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Is Cliché OK?

The word cliché is generally used to disvalue the originality of creative work but is it always necessarily a bad thing?

As a writer in progress, I have found that, throughout my last few years of university, it is virtually impossible not to use borrowed concepts and storylines from other works. This is not because I am a copycat or trying to use other people's ideas to add texture to my own , it is simply because I have enjoyed what others have written, and I see this as a motivator to replicate certain aspects in my own work. So is it this okay? And does it discredit your work to develop on an idea that has already been explored in a separate approach?

The reason I'm debating this is because it doesn't matter how hard I try to write something new and refreshing, I am always told that there are other writers who have previously wrote something similar. But is this such a bad thing? If the earlier work has been recognised enough for people to draw a comparison - doesn't that mean that the concept was successful in the first place? And if so, is it a total sin to develop that idea?

As an example, take the modern ideology of vampires. The first vampire stories were written in the early 1800's. Yet, there is a continuous exploration in literature on about them. Whether it is the romanticisation of vampires in YA fiction or modern adaptations of Bram Stoker's Dracula, we, as an audience are still drawn to the idea of a blood-drinking abomination and the fanatical storylines the folklore legend is paired with. In fact, Vampire fiction has now earned itself a whole genre on the majority of online reading databases and in a fair amount of book stores. However, we do not question whether this sort of fiction should follow some sort of code that compliments the original and oldest works - we simply pick it up and read it for pleasure.

So at what point does creative work become cliché? And when exactly does it become unoriginal? Does it depend on the experience of the reader, the writer or the context of the story itself? Does an idea or concept belong to one person alone or can it be shared by others?

Let me know what you think <3

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