Personal cliches

Posted on | January 16, 2009

I have noticed that I have a rather odd cliche’ in my stories. I don’t think it’s a particular tic of mine, but this morning while I was trying to figure out what to do with Officer Orin and Anaria Abbas (oh, dear, that’s a terrible last name; I shall have to change it), the crux of which is that the upstanding officer learns that Miss Abbas is running around town with a very short skirt and no underwear. So, how does the officer get a good upskirt glance of the rather airheaded Miss Abbas? How do I get him down to the ground?

He slips on the ice, falls and hurts himself, of course. A groaning turn over onto his back, which gives an full inventory of Anaria’s glories. A laceration on his forehead gives Anaria an excuse to bend down, bringing him an even better view and arousing other senses. And her care for him is a kind of intimacy forced by circumstance.

Except that I’ve done this before.  A few times, I think.  Furry & Nicolai had a “caring for the injured” scene, as do Linia & Shandy in the Honest Impulse novel.  It seems too convenient, or maybe I’m just noticing it more.

Maybe I don’t read enough romance. (I haven’t been reading romance recently, anyway; historical non-fiction and Joe Abercrombie’s nifty The First Law has been my reading stack this week.) Is caring for the injured as a pretense for getting the characters into physical contact, with barriers lowered by circumstance, a common trope in romance? Or is it just me?

Do you have a personal cliche that you’d be uncomfortable using again?


One Response to “Personal cliches”

  1. Falbert
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

    I’m not a big fan of romance novels, but do read them from time to time, as a change from more serious fiction and non-fiction. And I would say that ‘nursing the sick/injured’ is indeed pretty common within that genre.

    If I recall correctly, I think it was used in probably at least a quarter of the last dozen romances that I’ve read, probably a third, though with a full-length novel’s spacious room to play around in, the ‘nursing’ part occupied only a small part of the whole. I do recall seeing it used either way, with the male or the female character being injured, and needing care from the other, but more often the male needing care, and his tender nurse becoming caring, and then attracted, towards him, as she tends his wounds and nurses him back to health.

    In the confines of a short story, it would, necessarily, I think, be a major focus, since the short story covers approximately the same span of words as a couple of chapters does in a novel. I think it works out okay between Jofuran and Nicolai, in their story, partly because it is part of a larger story arc, to be read in close sequence.

    Otherwise, I think that I’d limit the cooing and turtledoving around such an event. Last time I was ill with the flu with an SO around, I only got checked in the morning to see that there were sufficient fluids and snacks stocked near the bed, then it was off to work. After all, I was pretty likely to recover. As just a touch of ‘life’ to the story, I think that it could work, where the downed officer just needs an adhesive bandage to cover a small scrape received while falling. As a plot device to get him to see what you want him to see – works for me, so long as you don’t dwell on it. Like the McGuffin, introduce it, then move on to the action.

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