This month of daily writing advice will include tidbits, tips, and sometimes tricks. This isn’t a replacement for editing or book coaching, it’s meant as a jumping off point for exploration and thought! I hope it helps! ~Amy
It’s Time To Break Up With Cliches
Look no farther than the definition to see why cliches area no-no when you’re writing.
“a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought”
This is why I say to my writers that cliches are inadvertently lazy writing. YOU DIDN’T THINK OF IT. It might say what you mean but it was someone else’s cleverness that has become so common that people roll their eyes when they hear it. The last thing you want is your agent/editor/reader to think you’re unoriginal. Right?
Take a cliche and make it your own.
My daughter did this when she was little — so it was obviously an accident, but it totally works! (Proud mom here)
She tasted something she didn’t like (I don’t remember what) and instead of saying “It’ not my cup of tea” (she must have heard me say it) she said: “IT’S NOT MY CUPCAKE.”
It might have been a mistake — and super cute coming from a kid — but you get the idea. We know what it means because of the relation to the original cliche–but it’s totally original.
Try it. It might just become your cupcake!
And because rules are meant to be broken, cliches can work well in dialogue, because people use cliches when the speak. My personal advice? (That’s why you’re here right?) Still be careful. It’s always better to use your words rather than someone else’s.
See you tomorrow!