What do you think about clichés in fantasy fiction?
Should they be avoided? Do they actually enrich the work and solidify its place in the genre? A little of both?
I believe that a lot of fantasy fiction has cliches in it. Part of it is the fact that tried and true formulas work.
Probably the biggest cliche is "save the world". I'm writing a fantasy book where I mock that. At the same time, I have the traditional cliche of a warrior, rogue and mage/healer in the party.
One way to look at it is by considering a fantasy novel to be a soup with lots of available ingredients. Pick the ingredients you like best, add a little spice to it and hope it comes out yummy.
Most genre fiction has cliches. This is largely brought about by the formulaic nature of mass publication; publishers want books that will sell in millions and in series. Authors want to keep publishing and that's why we often see six part fantasy/science fiction trilogies.
As writers, should we avoid them, yes, like the plague.
I love this question! Clichés are a part of every genre. It might seem sad, but that's what makes it recognizable as fantasy or science fiction, etc. I would say it's safe to use clichés as long as you introduce them in a thoughtful unique way. Give your writing some style and character and embrace what sets your genre apart.
Of course, you don't want to overload your writing with cliché after cliché unless you are writing a satyr. A nice balance will do the trick. And do make sure that if you use a cliché, it is hidden behind your characters and the details of the world so that your readers can focus on your story and your characters instead of how many clichés you used.
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