Tip 21 – A Cliché is Always a Cliché
If something has become overly familiar or commonplace, whether it is speech, ideas, characterisation, or anything else used in writing, it is classed as a cliché.
Although kids probably won’t mind the odd cliché, and might not even know they were reading one, most publishers have a cliché observation mechanism that remains permanently on full alert. If publication is your goal, it is a good idea to search your writing and eliminate all trace of the offending objects before putting your manuscript in the firing line.
Using clichés could make your writing seem dull, even if the story idea is new and exciting.
Remember also that ideas can be clichéd. If an idea or theme has been used repeatedly, it becomes stale.
It is very difficult to convert a clichéd subject into something fresh and different, but it can be done. It requires you to think laterally.
Look at your writing and ask how it can be changed so that it comes from an entirely new direction. Why not alter things around so that it isn’t the scientist who is mad, but his wife or boss.
One way of using clichés to your advantage is through humour. Try building up your story so that the reader expects certain clichéd events to happen, but the outcome is unexpected and funny.
The one cliché you should always try to keep in your mind (unless you are using them in parody) is this: avoid clichés like the plague!
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