What is a genre? What genre is your story and how do you avoid cliché? We discuss this and more in the latest video below.
Broadly speaking the main genres are-
Within each genre, there are also sub-genres. For example comedy can include mockumentary (This Is Spinal Tap), parody (Airplane!), romantic (Notting Hill), farce (Ealing comedies such as The Ladykillers or The Lavender Hill Mob).
Genres have certain expectations. It is important to know the difference between a convention and a cliché. For example, in an action film a convention would be a chase scene, whether it would be involving cars, ships, tanks etc. The cliché would be the hubcaps falling off the car as it speeds round, or someone saying “I have a bad feeling about this” then this becomes a cliché.
So how do we avoid clichés?
The best way to avoid clichés is to read up around a genre. For example, if you were going to write a superhero film you wouldn’t watch just Marvel films, you would watch the DC ones as well. Some people say if you write you can’t enjoy films as you end up analysing them. However I would dispute this, because if something is engaging enough then you should be able to enjoy it.
However, the temptation to put a new spin on things can lead to the other extreme. For example, trying do a Pulp Fiction style fractured narrative is a lot harder than it looks. The best way (at least to start) is to focus on the story you are telling with an effective structure.
If you would like a more in depth look at films/genre I recommend the visual essays of Lindsay Ellis and Renegade Cut. Remember when writing to think about what you see as a reader/audience member expect to see. If you have any specific questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
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