It’s an age-old writers’ question: What do I do about clichés and well-worn tropes? This month, we’ve asked authors about the clichés and tropes they find themselves falling back on, and how they fix, invert, or embrace them. Today, Kristyn Kusek Lewis, author of the forthcoming Save Me, examines the problem of using a tired trope:
CLICHÉ: The visit back to the main character’s childhood home
You can’t go home again, or so the old saying goes. And when it comes to overused tropes, it may in fact be true. Sending your character down memory lane and straight up the front steps (or dirt road, or apartment steps) to his or her childhood home is a device that writers love and for good reason.
Even the most well-adjusted of us know that a trip home is fraught with emotion and ripe for examination, which may explain why entire novels have been written on the premise of a homecoming. There are the tricky family ties, the threats of running into the people who knew you when, the memories—argh, the memories—that seem to lurk in every room of the house that you were raised in…