I find the words “Write the book you would want to read” help me finish a lot of scenes I normally would be ashamed to put my name on. I say this because I have been worried of late about some of the overly sentimental and cliché scenes I’ve written in order to move my characters forward.
For example, some character development requires a mechanism for an individual to learn through their own intuition. Currently I’ve been working on scenes where my main character, Jonathan, dreams of the dead father figure that he idolizes. The father is of course “dead” so what I am really writing is my main character talking to his own subconscious self. In other words, his mind is disguising itself as a figure that Jonathan respects in order to make him come to terms with knowledge he already has within himself, but needs to have on a conscious instead of a subconscious level.
What I keep asking myself as I write such a cliché is, would this bother me if I was reading some other authors novel? Would I roll my eyes? Would I have to resist the urge to throw the book across the room? The answer was an easy “no, not at all, I’d find it moving.” So what I’m getting at here is that it doesn’t really matter if I’m making the reader go through an experience they have had in a hundred other books and movies, because if they are anything like me, they want to go through this experience again. Hopefully, my fresh character having the experience for his own reasons is what will matter.