HOW TO GET RID OF CLICHÉS
Let’s start the week off with a BANG! I don’t know about you, but wasn’t that the longest weekend in forever? One thing is for sure, it was hot as fire here in North Carolina, but I know that in other places it had to be as cold as ice.
Clichés, like the ones above, are weak, and whenever they are used, they skip off your reader’s brain like a stone on a lake. They never, ever, ever portray what you want.
The bottom line is, at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, will you lay it on the line and trade in your guts for glory?
See how pointless that is? It should be encouraging, but it’s not. The clichés dumb you down. We have got to be proactive about eradicating these from our writing. My friend and I laugh about a line that he used in his WIP.
Keep in mind that he was writing late at night, and he was just getting out as much information as his he could. But not once, not twice, but three times he used the phrase, “Read him like a book.” Oh, and this was all within the first five pages.
Yeah, we had a good time with that. It’s so awful because what he meant was, “Her every move seemed choreographed, and he ciphered through her barrage, slamming her on her back with one thrust from his bo.” Two very different statements.
One walks past your reader without ever looking back, and the other whispers in your reader’s ear, beckoning him to read on. Needless to say, he went with something similar to the latter.
I am reading an epic, as I mentioned before, and the author (who I won’t name due to reasons stated from the post a few days ago) used an AMAZING description. He said, “Fear filled his gut like a meal he could not digest.”
I can’t get that image out of my head. It works on so many levels, and I was floored by that one-liner. In fact, I think I’m still looking at the ceiling. We need to be creative like that, reaching into our literary change pockets and distributing one-hundred dollars bills to the masses.
I hope this helps. Give me your thoughts along with some common clichés. I’d love to hear them — especially the laughable ones.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow.
That is a very good line! I tweaked my WIP and had to give it a new opening. At the time, my main issue was just getting the new stuff down so I didn’t focus too much on the phrases I used, but as I was re-reading, I noticed that, like the second line in my new opening read something like “Mother’s voice sent a chill down her spine.”
Obviously not a keeper :p I nearly rammed my head into the nearest wall wondering how I could even type such a thing.
The opening now reads: “Those eight words, spoken in Mother’s no nonsense tone, washed over her like harbingers of a storm.”
better, me thinks 😉
WOW! So much better than chill down the spine. I really like that. And what’s great is like you said, when you read the common little phrases that sneak up on you, you’re just like, “How in the world did I ever write a line like that!” haha
duh. “read him like a book.” of course he could have used something much more creative and original. ahhhh – here’s one. “knew him like the back of my hand.” there ya go.
hahaha wow. yeah that’s on the same level as “read him like a book.” awful!
Also makes me think “How well do any of us actually know the backs of our hands!?”
so true! who really does???
“Revenge is a dish best served cold”. Said in one episode of Smallville, THREE times.
*sigh* that’s just sad and lame haha
You take the cake!
A previous creative writing tutor nicknamed me the Queen of Cliche….whoops lol. The thing is I use them so often when I talk. Being a born and bred Londoner, there’s a fine line between cliches and Cockney Rhyming Slang. I was brought up on them lol.
Really struggling to get out of the habit lol
haha that’s pretty funny. and yeah it’s tough because whenever we are writing, our nature voice tends to leak out
I guess I’ll just have to make all my characters Londoners, to get my cliche fix 😉
Lol! Good idea 😉