In college, I submitted a story I had written to an advanced creative writing workshop. It was inspired by a friend of mine who found out she had cancer. So, I wrote about it. The workshop said, though my story could be an exception because it didn't focus solely on cancer, "cancer stories" were a cliche in writing. I find this hard to justify, especially since cancer is a deadly disease that affects so many people. I would love to hear others' thoughts on this. Thank you!
What your writing leader probably means is that sentimental stories about being diagnosed with a disease are overdone in commercial fiction. The idea of cancer itself is not a cliche, but all too often writers will resort to cliches when writing a tear-jerker about someone getting sick.
I love your response...it puts a different perspective on the statement presented and one that holds an element of truth and integrity...being able to look beyond the feeling of being slighted by the criticism of that particular instructor. That is the only way we really learn to fine tune our craft and develop.