Local Hero Saves Cliche from Burning Manuscript

my power ranger
my power ranger

Down the street from us is a house with the 10 Commandments posted in the yard. When an Obama/Biden sign popped up next to it, my husband and I drove around the block just to make sure we weren’t imagining things. We had our notions about the kind of people who want the 10 Commandments in their yard. Well, didn’t those folks put us in our place?

In fiction we’ve got to avoid the stereotype and cardboard cutout. Our villains need depth and so do our heroes. But sometimes we don’t even realize we’ve created a cliche. Someone needs to point out–who would’ve thought those two signs could go together?

6 thoughts on “Local Hero Saves Cliche from Burning Manuscript

  1. I love giving characters the chance to do exactly the opposite of what is expected of them … Trying to find you at NaNo, the search facility is still down! Meanwhile come on over – I have something for you on the blog!

  2. Holy Cow, I wish that was a stereotype that was broken more often! I am all for spirituality and even religion, as long as they aren’t trying to force me to believe what they believe. It seems so clear to me that the correct thing is to keep religion out of the government… but this isn’t about writing.

    Although I do touch on themes of religion, government, control of the masses, spirituality and thinking for one’s self. Come to think of it, I should make the government sponsored religion into a much bigger deal than it is. The ruling class don’t really buy into it, but they use it to get the people to follow their rules. Hmm. Where’s my notebook?

  3. Had one of those real-life moments of reversed expectations myself this week, also election-related. I’ve known a friend here at work for 15 years, and because of the email she forwards sometimes (especially every four years) I’ve always assumed she and I were at opposite ends of the political spectrum. So I stayed away from political discussions, 100%.

    On Wednesday she noticed I was in an especially chipper mood. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I just can’t help it, I have to say something even though I know we’ve got different political opinions…” I stopped when I saw the look on her face. “Er, don’t we?” I asked.

    “You might be surprised,” she said.

    Turns out she’s just a sloppy email forwarder; she was as giddy as I was on the day after. I felt like a complete jerk. “Mr. Open-Minded,” y’know?

  4. I wanted to shock my whole neighborhood by putting up an Obama sign, but I guess that’s pretty narrow-minded of me too. Without ever talking to people, we all assume too much.

  5. I’ve been stereotyped most of my life because of my religion….and yet, though I try not to do it to others, my “openmind” is as good at stereotyping people as those “close minded” ones….and yes, I am being ironic here.

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