovely Blog Award from Carolyn Snow Abiad. Thanks so much for thinking of me, Carolyn.

  • Acknowledge the blogger who gave it to you
  • Pass it on to 15 bloggers you have recently met.
My list comes in no particular order, but I'd highly advise checking 'em out.

  1. Kate Coursey @ Weaving Colors
  2. Jenna Wallace @ Writing in the Dream State
  3. Karen Amanda Hooper @ * Eternal Moonshine of a Daydreaming Mind *
  4. Roni Loren @ Fiction Groupie
  5. Tawna Fenske @ Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing
  6. Hannah Moskowitz @ Invincible Summer
  7. Stephanie Thornton @ Hatshepsut: The Writing of a Novel
  8. Genie of the Shell @ The Magic Nutshell
  9. Creepy Query Girl @ Creepy Query Girl
  10. Jennifer Daiker @ unedited
  11. Jayne Ferst @ A Novice Novelist
  12. Tere Kirkland @ The Lesser Key
  13. Talei Loto @ The Lady Doth Scribe
  14. Mia @ Literary Toast and Jam
  15. Lola Sharp @ Sharp Pen/ Dull Sword
I hope you all have an absolutely fabulous weekend. =)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October PSAs

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

One year, when I was in high school, one of the organizations put up signs that said, "Support Breast Cancer." I think we can all realize that they meant "Support Breast Cancer Research" but really it felt like one of those occasions when the jokes made themselves. "Really," my friends and I would say, "you want to support a disease that kills millions of women? Not sure we can get behind that."

Within two years, two women I love found lumps in their breasts. They're both better now, but it's scary. It's one of those things you don't think is going to happen to you or people you know. But it can, and early detection is incredibly helpful in the treatment and cure of cancer. So get mammograms and perform regular self-screenings. (Guys who might be reading this post, this goes for you too. A Y-chromosome does not except you from breast cancer. Sorry.) Combat breast cancer!

Or, as one friend used to say, "Save the ta-tas!"

October is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Month.

While I could seize this opportunity to go discuss ad nauseum various members of the LGBT community who have done great things for history, culture, literature, etc, I won't. (Even though my love for Oscar Wilde knows few bounds). Instead, I want to link to this youtube channel.

This is the channel for the It Gets Better Project, which was started by Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller started in memory of Billy Lucas, who committed suicide at the age of 15 because of the sexual-orientation related bullying he endured.

It want to say this to anyone on this site enduring bullying and harassment right now. Life might suck right now. I remember when life sucked in high school. Trust me, I know what that harassment looks like and sounds like, and I know what it can do to a person. I also know it gets better. I think my friends who got harassed in high school would agree with me that it gets better. You'll go out in the world, and you'll find people who love you and accept you for you are. People who can love like that do exist. You've just got to hold on until you find them. Because it gets better, and you should be there to see it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Original Thought and Why It's Magic

I don't know why, but it seems that most shows I like watching air on USA. Either that, or the marathons of shows I like air on USA, which is good enough. As a result of this, I've seen my share of television show marathons on USA and more than my share of advertisements of marathons on USA. This has resulted in one opinion in my mind: I want to find the person who makes the marathon ads for USA and slap them. Why? They reuse the same stuff over and over again. The ads are just cannibalized material from the old ads.

(I'm probably the only person who gets this worked up about ads, but I'll judge the advertisement for anything, even a product I don't consume, so judging a marathon commercial is no stretch for me.)

When I say these ads are all the same, I mean that for any marathon of a specific show, it will use the same specific clips and make the same specific jokes. I can tell you which clip and/or joke per show too. (I should probably be more embarrassed about that for myself, but right now I'm channeling that into being frustrated about them. Moving on...)

This gets old.

It's the same with books. Now, I'm not talking about book trailer cliches, because I don't think people have been making book trailers long enough for their to be book trailer cliches, but in books in general, there's the same risk these marathon trailers run.

There are cliches in genres. That character that shows up in every book. That plot that shows up in every book. That object that shows up in every book. And they get old. Eventually, people familiar with the genre tend to roll their heads when these people/places/plots show up.

Not everyone will mind. People not familiar with the genre won't see the glaringly cliche quality of the idea in question. It'll see new to them. Just like, I'm sure, the people who never watch USA marathons won't recognize that clip as appearing in every ad, these people won't recognize that "plot twist" as occurring in every story. Whereas, if you watch a lot of marathons/ read a lot in that genre, you just think "Oh, cherry tomatoes, not that again."

New ideas are nice, because they keep things interesting, especially for the people who've been around the block before. When you write, you've got to accept that the people who'll probably buy your book are going to be people who read, and probably people who read a lot, probably in that genre, which means they'll have seen it all before, so they'll notice the cliches. (And, even if all the readers aren't huge fans of the genre enough to notice, an agent will probably have read enough books to see the repetitions and rehashes for what they are.)

Original storylines, characters, and conflicts keep things interesting for readers, especially those who've been around the block a time or twenty. Let's keep it fresh. :)

Do you often find yourself coming across plots/settings/characters/conflicts that you feel like you've seen and read before? How did it make you feel? Would you stop reading a book if it felt too cliched?