Friday, July 25, 2008

Not your cup of tea? (a cliche)

The over-used cliché...

A cliché is "a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. The term is most likely to be used in a negative context." from wikipedia.

The cliché hangs over your words like a wet paper towel. It drags your work down making it all soggy sounding. Writer’s have a tendency to over-use them but I know that with the millions of writer’s out in the world today penning millions of books there has to be a way to invent your own.

This is where the creativity in you will come alive. Often used unconsciously in everday speech, we need to be aware of the tried and true uses and misuses of the worn out little phrases.
I don’t want to say that if you use them, as a writer it seems like a laid back easy way out and lack of original thought. But as writers we need to avoid using the cliché. When we say the cliché out loud, we understand what is meant by "It is a tried and true method", when written it looks as though I can’t find anything new to say.

That takes me back to square one, maybe I’ll give you a taste of your own medicine. (I threw that in there to see if you recognized it as a cliche.) As writers we need to be aware of what we’re writing. Recognizing the old sayings for what they are, old sayings. Be creative, think new, spicy, living sayings that will carry onto the next generation where the kids of the future will be saying, "Oh, I’ve heard that one." Yes sir, it will be YOURS!

Is this post just what the doctor ordered? Did I hit the nail on the head? Do you bite off more than you can chew in your writing? Whatever the case may be, leave cliché’s for the street talk, the long telephone conversations, the gossip in the halls, not for novel and short story writing. I bet even publishers of Newspapers are tired of the old cliches.

But here’s the tricky part. New and "in the moment" words, "like" and "that’s fab" just don’t ring true to form either when writing. I remember a day when everything was "cool" and when I left a party I’d say "peace" holding up two fingers for a peace sign. The kids today still use the word "cool" which makes me a cool mom with my son, but I would never say, "Peace out".

Language can be fun to play with, but when read it can read better when it sounds like its own version of coffee grinds. (that’s mine) lol What I’m saying is be creative with your words, if you stumble over your work seeing a cliché in the mix, remove it promptly and think of something that YOU, the creative writer, has thought up all by yourself!

1 comment:

Peter Knight said...

Crystal clear Joni, hit the nail on the head! Clichés, though, sell like hot cakes, in the final analysis when push comes to shove, and this fine and dandy comment composed quick as a flash, entirely from clichés like a bull in a china* shop, is utter nonsense

:) Q (who's nutty as a fruitcake anyway)

* But I did manage to get China in anyway!