Are Cliches Really Such a Bad Thing?: Discussion Post

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So for my screenwriting class this semester, we have to write a 15-20 page screenplay for our final project.  My screenplay is going to be about a couple, Catherine and Elizabeth, who wake up on the day of their four-year anniversary, both separately making the decision that this is the day that they’re going to propose to one another. The script follows the two women as they go about their normal day, thinking about their relationship to date. As the progresses, they begin to worry that they might be making the wrong decision. Despite their worries, the  story ends happily, and they propose to one another and they both say yes!!! We had to write a scene-by-scene outline for the script and one of the criticisms that my teacher gave me was that my ending was too cliché and I should consider changing it. I love this teacher and I typically respect his opinions, but boy did this piss me off. In another class, one of the characters in my story explains that one of the reasons he lost his faith was because of the way his family treated him after he came out. When one of the girls in my class read it, she said “that whole storyline was a little cliché” which really infuriated me. So based off of these two experiences, I was inspired to write a little list about why clichés aren’t the worst thing  that’s happened to literature.

1. The Reason That Certain Storylines are Cliche is Because a Lot of People Have Gone Through These Experiences.

In my four semesters at college, literally every creative writing teacher I’ve had has talked about clichés. And like I get it. Some things are overdone, and using those said things can be a sign of weak writing. However, I see the criticism of clichés as being relevant to individual sentences. For example, saying a character is the sun would be considered overdone, because others have said it before.  Writing is all about finding new ways to express something that’s been said again and again, which is where cliché sentences come into play. But what pisses me off, is when people call experiences that characters go through “cliche. The reason that these experiences are seen over and over again, is because a lot of people have gone through these aforementioned experiences and find that expressing themselves through writing is the best way to understand what they’re going through. And the more that people write about it, the more others see these experiences being depicted and want to write about it as well. There’s no harm in having plot points or background information that has been done before. It’s the way that’s the story is written that makes it unique and meaningful. I don’t find cliches to be a sign of weak writing. It merely means that you’re able to acknowledge who’s come before you and make it your own.

2. Angst Meaningful.

A lot of people seem to think that for something to be meaningful, it needs to be angsty and I’ve never understood that. If anything those type of storylines have always been the weakest in my eyes. Killing off the main character or making them suffer with no resolution isn’t deeper than letting them be happy in the end. Everyone’s so obsessed with these dark plots and they’re held to this high regard, but why? If anything it’s these surprise twists that have become the new cliché and happily ever afters are a rare and treasured item. What makes despair and anguish more valuable than love and happiness? I love fiction because it tells us that there’s hope but these stories that defy clichés are just telling that life sucks and you gotta deal with it, and I honestly hate that.

3. Let Marginalized People Have Their clichés.

Clichés stem from white, heterosexual, cis, able-bodied storylines. People of Colour don’t get happy endings.  LGBTQ people don’t get happy endings. Disabled people don’t get happy endings. But people are so over  clichés, that they don’t understand that marginalized people haven’t had the chance to experience those cliches in fiction.  The gay characters in all of my stories suffer, because I like to make my characters suffer.  They suffer a lot and I basically put them through living hell, but I always give them a happy ending. Because gay people have been reduced to a tragedy for way too long and I’m not going to contribute to that. Cliches don’t harm anybody, because they’re so often rooted in pure emotions of love and happiness and if you’re threatened by that you should probably reevaluate your life.

What Do You Think about Clichés? Do You Agree with Me or a Firm Hater of Cliches? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below!

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Tin Heart by Shivaun Plozza Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

When Marlowe gets a heart transplant and a second chance at life, all she wants to do is to thank her donor’s family. Maybe then she can move on. Maybe then she’ll discover who she is if she’s no longer The Dying Girl.

But with a little brother who dresses like every day is Halloween, a vegan warrior for a mother, and an all-out war with the hot butcher’s apprentice next door, Marlowe’s life is already pretty complicated. And her second chance is about to take an unexpected turn.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

Going into Tin Heart, I definitely didn’t think that this book would affect me as much as it did. The subject of heart transplant is one that I’ve seen a lot in fiction, but this book was really able to get to the core of this topic and hit its readers eight in the feels. The raw emotion felt by Marlowe was written so well. I felt her pain as though it was my own, and I loved seeing her emotions evolve throughout the book. Her feelings were very complex and they felt very real and it was really interesting to see how these feelings affected the way she held herself and the way she made her decisions.

Another thing that I really liked was how flawed Marlowe was. She made some really stupid mistakes, and didn’t always think of the consequences of her actions, but she learned  from these faux-pas. I really appreciated how not everyone forgave her instantly, once she realized her mistakes.  A lot of the time in books, everyone just instantly accepts the character’s apology which just isn’t how life works. I thought that this realistic approach really added another layer to this story, while offering the hope that an apology could be possible in the future.

The different relationships that Marlowe had throughout the book were phenomenal. I especially loved the relationship she had with her brother.  He was such a precious character and I really liked seeing how Marlowe’s relationship with him shifted throughout the book. THere was this scene towards the end of the book that had me dying of laughter and it just did a great job of showing how much Marlowe loves her brother. I also thought that the relationship she had with her mother was really great. I feel like the vegan thing was just a little over the top but it also provided some of the funniest moments. I would’ve liked just a little more insight into Marlowe’s mom  but I really liked what we got.

The love interest provided just another reason to like an already amazing book. He definitely wasn’t the best thing about the book, but I really liked the chemistry between him and Marlowe. I love books that involve the enemies to lovers trope, so it was really fun to see how their relationship evolved. Their banter was hilarious and I just think that overall, the romance was really well done and developed.

One thing thast kind of bothered me was how easily Marlowe was able to find  her donor’s family. It just a little bit unrealistic and too easy for me. it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book, but it was just one of those times where I had trouble suspending my disbelief.

Have You Read Tin Heart? Do You Want To? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below?

 

 

Mini Reviews of Books I’ve Really Enjoyed Lately (You Asked For Perfect, Darius The Great Is Not Okay and Maybe In Another Life)

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Today I’m bringing you three mini-reviews of three books that I recently really enjoyed. I have so many ARCs that I need to review and I don’t have that much to say about these books, so I’d thought I’d just clump these books into one glorious posts. I’m just going to do bullet points because who doesn’t love a fun point form review?(also I’m at the point in the semester where full fledged sentences seem pretty much impossible)

1. You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

Goodreads

Rating:4.5/5 Stars

  • The perfect mix of serious and fluff.
  • The Jewish rep was really great and it was really cool how Ariel sought comfort in his faith. Also now I need to find if there’s a decent vegetarian recipe for Matzo Ball Soup because I feel as a Jew it’s my responsibility to eat all the good jewish food
  • I loved the relationship between Amir and Ariel. It was so incredibly adorable.
  • The part towards the end where Ariel says “they asked for perfect and I’m not” killed me and had me in tears. This book seriously wrecked me in many ways.
  • I would’ve liked more about Ariel’s friends and family. I really liked what we saw but just a little more would’ve been great.
  • This is more of a personal thing but the Harry Potter references really grated at my nerves and felt forced. I’m usually a huge fan of pop culture references but I found that it was a little unnatural

2. Darius The Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Goodreads

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

  • There was such a subtle beauty in this book.
  • Darius was so soft and I just really love this tea-loving nerd.
  • The different family dynamics were done so well!!! I especially loved the relationship Darius had with his father, it was so nuanced.
  • Also his friendship with Sohrab was so great. I loved how open they were about their feelings which is really rare to see in male friendships. Give me more male friendships that don’t reek of toxic masculinity
  • The food descriptions were sublime oh my god!!! I know need to try absolutely everything that was mentioned, because everything just sounded so delectable.
  • While I liked his friendship with Sohrab, I feel like it lacked a little development. They went from being strangers to best friends, a little too quickly in my opinion.
  • A lot of people have shelved this as lgbtq rep on goodreads and I’ve seen a few reviews that have labeled Darius as queer. I totally see that and there were definitely moments that can support him being read in that way. I just want to note that in case you’re looking for explicit queer rep, this book doesn’t offer that.

3. Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Goodreads

My Rating: 4/5

  • This is my first book by Reid and I wanted to start with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but this was the only one that my library had so this is the one I decided to read.
  • I loved seeing the two situations play out. I thought it was really interesting to see what was different in the two different outcomes and what stayed the same.
  • I loved the friendship Hannah had with her best friend, Gabby. It was so beautiful and I loved how they supported each no matter. I honestly could’ve done without the romance ( though it was pretty cute) and just have an entire book dedicated to Hannah’s and Gabby’s friendship
  • I’m kind of convinced that this book is about me. I mean my name is also Hannah, I also view cinnamon rolls as the ultimate food and if I had a dog I would totally name him Charlemagne. In conclusion: I related to Hannah a lot and not just because we have a lot of things in common. She was such an amazing character.
  • I feel like the chemistry in both of the romantic situations was a little lacklustre at times. I liked the love interests but there was just a little bit of a spark missing

  • Have You Read You Asked For Perfect, Darius the Great is Not Okay or Maybe in Another Life? Do you Want To? What Have You Been Reading Lately?
  • In The Neighbourhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton Blog Tour ( Review+ Giveaway—US Only)

    Book Summary:

    After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
    Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.
    About The Author:
    Susan Kaplan Carlton, a longtime magazine writer, currently teaches writing at Boston University. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the fine points of etiquette from a little pink book and learned the power of social justice from their synagogue. Carlton’s writing has appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Parents, and elsewhere. She is the author of the young adult novels Love & Haight, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults by YALSA and a Best Book by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street Books, and Lobsterland.
    Find Susan Online:
    Buy The Neighborhood of True Online:
    My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    My Thoughts:
    Finally a Jewish historical fiction book that isn’t set during WW2!!!! My little jewish heart is so happy. I’m seriously loving how many different perspectives on Judaism we’ve been getting and I can’t wait to see more.
    I absolutely loved how Carlton depicted the character of Ruth, as she struggled between keeping true to her faith and hiding her faith in order to be popular. I thought it was an interesting premise and I really enjoyed seeing how everything played out. I thought that the way that Ruth’s conflicting emotions were portrayed was done extremely well. She had so many interesting thoughts and revelations that are especially relevant in today’s political climate.
    The subject of this book is one that is really important. I feel like a lot of people see anti-semitism as this very distant issue that ceased to be a problem once the war ended, and fail to understand just how pervasive the bigotry was and continues to be. By showing this untold part of Jewish history, I think it will really help in spreading awareness onto a subject that many people don’t see as an issue. Just because Jews aren’t in concentration camps, doesn’t mean discrimination no longer occurs. I actually learned a lot from this book and I had no idea about the bombings of synagogues during this time period.It’s made me want to look more closely at my people’s history to better understand how we’re at where we are now.
    While I really enjoyed the premise of the book and the character development of Ruth, at times that the execution wasn’t as strong as it could be. All the elements were there , there was just a little something missing. One of my main problems was with the voice and dialogue. First thing was that the dialogue was really stiff at times and it just felt really unnatural to me as I was reading. The other thing was that the voice of Ruth sounded quite immature to me at times. She’s supposed to be a junior in high school, but she really doesn’t sound like one at all. Honestly I feel like this book could’ve been possibly been a middle grade novel. There’s a few parts that wouldn’t really work as a middle grade, but the overall tone seemed very juvenile to me. This may be because of the time period though, but even when taking that into consideration, it seemed a little off.
    The last thing is that I wish there was more!! It just felt way too short for me. I feel like the really intriguing stuff was rushed and wrapped up too hastily, when those plot elements could have easily been the crux of the novel. I was really getting into the end, and it was just done and I was really disappointed.

    Favorite Quote:

    I bought of all those nights, at the club and not at the club, and how I’d still somehow never seen a constellation. And I thought, constellations weren’t the point. Constellations were just a bunch of separate stars. They didn’t become constellations until you connected them, one to another. Like families, like sisters, like friendship, like prayers.

    And anyway, it turned out Nattie was memorizing all eighty-eight constellations. I didn’t need David in order to fall in love with the night sky.”

    What About You? Do you want In The Neighbourhood of True? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below

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    Novel Ink – Review
    Bookish_Kali – Review
    The Book Return – Review + Favorite Quotes

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    Wishful Endings – Guest Post
    The Book Thief Without Words – Review + Favourite Quotes

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    The Book Return – Review + Favourite Quotes

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    Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
    Cheyenne Reads – Review
    Journal of the Lost One – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes
    A Dream Within A Dream – Promotional Post

    Giveaway

    Win 1 of 2 copies of In The Neighbourhood of True. ( US Only)

    Start Date: April 3rd 2019

    End: April 16th 2019

    Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86354/