Friday, June 3, 2011

Clichés in Kids' Fiction

In the November/December issue of SCBWI’s member bulletin, author Joelle Anthony talks about clichés in YA (young adult) and MG (middle grade) fiction. She's not saying they're bad, just that they're overused. The fact is, they work for plenty of reasons (readers can relate, readers enjoy the fantasy, etc.). New writers may want to try to avoid them, though—you know, try to be a little more original.

Some of Anthony's finds include:

1.    Main characters who hate math
2.    Guys with gorgeous green eyes
3.    Main characters who don't have a cell phone, while everyone else in the world does
4.    Main characters who describe their looks while gazing in the mirror
5.    Main characters with only one friend (and then they have a fight)

I thought this article was fascinating. Really insightful and useful. Now, I can’t read a YA or MG book without noticing clichés, too.

Here are a few of my own finds:

1.    Books where the main (female) character has a boyfriend by the end
2.    Books set in small, walkable towns, where young characters can safely wander alone
3.    Girls who are pretty, but don’t know it
4.    Main characters whose lives are transformed from dull normalcy to a much more exciting reality (ie. She's really a princess with superpowers!)

Now, it’s your turn. What kinds of clichés do you find in YA and middle grade fiction?

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Glad the article spoke to you. It's quite fun to write. Did you know it's a follow-up to the original article I wrote four years ago? It's on my website if you're interested.

    Nice to meet you!