Cliche Dodging: The Heroes’ Council

Council of ElrdonI’ve reached a point in FRAGILE GODS that’s annoying me. And the reason it’s annoying me is that it’s been done to death.

The first dangers have been survived, the early challenges surmounted. Now the author needs to explain to the reader some of the wider politics of our fictional world, while the heroes need to understand their course of action for the next book (or in some cases, three).

Enter the ¬†Heroes’ Council, where high ranking members various factions congregate to explain to protagonist (or have him explain to them) just what to do next. Tempers may flare, sides will quarrel, heroic sacrifices might be offered.

Tolkien had the Council of Elrond. George Lucas used war rooms congregated around a holographic presentation, or in the prequels, the Jedi Council.

Brandon Sanderson’s version was to have a heist gangleader outline ideas on a chalkboard while his crew chimed in.

I’ve reached a point in the plot where just such a council has occurred, and I’m thoroughly nonplussed by the idea. Yet in terms of plot, it was necessary; Azai is heading north specifically to convince several tribe chiefs of his plan. And the big chieftain would be out of character not to involve trusted advisors and friends.

Are there alternatives to the cliche scene?

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