Bouquet de fleurs dans un vase,
Jean-Pierre Lays (1825-1887),
oil on canvas, 1881.
Writers are justly harangued about cliches.
About stereotypes, about flat characters, about tired, repetitive plots and language beaten to death with a broom handle.
And we know how some agents/editors react to a story that opens with a dream or with the main character glumly observing themselves in the morning mirror. Or gazing out the window before aspirating their morning coffee.
Etc. I think there's a list.
The cliche scene.
I'd like to add another: the hand-wringing dilemma scene.
The character paces about, whispers aloud, sits on something convenient and slumps in despair. Female character sometimes throw something , then fling themselves down and sob.
We are supposed to experience sympathy, tension, until the writer reveals the terribly difficult choices facing the Muttering Mannequins.
Dull as your last bind date.
The moment the scene is introduced, you can predict the verbs.
And not just at beginnings.
If we're not careful, the little buggers may show up anywhere in an MS -- when we take our carefully crafted and individual character and force him to conform and react to a stereotype, to a bland, conventional perception of how people act in certain situations.