Using Stereotypes and Cliches to Add Depth to Characters

Writers are often encouraged to avoid clichés and stereotypes because readers might find the content or characters boring. However, some writers are able to use these elements to their advantage. Editor Helga Schier explains how writers can use clichés and stereotypes effectively in their stories. Even the most overused clichés were once a descriptive metaphor that clearly communicated an idea. With this in mind, Schier says it’s okay and even helpful to use clichés, especially if you’re drawing from your own experiences. This is also true about stereotypes. She enjoys finding the nugget of truth in stereotypes and using that to describe relatable aspects of a character or add depth. A stereotype can open the door for conflict and plot twists without needing to overexplain because of assumptions made by the reader. Listen to the clip below to learn more about how to use and expand upon clichés and stereotypes.

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