Monday, June 22, 2015

Leave That Cliche Alone!

I know, writers and editors are always telling you to eliminate cliches (unless they are part of dialogue or the piece is tongue-in-cheek).

Weeeeellllll, not necessarily.

There are some cliches I can't eliminate. For example, when writing a scene about food, French bread is always "crusty." That tells you it's a golden color, and when you bite into it, pieces flake off. Mmmmm. You could substitute "crunchy" but that doesn't convey the same feeling because nuts are crunchy, and cereal, and apples. "Crispy" may work, but that's not the same either, right?

Then there's "cat-like reflexes." This phrase has been used so many times that it qualifies as a cliche. But what other animal has such graceful power? Bears are powerful, not at all graceful. Butterflies are graceful, not powerful. (Okay, I may have to rethink about my cat having those reflexes.)

It's a problem. Some words are just necessary to describe exactly what you mean. There are many more though I can't think of them at the moment, but I'm sure you get the gist (see that, another cliche, but what other word would work?).

Sometimes a cliche is the only way to go. What are your faves that you don't want to give up?


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