I am working on a book. It is a fantasy book, taking place in a different world, with different races, different rules, and magic. Lots of magic. I enjoy working on it. I really do. But the amount of control it has over my emotions is just ridiculous.
I suppose I’m so emotionally attached because it’s my first foray into novel-writing. This story is my baby, the one I’ve been thinking about for years. It’s the story I go to when I’m bored, doing chores, falling asleep…It’s a soap opera in its seventeenth season, constantly playing in my head during the lesser parts of the day. I’ve lived this story, I know the characters more intimately than I know my own friends and family. So it is very, very hard to write this story and do it justice.
Today I was researching magic systems. I want to be sure that the magic in my book is interesting and believable, and that is has rules and limitations so it’s not a dues ex machina just waiting to happen. It seemed like such a simple goal. But then, I stumbled upon an article that really tore me up. It was a post about Do’s and Don’t’s of magic. It basically listed a bunch of clichéd ideas that are either overused or just boring. And it made me oh-so-sad.
I admit it: I like a lot of clichés. I like a downtrodden person rising to the top. I like rooting for an obvious hero. I like reading stories where the protagonist is better than other people at certain things. Is this a bad thing? When I look at it, my story is full of fantasy clichés and it leaves me wondering if it’s any good at all. I thought I had gotten over the whole “Is my story a special snowflake?” phase, but apparently not.
But the more I think about it, the better I feel. So what if my story needs a little more polish? I enjoy working on it and I see it as an accomplishment that I have discovered the clichés in the first place. It means I’m doing my job, digging into the work to see the framework that holds it all together. And if I have to devote a little more time daydreaming some not-so-cliché ideas into the piece, well, I suppose I could make that sacrifice.