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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rome Wasn't Built in A . . . Well, You Know

I don't know who you are, but I can tell you something about yourself. If you cringed when you read that title - you're probably a writer. If you thought Well, isn't that the most clever title ever?, then thanks for the compliment, but you, ma'am or sir, are NO writer.

I can take it a step further. If you cringed, you're probably a member of Living Writers Collective because if I've taught you people nothing over the past couple of years, I've at least taught you to take a big, old, jagged knife and gut those clichés, then toss their horrid, kicking, and screaming forms into a raging fire pit.

Whew! That feels better. There's nothing quite like taking out a little aggression on the cliché.

So, please, for the sake of my writing sanity, no clichés please.

Unless, of course, you're Stephen King or Cormac McCarthy or Joyce Carol Oates or J. K. Rowling or Anne Rice or one of the many other uber successful authors who can get away with such things.

Clichés are also okay if it's a character trait. For example, if you have a character that just likes to speak in clichés. In this case, use it in that character's dialogue, and make sure it's the character's speaking style and not forced in. And whatever you do, don't overdo it.

There are exceptions, but make sure your exception is successful, otherwise your writing will appear unprofessional.

Can you think of other times when a cliché might be okay?

Post by: LWC Director, Karen Aldridge. Visit her personal blog at My Writing Loft.


Cece Dockins said...

It's been a coon's age since I've read such an informative article on cliches in writing, but that's just how the cookie crumbles.

Living Writer's Collective said...

Well, aren't you just the cat's pajamas - making me laugh my head off and all. Oh, this is too much fun.