Kellie points to a couple of quiz-things (here and here) that test out one's fantasy-novel-in-progress to see how clicheed it is, and I figured, heck, why not jump through the paces with regard to The Promised King.
First, there's a quiz to test one's heroes for clichees. On the "Hero" side, I checked all the marks for Gwynwhyfar that are in any way applicable (in my opinion), and she came out with a score of 60, which is held to be unacceptably clicheed. Funny thing is, I only checked off about ten total boxes in the entire list (and it's a long list), so the ones I did check off must be pretty weighted. I'd differ with a few interpretations, though: for instance, if your character is female, you're supposed to check off if she "belongs to a religion that glorifies the sacred feminine". Well, Gwyn's actually preparing to enter the Sisterhood of Dona, the Goddess, so that counts. But, in my world, this isn't some secret female-cult open only to women, and there isn't a lot of tension between this sect and the "male sect" that's devoted to a male god. There are male priests, "Brothers", who serve Dona as well, so I'm not comfortable with the weight assigned to checking this mark. Also, the questions about the character's sex life don't even apply, because I just haven't thought about it at all. I don't know if Gwyn is a virgin or not, because it just isn't important to my story.
Anyway, onto the villains. The Promised King has several villains, operating at different levels (and eventually their own goals will turn out to not be totally aligned, either), but I went with the one we see most often, as opposed to the evil God who lurks behind it all. That would be King Cwerith of Gwynedd. He comes in at a 44, which appears to be dangerously clicheed. Again, not sure I buy this -- I had to mark that yes, in all honesty, he does hail from a "dark, imposing keep", but that keep is never an actual location of any of the events in my story, so why count it?
Finally, there's the fantasy novelist's exam, which is a series of yes/no questions. Scoring here is simple: answering any question in the affirmative constitutes failure and determines that the book-in-progress is crap. Well, OK, then. Of course, the quiz pretty much rules out just about the entire Epic Fantasy genre, so if we're trying to cull out the Jordan-esque crap, I don't think we're doing anybody any favors if we jettison the George R.R. Martin's of the genre as well.
But specifically, a few questions here bug me. Several refer to the common fantasy thing where older, mystical characters speak in vague, riddle-like terms about what is to come. Yeah, I have characters that do that -- but most of them actually admit that they speak like that because they have no idea what the prophecies really mean. That's something, isn't it? I'm also pleased that my book has only two "races", and none of them are elvish in nature; the "Fair Folk" are, well, basically humans who are a bit more magically endowed, and that's it.
So all in all, I think I come out fairly well. I'm not claiming in any way that TPK isn't derivative, since it's an Arthurian fantasy and all, but at the very least I can pride myself in not just transcribing in purple prose the events of one of my former AD&D campaigns.