It was actually a blog post that I was reading that sparked this topic, and it has been interesting to see where each Gripper took it.
The blogger was bemoaning the fact that another vampire romance had just come out. She was complaining basically that if you have read one, you have read them all.
As a writer, I was set back. True, there are some authors that follow the set cliche plotlines for specific types of stories, and don't add their own spin. But without reading the story to determine if the author had done that or not, the blogger just made the assumption that if you had read one vampire romance you had read them all.
That would be like me saying if you have read one story involving dragons, you have read them all. Yet, I know that to be false.
Yes ... plotline are recycled, reused, and reworked by authors. As someone mentioned earlier this week, there are only so many of them. It's what the author does with each that counts.
For example, vampires are vampires, are vampires, right? Um, wrong.
Lisabet and I both have vampire ebooks out, but if you read them both, you will see they are not the same plotline, the same vampires recycled. (Fire in the Blood by Lisabet - TotalEBound and Blood Slave by Me - Phaze). Each of us has a different world we have created, with different rules.
J R Ward writes about tortured vampires (Black Dagger Brotherhood), but not in the same way as Anne Rice did. Angela Knight has given her latest addition to the vampire romance genre a different twist with merging her world with Camalot/Avalon legends (Mageverse series).
Mary Janice Davidson took hers into the chick lit, humerous, realm (the Undead/Betsy Books), as did Michele Bardsley (Brokenheart Ok), but still their worlds are far, far apart in style and concept.
It's when an author falls into a rut with their writing that I start to see cliche's coming at me. There is one author who I hung in with for quite a few books books, buying them all faithfully, and then the novelty wore off. The books were becoming cliche - all of them cookie cutter reproductions of the stories already told. I got to the point I couldn't tell the characters apart anymore in my own head. They all bleed together. Now, I borrow them from the library, because there are two sub-characters I want to know more about, who are still distinct in my mind. And because I want to know the over-all arc of the storyline, which is still intriguing. I skip almost all of the relationship stuff between the main characters in the books now - which is truly sad, but it just got boring. (Not revealing the author here - because opinions can and do vary, and I am not going to trash another author. I will however state my opinion, in general terms, as to the plotlines without giving too much away.)
So when I read posts, or hear people talking, where an entire sub-genre has been reduced to cliches, it does make me question my own writings. Have I worked to create distinct, different views on things? Considering my vampires in Blood Slave are blind, I think I have a different spin on things.
Cliches themselves can be a good thing, as an overarcing plotline. The devil just needs to be in the details. There needs to be variation, and stretching of the author's writing abilities, a new world created. It needs to read distinct - different.