Character: The wise old wizard/hag/witch/herbalist/shaman/healer/etc.
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning, or effect, and even, to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. – Wikipedia
Today’s cliché is from the Grand List of Fantasy Clichés posted by Silver Blade Magazine, which in turn is based on a list was copyrighted by Kathy Pulver and J. S. Burke in 1998, which in turn was inspired by the The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clichés by Jon VanSickle.
As you can see, even the idea of a list of clichés to avoid is itself cliché.
I’m taking a slightly different approach. Ideas become clichés because they are so useful that everybody starts using them. You can turn that to your advantage, if you can take the idea and write it so well that it stops being cliché and becomes your own. And how do you do that? Practice!
Oh, it’s also useful to have such plots/characters/settings in your bag of writing “tricks” so that, when you get stuck or are facing a deadline or some such, you can reach in and pull one out and plop it down in your work in progress. Sure, you’ll need to shine it up and bash it a bit so that it fits the current story, but that’s all part of the process.
So. Today’s exercise is to take the above cliché and use it. If it’s a plot, make it the plot of a short story. If it’s a character, write a character sketch. If it’s a setting, write a scene involving that setting. In any case, aim for around 2,000 words.
And most of all, have fun with this! After all, it’s a cliché! 😀