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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thinkin' Thursday - Burnt Toast in a Blender

This week has been a review of the books I have been reading on craft. Today, I thought we could take a look at the oft overused, flat as a pancake and downright (drum roll) --- - cliché.

So, what is a cliché. According to Webster's it is a 1) trite phrase or expression or the idea expressed by it 2) hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation 3) something that has become commonplace, overly familiar and let's face it - boring.

How do we take the droll and expected and turn it into words that zip, zing, bam, wham? We're writers - that's our soup stock, right? Easier said than typed.

Here are a few tired clichés. Work your magic and make them twinkle like a windchime.

1. Beauty is as beauty does.
2. Going postal.
3. Like sands through the hourglass....
4. She's all that.
5. Conspiracy theory.
6. Skin like a baby's behind.
7. Make like a banana and split.
8. Run, Forest, run.
9. Melts like butter.
10.The pitter-patter of little feet.

Of course, there are multitudes of these little buggers and we hear them, read them, write them everyday. The trick is to turn them on their heads, dust them off, spruce them up and make them surprisingly new & fresh - think dryer sheet dusted with sunshine. Avoid clichés like the creative garbage disposals they are.

For more fun you can check out a list at Clichés: Avoid them like the plague.

In the meantime, I have to make like a tree and trunk it over to my WIP.

Happy Writing,

Patti Struble


  1. Avoid cliches... except in dialog to define a character.

  2. Run, Forest, run cracked me up. I hope I'm not guilty (as sin, ha ha) of using too many cliches in my writing. But there are always those sneaky ones...

  3. Jenny,
    Thanks for the comment. I used that very line on my son yesterday after he got out of soccer practice. Part of the vernacular of pop culture I guess. And, you're right - it's the sneaky ones that get us.