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Monday, November 23, 2015


by Valerie Ipson

By Week 47 we have learned a variety of techniques that can make our words dance and sing on the page. Tired, oft-used cliches, though, have the opposite effect. They can bore the reader, or show our laziness as a writer. 

"According to Donald Hall, relying on the easy choices, on trendy words and cliches, causes us to end our search for more precise language..."1 

Stephen Wilbers says, "The first time it rained cats and dogs was brilliant, now it's a cliche."2

It's not that we have to avoid all cliches. They can be useful because their very commonality means they're easily understood. But a well-crafted phrase, even an old cliche twisted into something new, freshens our writing and delights the reader.  

Like this one: An apple a day still can't beat pizza.

I think we all understand that.

1 Mastering the Craft, p 261
2 Mastering the Craft, p 264

1 comment:

  1. This is a difficult train to derail because the first things that pop into our heads as we write are generally the most familiar and most cliche. Great post Valerie.