Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Write Tight (Part 7 of 7)

Rid your writing of clichés. Although I've mentioned it previously in my blogs, writers don't seem to grasp the banality of hackneyed phrases. I can easily provide a list of 50 tired, overworked statements, but the better way is to point to the principle.

Think of it this way: If the phrase or term we use is something we've heard or read before, revise it. Careful, creative writers find new expressions for old ideas.

In most pieces of advice by writers on clichés, they usually write, "Avoid clichés like the plague." Someone said it, others found it humorous, and copied it. By the time writers have encountered the phrase 900 times, the humor has been sucked out of it.

Here's an exercise I devised for myself early in my writing career. I looked for clichés in my writing and in what I read. I copied them and tried to devise a better, sharper way of making the same point.

Don't we want readers to think of us as clever? Original? If our writing is like everyone else's, why do we write?

I am a growing writer;
I learn new ways to say old things.


  1. I was surprised how many I found in my 1st draft when I started on my 2nd.
    I'm reading a book now for book club full of cliche and a simile on every page. Difficult to read.

  2. Katy, now you've experienced the joy and the pain of understanding writing. Almost every book I read I want to edit the weak sentences. The joy is in knowing and applying it our own writing.

    1. Yes, that explains why the book club selection is ALL MARKED UP. Looking forward to following your blog.


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