Here is one of my favorite cliché checkers. Diana Wynne Jones put together this magnificent and quite entertaining guide for the world of Fantasy. She has gone through, defined and commented on every aspect of Fantasy that needs to need to be considered when writing the genre. For all those who are very familiar with all the aspects of this type of writing, it’s quite a hilarious read and very useful to help keep your writing fresh in a very pervasive genre.
It’s written a bit like an encyclopedia with picture coding, cross references and sections headed with quotes from Gnomic Utterances that poke fun of the various made up literary references that head chapters of many fantasy novels ( Example: “Doras II was somewhat an absent minded king. It is said that when Death came to summon him, Doras granted Death the usual formal audience and then dismissed him from his presence. Death was too embarrassed to return until many years later. –Ka’a Orto’o, Gnomic Utterances, LIV iii (Jones 49).
One of my favorite entries from this book is the one on Princesses, because I have found many fantasy novels contain one of these two types:
“PRINCESSES come in two main kinds:
2. Spirited and willful. A spirited Princess will be detectable by the scattering of freckles across the bridge of her somewhat tiptilted nose (OMT). Spirited Princesses will often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth. With surprising frequency these commoners turn out to be long-lost heirs to Kingdoms (See PRINCES)” (Jones 150).
All of the entries follow this format and tone to help readers better identify and spice up overdone aspects of Fantasy, and lemmie tell ya, it made finding my own clichés a lot easier!