Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Doesn't Cliche You Can Only Make You Stronger

Dan Santow posted a useful list of clichés and ways to avoid them. I was so entertained by those that I went off and discovered Cliché Web.

For those of you who don’t know what constitutes a cliché, check the definition at the Southhill Education Centre’s fiction terminology page. Read some of the other terms, while you’re there. Some of the more obtuse definitions are difficult to follow, but others are explained clearly, even eloquently, and may help you in your writing.

Reading through lists of clichés helps you recognize over-used phrases in your own writing. Sure, you can laugh at the bizarre terms that people use, but you can also tune your own mental editor to hear clichés in your own work and that of others.

Why do you care about using clichés when you write? Because they rob your piece of originality. You are parroting concepts that your readers have seen a thousand times instead of creating a unique mental picture.

Edit these worn phrases out of your writing and replace them with fresh comparisons and imagery. People view cliché use as laziness on your part or as a lack of creativity. You want people to have neither of those are perceptions of your writing, regardless of whether you are creating a work of fiction or writing an article about a well-known topic.