Archive for October 5th, 2007

Oct 05 2007

Combatting Cliches

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I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Short post.

Cliche

Character One: “Give it up or I’ll pound on you.”

Character Two: “Is that a threat?”

Character One: “No… that’s a promise.”

My Version

(Agent Orange speaking to a Social Justice League director about League mutants waging an insurgency against city sewer-cleaners)

Agent Orange: “The sewers, of course, teem with mutant alligators and rats and terrapins and whatever else is stupid enough to want to live in New York City but smart enough not to pay New York rent. Municipal sewer drills have been repeatedly attacked. I won’t say that Leaguers were responsible and I definitely won’t say that they weren’t. But I will say that if a municipal employee is bruised, that the leathernecks that clean out the sewers won’t be crocodiles.”

Leaguer: “Is that a threat?”

Orange: “Fast on the uptake, aren’t you?”

(In case you missed the pun, leatherneck can refer to either a Marine or a certain NYC-sewer-dwelling crocodile). I vaguely doubt that a third of my audience got the Marine reference and probably less know the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character. However, I do expect that a large majority of my readers would get the TMNT references in “mutant alligators and rats and terrapins” living in the NY sewers even if they didn’t know that a terrapin is a turtle.

A Brooklynite writes:

I don’t know what you’ve got against New York’s sewers. They’re a lot cleaner than Chicago politics.

Touche. Go jump down some more pipes or something.

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