The longer I've been in the writing industry (with not much knowledge gained due to my own deteriorating skills of comprehension), the more I realised that I am getting lazier.
Once upon a time, I promised myself that I would not be writing clichés. So I kept pouncing the word out in my books, saying how cliché this and that thing is. But then I realised that I have somehow created my own brand of clichés.
Now, where readers were originally surprised to who the heroine ended with, they anticipated every single supporting characters.
The protagonists were anticipated to be strong-minded, sarcastic females with no-nonsense attitude towards her surroundings.
The men should be weird and out of the norms.
The protagonists would have loyal bestfriends who would be there for her, either to listen to her woes or just giving it straight to her face of how annoying she is.
The girl would not end up with the same guy she was with earlier.
The girl's family members are weirdos consisting of a laidback father, a nagging mother and siblings who sass.
I have realised this while writing VALENTINA NERVOSA, and yet I kept doing it. I think it was both intentional and unintentional. Intentional because I hate weepy do-gooder characters with no sense of self-defence or personal demons. Unintentional because sometimes I work on auto-pilot and my auto-pilot identity is a snarky person who hate weepy do-gooder characters with no sense of self-defence or personal demons.
That's why I love Cecelia Ahern. I know that some are saying that she has not written a book as great as her earlier works like "PS I Love You" and "If You Could See Me Now". But I still love her because she always write different things.
"The Time of My Life" is my personal favourite, not only because it felt like my life, but because of how it was told. Instead of telling a story of how a broken-hearted girl was unable to move on, it takes a perspective of Life itself, that came to see the protagonist as a personification of a sick man (I always imagine my Life as Benedict Cumberbatch) and pressures her to move on with her life.
Every single book has a different concept, though mostly revealed the same message of love and loss, cherishing moments and having no regrets. "PS I Love You" sends the message through post-humous notes, "Where Rainbows End" (also known as "Rosie Dunne") was written in an epistolary technique, "If You Could See Me Now" tells its stories through the existence of an imaginary friend, while "A Place Called Here" realises the mysteries behind our lost items. "The Gift" tells the story through time, "Thanks for the Memories" through blood transfusions, "The Book of Tomorrow" through a padlocked leather-bound book she found in a moving library. Meanwhile, "One Hundred Names" tells it through the experience of several different people, while "How to Fall in Love" uses self-help books as the concept of storytelling.
"Girl in the Mirror"? Well, that story scared me.
But none of the book feels the same despite sending similar messages. It tells you to cherish your life in various ways, various words and multiple philosophies.
And I hope to do the same. NOT copying Cecelia Ahern's style, no. That is the biggest sin in writing - copying other writers. But I hope that I can maintain my trademark, in which readers will know that it's me writing it even if I didn't put my name on it, while at the same time not being too obvious that they are able to tell what will happen next.
I don't want to be the kind of writer who just admit that I write cliches just to justify my lack of creativity or so people would not expect much of me.
Wish me well, O my beloved readers... (ni paksa orang ke ape?)