Cliche or or Not Cliche
The past few years have been awash with zombie fiction. While it is evident, given book and film sales, that this particular niche-genre hasn’t lost its luster, most of the die-hard fans are begging for something new.
The problem is it’s getting more difficult with each published work to get away from writing the same thing that a rival author has printed. With each story, something is the same as in another story. A character, a setting, a plotline.
Tell it once and it’s great. Twice it’s redundant. Three times it’s cliché’, and it just gets worse from there.
So, as writers, what are we to do?
Come up with new stuff.
Yes, easy to contemplate, but difficult to exercise. We are running out of fresh perspective, and many concepts that we envision are
already out there, or will be before we go to print.
I’m one of those die-hards mentioned above, and you know what? I really enjoy ninety percent of the stories I read in this genre. I love these tales because at their core they are all terrifying. A disease that turns us into them.
What if we made the old stuff new? Put a new face on it.
One cliche is the motorcycle gang. Who puts evil motorcycle gangs in zombie stories anymore? I put them in a story recently and people loved it. To be fair, some people loved it because I put a new spin on it, but some others ripped me a new one for using bikers.
I tried to embrace the cliché, using it to my advantage.
Typically, gangs are intent on continuing or profiting from the already rampant death and destruction resulting from a ZPOC. Not so much in my novel.
“…no self –respecting, homicidal scumbag would ride some of the bikes in the procession. There were big touring bikes, rice rockets, and even a Ducati racing motorcycle with the Harleys. There were women and kids, and even a bird in a cage. These were families.”My biker gang was anything but evil. They were good people looking to help others.
Overall the story was well received, and I realize that pleasing everyone is impossible, but still my attempt to turn cliché on its back failed in some eyes, and I was driven to re-effort my attack on a lack of original thought.
This division of good to bad reviews fueled my attempts to infect the reviewers that disliked the cliché with something different that they might enjoy.
I started late with writing, but I’m going to finish strong. In addition to new concepts, I’m going to make the cliché work for me, and quite frankly, I hope you do too. I have an intrinsic love for the zombie tale, and if I do, so do others. Let’s make them happy.
Rich Restucci is a practicing chemist living in Pembroke Massachusetts. He resides with his lovely wife, three children, and a permanent hangover. He enjoys drinking beer, stocking up on weapons and supplies, playing with explosives and reading/writing anything zombie related.
His first novel, Run is now available.
Rich's work can be found on the fiction section of Homepage of the Dead, or you could check out his blog on Zombie Fiend.com. Rich has been fortunate to have a few stories published, one in the anthology Dead Worlds 7, two in the anthology Feast or Famine: A Banquet of Tales for the Zombie Prepper.