by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden
Once you have completed a
manuscript and you begin your final edit, pay attention to your use of clichés.
If you find one, think of a better and more creative way to express your
thoughts. For example, if you say something is “quiet as a mouse,” does that
really say what you mean? Do you want that phrase to distract your reader and
bring an image of a little squirmy gray thing darting in and out of walls?
Perhaps you can come up with a more creative way to express the absence of
noise. Many things might come to mind—the house when you first get up, sitting alone
on a deserted beach, a baby who has finally fallen asleep, etc.
Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She finds great joy (and excellent writing material) in time spent with her family. Helping writers understand PSL is one of the things she also loves to do through her newest book, Called to Write. This month she is excited about having a chance to set new goals for the new year and maybe even do a few more rewrites!
To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit www.lindagilden.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter @LindaGilden and Facebook at Author Linda Gilden.
|Publishing as a Second Language - The Cliché|
One of the terms we borrow from the French is cliché. If you are not familiar with a cliché, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines a cliché as “a phrase or opinion that is overused or betrays a lack of original thought.”
Most writers use clichés without even thinking about it. Because they know them like the back of their hands, these common phrases just roll off their tongues. It’s easy as pie to include them in writing because writers want to make sure their writing is clear as a bell. Romance writers know that all is well that ends well. Encouraging writers know that every cloud has a silver lining. Regardless of what cliché you use, it feels like old hat to your readers.
Obviously the paragraph above is an exaggeration. Anyone can figure out that I used too many clichés and my readers would tire of that style writing quickly. But what is wrong with an occasional cliché? Nothing, as long as the emphasis is on occasional.
The problem is that writers are creative people. And by definition clichés show lack of creativity or original thought. Shouldn’t we write without using words and phrases that someone else has used for years?
|Look for clichés as you edit.|
A good writing exercise is to take a cliché and create new ways to say the same thought. Why don’t we try one or two here? Pick out one of the clichés below and suggest in the comments how to rewrite that cliché in a new and fresh way. I have chosen a few just for writers!
The writing on the wall
Read between the lines