Twila's note: Babushka asked a couple questions after reading a blog entry from several months ago. Here's a bonus post from Cec with his answers.
Babushka raised a question about my statement that my book “will release this month.” I probably could have found a better way to phrase it, but I tried to avoid the use of the passive voice (will be released). But either way, her first question remains: released from what?
In writing, clarity is my major concern. Would anyone misunderstand the intent of my statement? Isn’t it obvious that this month people can buy my book because it will be for sale? It may not be the usual way of saying it (and it’s not), but is it less clear than “will be released?” Neither phrase names nor qualifies the releaser.
The second question is whether “will be released” is a cliché. Probably. We can’t totally eliminate overused expressions from our writing, but we can avoid those that obscure the meaning. My argument against clichés isn’t only that they’ve been overused, but they tend to be generic and meaningless. If we make clarity a primary focus, we’ll delete most of the hackneyed expressions.
One more thought. Good writing isn’t about following strict rules but writing clearly. I say to avoid clichés and I like to avoid passive voice. But there are occasions when they are useful. For instance, above I used the passive voice when I wrote, “they’ve been overused.” I could have said, “…isn’t only that we overuse them…” but I deliberately chose to use the passive voice and probably no one stumbled over it.