tuō kējiù 脱窠臼
This term means that a writer should not fall into old patterns when writing a drama. He should not only avoid stereotypes of previous works but also resist attempts to do so in his own creations. The term was proposed by late Ming to early Qing drama theorist Li Yu (1611-1680) in his Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions. In his view, dramatic creations should be original in both content and wording, and previous works should not be blindly followed. Only such works deserve to be called chuanqi (legendary story). This call to avoid stereotypes was made to encourage creativity and variety in artistic pursuit to delight the audience.
The greatest difficulty in writing lyrics, I believe, lies in ridding them of stereotypes, and the thing not to do when writing such lyrics is to copy old stereotypes. (Li Yu: Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions)
Not that only the works by our predecessors have become largely obsolete; even those I myself wrote yesterday need to be improved when examined today. Only when I no longer see today what I saw yesterday do I realize that what I haven’t seen is new and what I have seen is old. (Li Yu: Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions)