Let's muder those cliches!

Let's muder those cliches!

A Lesson by Camille Corbett

Although there are certain authors who can make cliches work, most authors cannot! Therefore let's do away with them!


1. Consider these your forbidden phrases!

·                                 add insult to injury

·                                 better late than never

·                                 brought back to reality

·                                 crushing blow

·                                 easier said than done

·                                 face the music

·                                 flat as a pancake

·                                 gentle as a lamb

·                                 green with envy

·                                 hard as a rock

·                                 moving experience

·                                 needle in a haystack

·                                 ripe old age

·                                 shoulder the burden

·                                 stand in awe

·                                 strong as an ox

·                                 untimely death

·                                 wise as an owl

 Do not do this to yourself people! I shuddered just typing them up!

2. Prophesies are so last year, think of another method  of information other than a wise woman or a magic glowing orb, in other words DON'T BE LAME!

3. It is always better to be creepy than cutesy, since creepiness is usually avoided.

4.Use odd metaphors and similes for a common experience!

ex.. I crumpled to the ground, like an old pair of yellowed jock straps and moaned.

5. If you HAVE to use a cliche, please have the decency to put quotes around them, especially when it's stream of consciousness.

6.No matter how much you care for a sentence or passage, or whatever, let it go if it's too predictable!

7. Look at a piece of your writing, find all the cliches present and try to figure out what you want to say, then find a way to say it better. It works!

8. Attempt to formalize your language! Cliches tend to bring the quality of writing down.

9.THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH USING A THESAURUS! I know alot of writers who feel a sort of pride when they don't use one, but don't listen to them, they're blubbering a******s.USE ONE! All the time!You will find words that cover your meaning far better than any ambiguous cliche can!

10. When you put your personality in a writing, the quirks you have will come out, this is good! Use them to develop your own witty phrases and you might be the next Oscar Wilde!

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Posted 11 Years Ago

I'm afraid I can't agree with some of your advice. Prophesies become pasé when they play a major role in a story. It's often fun to hear a riddle in a book and try to match it to the action. It just falls flat when that becomes the only reason for the story to begin.

Nobody EVER has to use a cliché! If you have to use a cliché make a character who has no gramatical skills and have him say the cliché. THAT's how bad it is to use a cliché!

Never attempt to formalize your writing unless you are writing a masters' thesis, a phd paper or a letter to your congressman. Formal writing slows the story and dulls the rhetoric.

By all means use a Thesaurus but be careful. Make sure a good dictionary is in the other hand. It's easy to get the nuance off. Think of the words "hot", "pretty", "beautiful", and "sexy". They all define good looking, but you wouldn't call your grandmother "hot" and you wouldn't call a stripper "pretty".

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Posted 11 Years Ago

I have to say i have never used any of those sayings, not because of the reasons you said but when i write they just don't seem to fit. Now if i had used them i hate to think, admittedly i have never thought of putting them in but now i do i am kind of against it however i have to diagree slightly with the world went black point.

If ya character faints, and it's written in first person you can't escape some way of phrasing that

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Posted 11 Years Ago

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Posted 12 Years Ago

I want to add three to your list.

1. "You just don't get it, do you?"
2. "Everything went black."
3. "I crumpled to the ground."

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Posted 12 Years Ago

Some of this is really insulting! The way you say it makes it seem that people who say that are "Not talented" expecially in the comment under the title, YOU"LL MAKE THOSE WHO ARE BLESSED LOOK BAD. Something like that. But really?!?!
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Posted 12 Years Ago

really helpful

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Posted 12 Years Ago

Great tip! Thanks!!!

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Posted 12 Years Ago

thanks for the tips =)

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Posted 12 Years Ago

really helpful thanks so much

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Posted 12 Years Ago

I want a Thesaurus so bad! It's my fav dinosaur! >w< I'm such a nerd. xDD I'm gonna go buy one for school and for my writing, I don't like relying on the Thesaurus on the internet so much since it's not like I can use it while in school. Yay, Thesaurus'!!!

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Added on December 31, 2009
Last Updated on July 31, 2011
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Camille Corbett
Camille Corbett

Marietta, GA

I'm a 21 year old Fulbright ETA writing to kill the time and find my sanity. I have been gone for a while. But I have returned, so watch out for some new stories.