I have not done a totally random post in a while, so I have decided to sit before my laptop and write this because it has been piling up in my head for some time now. And after a little research, I think it’s time to unload the crappy things you and I have written. Yes, I include myself because I have written crap and might still be found writing crap (may never admit it though).
Today, I will not just be dishing out the dirt, I’ll be listing clichés and every other BS that we often have used.
In no particular order, I begin:
- 1. Tall. Dark. Handsome
Punctuated for serious emphasis. He can’t be anything less. *clears throat* For real? Can’t he be short, fair and ugly? Or fat and oily? Or tall and stupid? Or even the lovechild of Whoopi and Segun Arinze? Why must he be tall, dark and handsome? And ehm, Nigerians, we are already dark here. I mean, with the likes of Wande Coal, what type of darkness are we looking for again na? Somebody please explain to me.
- 2. Making love all through the night
For what? Okay, has anyone counted how many hours are contained in ‘all through the night’? For the sake of practicality, let’s erase the time gap between 8pm to 11pm when normalings sleep. Sexlings usually do the bad thing between 12am to 6am (and sleep in the wee hours of the morning). As you have noticed, the time frame is six freaking hours! Six hours of sex! Who does that? I am yet to even hear of a sex scene in a porn movie lasting for two hours.
- 3. Character forming amnesia
Story builds up and by now you have fallen in love with the character but something happens, either an accident or attempted murder and the character goes into a coma and wakes up with amnesia. Most times, this character has a love interest and now has forgotten about them only to fall in love with them again in the end. Or the character could have some very serious truth he/she was about to share when the unfortunate event occurs and now amnesia has wiped it all away. *sigh* Can’t the character just die from the amnesia?
- 4. Evil twin
This one is classic. I remember Ramsey Nouah’s Dangerous Twins that was a hit at some point. What was that all about? One good, one bad? Can’t they both be bad like P-Square and have kids all over? Can’t they both do mischief with their twinness like real twins do? Why must one be bad?
- 5. Unnecessary sex
Okay, pause. This is becoming a disturbing trend especially amongst Nigerian writers. It’s like we have just discovered sex and in a very raunchy way. Methinks some of these writers are just writing out their fantasies. And what is more appalling is that it all sounds alike. As if it is the same sex scene witnessed and told by different people. Come on, erotica should be an art, not a bad taste in the mouth; and like every part of a good story, it should have meaning and be part of the entire plot in the long run. Don’t just give people reason to wank while reading your work.
- 6. Something-inches long penis
Still on the sex issue. What’s up with accurately getting the measurement of a male character’s erect penis? Who measures these things? It is funnier if the story is told in the first person narrative and she is female. Is she really measuring the length with her invisible ruler? Na wa o.
- 7. Love triangles
This one has been over-flogged. Two people are in a relationship but there’s that one person outside that one of the two is supposed to be loving. And I’m thinking, isn’t life not more complicate than that? Why end in a triangle? Make it a long chain. The triangle thing is really annoying… Oh, shoot! I think I’m very guilty of this. Moving on quickly to the next.
- 8. What did you want to talk about?
Okay, as much as this happens in real life (even with me so many times), it has been overused in movies and I hate to see it written. For instance, Bola walks to Cynthia and goes, “I have something to tell you.” And Cynthia says, “what is it?” But Ali walks in and reveals new info and leaves. So Cynthia turns to Bola and asks again, “what were you trying to tell me?” But Bola replies, “Oh, it’s nothing serious. Forget it.” Arrrrghh!
- 9. Film tins
I know Lord of the Rings might have been the best movie you watched but it doesn’t mean you should do your own version in words. Leave the TV fantasy for TV fantasy. If you know nothing about sci-fi, why try writing it just because you were inspired by George Lucas? Let’s not forget that we have our own UFOs here in Nigeria. Inspire yourself by coming out around two in the night and watch them move through time and space. That story will sell more than the movies.
- 10. Throwing up
So your character has a bun in the oven and the only way she goes about it is by throwing up? Back in the day, they fainted. Maybe in the future, they’ll just die.
Typical scene: The patient tells the doctor, “Doctor, I’m here for a pregnancy test. I think I’m pregnant.” Doctor asks, “how do you know?” Patient smiles. “I died yesterday morning and this morning too. In short I have been dying for the past one week.”
Who doesn’t love those cool female characters that go to their men and say, “Bros, I’m pregnant. And I am keeping it. You better start arranging space in your house for two more.” For real though, this is what happens in life.
- 11. Well-shaped, fully-endowed woman
Just like her male counterpart who is tall, dark and handsome, this one has it all going for her too. Oh, and she can cook, is financially independent and can rock a man’s bed like a boat on a stormy sea. This is of course, every Nigerian man’s dream woman but in reality how many Nigerian women have all of this in their CV? Let us not lie. Where are the well-shaped women? I see more fufu-pregnant girls than I see real life preggies. The flat-stomach chicks are extinct! Thinking of it now, I think writers are keeping the memory of them alive. But let me not talk too much. I’m also guilty here.
- 12. More cliché characters
Wicked mother-in-law, abusive husband, witch housemaid, starving artist, runs girl, barren woman, molesting stepfather or uncle, cheating boyfriend, loaded hot dude (probably tall, dark and handsome too), struggling single mother, aunty who always discovers hidden pregnancy, wicked stepmother, and finally, this last one just cracks me up – madman who somehow tells the truth to some wayward person through a slap or some prophetic, madman gibberish.
Coming to the end of this, I’m discovering that there is more to talk about on this issue. So I think I’ll do a comeback with Part 2 sometime when the wind blows me to try again. The point of this exercise is to tell writers out there that there are stories yet untold. Life itself is cliché but we can always have that twist in our stories. Like I said above, we all fall into the trap. And I think I might have omitted one or two points because I found myself guilty of them. *covering face*
But there’s no excuse for me writing crap and I hereby promise to think deeper and bring out something new and original.
How about you?
Was the above question cliché? *tongue out
Please, use the comment box to share classic cliché pieces you have used and have found other writers often using.