Call in the Angry Villagers: 10 Clichés We Can Live Without

The Simpsons
  1. The Heroine with a Herb Basket: She works in the kitchen to brew the herbal concoctions with which she heals the tenants!  And the neighbors!  And, of course, the noble, injured hero who just happens to get oh-so-nobly injured right in her neighborhood.  The Herb Basket Heroine is frequently aided in her activities by…
  2. The Absent-Minded Father: He may be an historian or a scientist or maybe even a vicar, but I’ll guaran-double-damn-tee he’s distracted and managed by an ever-so-resourceful managing heroine daughter who, if she doesn’t have a herb basket, is a secret columnist or novelist.  But, whatever she does, there’s a very good chance her hero will be suffering from…
  3. Napoleonic War Wounds:  Be they of the mental or the physical variety, the noble hero laid low by Deep Dark Secrets of War which leave him Tortured and Wounded and ever so ready for those herbs.  The hero’s secrets may or may not have something to do with his sideline as …
  4. The Secret Nobleman Spy: I get it.  Spying is dashing – Sean Connery and all that.  And it worked the first 50 times I read it.  Or maybe even the first 75.  But can we just move on now?  It’s even worse when the nobleman spy is saddled with one of those…
  5. Silly Hero Names: What do a man named Sin in an historical and a romantic suspense hero called Rafe have in common?  Silly, consonant-laden, one syllable names.  They spell masculine.  They spell sex.  They spell that Old Spice guy on a horse.  I’m not asking for a hero named Marvin, but, gee, can we have a Dave or a Sam mixed in occasionally?  And Dave or Sam go ever so well with…
  6. The Spunky Small Town Girl: Small town = Good, City = Bad.  As a cliché it is borderline offensive, but that doesn’t stop authors from peopling all those small town with witty and wise June and Ward Cleavers.  The virtuous heroine (so lovely in her natural beauty that she requires only a dash of lip gloss and a swipe of mascara) leaves that perfect small town for the den of iniquity that is the Big City wherein she finds a rake (definitely with a consonant-laden name that spells sex – or that Old Spice guy on a horse) who is himself saddled with…
  7. The Selfish, Vain, Too Nasty To Be Believed “Other” Woman: She all but hisses – that designer dud-wearing, expensively coiffed ho.  The hero, of course, doesn’t see through her – until, that is, the Pure and Shining Virtue of the Small Town Heroine rocks his world and breaks the hold the Selfish, Vain, Too Nasty To Be Believed “Other” Woman once had on his dick.  Of course, the Spunky Small Town Girl (see number 6) may be subjected to…
  8. The Obligatory Ho Up the Heroine Scene: Usually limited to romantic suspense, the set up involves the professional woman heroine (who may or may not hail from a small town) being somehow required to put on a skin tight mini, stilettos, and more than a dash of lip gloss and a swipe of mascara.  This is offensive enough, but even more so when the professional woman (and Elizabeth Lowell once did it to a freakin’ judge) enjoys the disguise.   If I were a heroine ho’d up by an author I might have to retaliate by turning into a…
  9. Heroine Who Ignores the Hero’s Advice and Thus Gets Into Big Trouble: This is such a (sigh) trope that I’m surprised when a heroine doesn’t act like a spunky, I’ll-just-show-you-mister idiot.  And last…
  10. The Hero or Heroine Still Bearing Scars from High School Whose Life Goal (15 Years After High School) Is Revenge: Note to authors seeking to solicit sympathy for Characters Traumatized by High School:  We were all traumatized by high school.  But, you know, we just get over it.

So, how about you?  What clichés light your torch?

- Sandy AAR

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54 Responses to “Call in the Angry Villagers: 10 Clichés We Can Live Without”

  1. Magdalen says:

    Oh, and here’s one: In a series with three or four heroines, one is blond, one is brunette, and one’s a redhead. Always. (If there are four, you get two shades of brunette, or one’s got black hair.)

  2. [...] And here are some miscellaneous wonders with which to lard the book. [...]

  3. My sister Erika got me hooked on band of brothers and now this shit is gettin’ too fuckin weird. Vampires, psychics, shapeshifters, werewolves, Gods :|

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