Saturday, April 3, 2010

C is for Cliche'

Today I am dedicated to stomping out the "C" is for Cliche' in my writing .  I've been working on revisions and I am really happy with the layering that I did in the first half of the book.  Something my Sunday Morning Romance Writers colleague said made me think. She mentioned that it was hard to read romance without rolling your eyes at the cliche'd descriptions of heaving breasts and rippled abs...true enough.

This sent me on a quest to stamp out anything remotely similar in my own writing. Okay, well first I'll start with the emotional turmoil phrases that I often run into in other books...and that I can be guilty of myslef. I shall "comb through" my manuscript and "shine the light on" anything that is "been-there-done-that" in terms of descriptions.

If you're interested, a great article on addressing Cliche's is The Bookshelf Muse and talks about how they are The Poison Apples of Writing.

Back to my task...I will eviscerate my prose, ripping out the "heart's ramming in my chests" and the "my stomach churneds" from my heroine's inner thoughts.  Out go the "I shruggeds"...well not all of them, and the "he ran his hand through his hair" references.  This is actually kind of fun!  Be gone, evil "his eyes bore into mine"!

Now that I am done and survey the carnage on my desktop I am left with some holes. I need to replace those descriptions and sentiments with something...but what?  As I labor to craft my novel into a shiny, gleaming collection of breathtaking images...I leave you with this:

What is the cliche' that gets you to roll your eyes? It can be in movies, or books...even those summer blockbuster trailers a' la: "In a world...where one man...must fight to...blah blah blah..." Let me know what you'd be happy never to hear again...and maybe throw some suggestions my way. I await your response, eyes flashing, bated breath...just kidding.

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by Aurimas Rimsa, Uploaded on August 21, 2007 Photograph by erix!, Uploaded on September 16, 2009


Gregg Metcalf said...

Is "You Know" a cliche? If it is, that is the one I just loathe. Becasue, no I don't know that is why I am hoping you will tell me.

That drives me nuts in a conversation most people insert it numerous times.

B. Miller said...

Great post! The cliches which normally piss me off as a reader are story and plot related, not necessarily in language. Such as the orphan-turned-epic-hero plot. SO overdone!

Good luck on your cliche-stomping!

Elizabeth West said...

Ha ha, great post! My book is a crime thriller and it's very hard to stay away from cliches in that genre. I hope I did! Now you've inspired me to check things over again.

Jessica Bell said...

Great post! My greatest pet peeve in books is 'crystal blue eyes, puppy dog eyes etc ...'. And in movies, the car chases really shit me :)
Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

marielaurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marielaurel said...

I hate it when the main character is obviously in love, but he or she is too stupid to perceive it! Then the reader has to wait for the character to realize it and by that time it is almost boring. Annoying!

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