You’ve also probably heard the following:
• A good man is hard to find
• Actions speak louder than words
• Count your blessings
• Easy come easy go
• Flattery will get you nowhere
And so on.
These old familiar phrases are clichés. Some have been around since the Bible. They come to mind instantly because they’re comfortable and well-worn, like a pair of favorite slippers. You can find common clichés at Cliché Finder and ClichéSite.com.
Clichés are fine in daily conversation. But not in your writing.
Your readers see you as the expert in what you do. Whether you’re a life coach, a marketing genius, a social media guru, or a brand new author, your audience wants more than platitudes. They want creativity, imagination, originality. They look up to you to solve their problems or give them an escape. Spouting the same old phrases won’t work.
When I finished my third novel I gave it to a good friend at work. I was so proud of myself, so excited to hear her praise and amazement. When she told me it was full of clichés I was stunned. Clichés? Moi? I was a great writer; I didn’t use clichés. But I did. I wrote the way I thought, the way I carried on conversations. Those clichés were everywhere. What a lesson that was!
So the next time a cliché pops into your head, pause. Review. Rewrite.
Here are a few examples to fire up your brain cells. The first comes from the free report Nine Ways to Passionize Your Prose.
Cliché: Love is a bed of roses.
• Love is a bed of thorns.
• Love tasted like the fresh tang of lemon in a glass of homemade lemonade.
• Love scars.
Cliché: Flattery will get you nowhere.
• Flattery will get you anywhere.
• Flattery will get you a smile and a cup of coffee, but that’s all for now.
• You can just forget the flattery.
Cliché: Never judge a book by its cover.
• Never judge a book by its title.
• Everyone judges books by their covers; after all, you only get one first impression.
• I don’t care if you judge my book. Go ahead.
Now see what you can create! If you get stuck, contact me for a brainstorming session.
Photos by Ladyheart and dexart