Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Another Day, Another Blog

Today I managed to read a bit more of Writing Magazine - June edition! (I know, I've got July sitting here. Bloody August isn't far away the rate time passes.)  Anyway, I digress, it made me think of a blog topic - Clichés.

'Under The Microscope' is a new article they've been printing, where wannabe authors send in the first 300 words of their manuscript to be critiqued. I am considering being brave and sending in The Wedding Favour actually.

In the June edition the story is titled 'Prominence' by Neal Schafer, and a lot of the points in this article raised how the author used too many clichés. I didn't realise some were clichés! (Blushes.)

I must admit this is something I am afraid of as a new writer. I'm petrified I'm writing clichés I'm not even aware of - but my Beta's soon point them out when I do. And I think I get them muddled with metaphors, paraphrases, idioms etc. (Though some of these can be clichés too).

After googling, I did find this useful site: Clichés: Avoid Them Like The Plague which might help us newbies in steering clear.

But what if your character says a cliché - is that okay, because it's their character? We must all have sayings we say every day, or regularly - I know I do! And so, if a character used a cliché in their dialogue (or even thoughts), would that make them seem realistic too?

Or do we steer clear at all costs? (That, believe it or not, does not come under the cliché link above lol!)

So do you fall into the cliché trap? Have you learnt how to get out of it? Do I need to study and memorise the contents of the above link?

Some seem ludicrous to me - I mean, E-ticket? How is that cliché? When booking my dad's ferry crossing earlier today, I was emailed the E-ticket. That's what they're called.

Right, well, I've given my two cents, and will probably have plenty of pain and suffering, leaving me as poor as a churchmouse.


  1. Margo Benson had a post on this subject yesterday, there are some interesting comments on there.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with a character thinking/talking in cliches - after all, it's their voice, not the writer's :)

    Thank you for the link to the list btw.

  2. I'm also worried about cliches. I plan on avoiding any I know but as you say, there are those that we don't know. I would probably avoid using them even in character voice just to be safe. That's just what I'd do though. I couldn't tell you the "rules". It's like a minefield out there isn't it.

  3. There's nothing wrong with using a cliche, as long as you can justify the use of it. If a character is someone who uses cliches regularly and that's a part of their character, then that's a justified use.

    The only reason certain turns of phrase are called cliches is because thay've been so much that they have lost a lot of their meaning and impact, if your using them in a new way or playing around with them then that brings back some of the impact.

  4. Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I think that some common clichés that we all say every day, in dialogue/conversation are probably acceptable for a character too... I just didn't realise how much was a cliché. I'm sure I'll learn.

  5. oh, and Sarah, any chance of sharing the blog?

  6. oh, and Sarah, any chance of sharing the blog?

  7. Tesresa. it's Margobenson. blogspot. com (without the spaces!)

  8. Thanks, Sarah, will check it out!


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