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Brandi_R
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Topic 59: Clichés

We’ve all heard them. We’ve all used them. Clichés. Those phrases, characters, situations, or storylines so overused they’ve lost their meaning and oomph. The September issue of The Writer magazine focuses on these critters and how they can be used—and abused—in creative writing. Here are a few of my favorites from their list of “104 Worst Creative Writing Clichés:”

104. A single tear that runs, flows, trickles or glistens.
56. Anyone who reaches for the forbidden fruit of . . .
33. Any character who does anything in silence (as in wait, linger, eat, bathe, drive, work, run, cogitate, commit murder, make love or ruminate).
16. Anything that has a special place in anybody’s heart, mind, soul or underwear drawer.
12. Whew! I thought we’d never get out of there alive; but we did, and we’re stronger for it! Why? Because we are characters who bravely faced their greatest fears!
8. Any male character who is a complicated blend of strength and sensitivity.

Which clichés would be on your list of the worst?
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tsullivan
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés

[ Edited ]

These are a few personal faves:

 

 

Tasting anything but food or drink.

 

Eyes that are limpid pools of anything but semi-viscous tissue.

 

And while on eyes, how about those steely, piercing orbs (often seen under furrowed brows)?

 

Average Joe characters (e.g., cops) who have tasted success (sorry) in some unrelated enterprise, but who continue to be Average Joes despite their wealth.

 

Any female character who is a complicated blend of strength and sensitivity (sorry, Brandi, but I couldn’t resist that one). More accurately, any character who must be labeled as complicated. Geez, they had better be complicated, and that had better be shown rather than told.

 

Cheers!

 

Tim

Message Edited by tsullivan on 09-24-2008 12:12 PM

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KristenS
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


tsullivan wrote:

 More accurately, any character who must be labeled as complicated. Geez, they had better be complicated, and that had better be shown rather than told.


That cracks me up! So true!

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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


tsullivan wrote:

These are a few personal faves:

 


 

And while on eyes, how about those steely, piercing orbs (often seen under furrowed brows)?

 


Orbs! Excellent. How is it that the eyes so often get the cliche treatment? 
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Clippership14
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés

Here's one I came across--again--while reading:

Someone wakes up somplace other than their own bed and is disoriented about whatever happened the day before. Then in a jolt their mind remembers everything.

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Redcatlady
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


KristenS wrote:

tsullivan wrote:

 More accurately, any character who must be labeled as complicated. Geez, they had better be complicated, and that had better be shown rather than told.


That cracks me up! So true!


My character, Josie, is definitely complicated --- for reasons that become obvious as the story progresses.

 

 

Redcatlady 

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tsullivan
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


Brandi_R wrote:

tsullivan wrote:

These are a few personal faves:

 


 

And while on eyes, how about those steely, piercing orbs (often seen under furrowed brows)?

 


Orbs! Excellent. How is it that the eyes so often get the cliche treatment? 

Perhaps because those orbs are the windows to the soul?  Ugh!

 

Cheers!

 

Tim


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dianaprince
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés

   This is probably the funniest thread on the entire board!!

 

   One of the worst cliches would have to be the tall, dark, and handsome man who turns out to have a dark secret that he has been concealing for years, perhaps even centuries if it is the secret of immortality.  Not to mention the wry smile that will be imprinted on the man's face when he reveals the dark secret to a trustworthy friend.  Then the man will have a bitter rival chase him down and will need to rescue a damsel in distress while trying to escape the clutches of his rival.  And of course, there will either be a happily ever after or a tragic fall.

 

   Actually, there has been a book written entirely of cliches (or at least I believe that was the author's purpose) -- The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  It's a fairly well-known satiric fantasy that uses most of the elements described in this thread.

"Adventure is worthwhile in itself" -- Amelia Earhart
May the Force of Fashion Sense be With You!! :smileyvery-happy:
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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


Clippership14 wrote:

Here's one I came across--again--while reading:

Someone wakes up somplace other than their own bed and is disoriented about whatever happened the day before. Then in a jolt their mind remembers everything.


Yes! That sudden realization after disorientation is tricky business (to use yet another cliché).

This reminds me of another cliché: stories that start with the character getting out of bed and going through their morning routine. (Often accompanied by a glance in the mirror for description of character purposes)

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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


tsullivan wrote:

Perhaps because those orbs are the windows to the soul?  Ugh!

 

Cheers!

 

Tim


And if you like what you see, you might just get lost in those eyes. Double Ugh!

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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 59: Clichés


dianaprince wrote:

   This is probably the funniest thread on the entire board!!

 

   One of the worst cliches would have to be the tall, dark, and handsome man who turns out to have a dark secret that he has been concealing for years, perhaps even centuries if it is the secret of immortality.  Not to mention the wry smile that will be imprinted on the man's face when he reveals the dark secret to a trustworthy friend.  Then the man will have a bitter rival chase him down and will need to rescue a damsel in distress while trying to escape the clutches of his rival.  And of course, there will either be a happily ever after or a tragic fall.

 

   Actually, there has been a book written entirely of cliches (or at least I believe that was the author's purpose) -- The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  It's a fairly well-known satiric fantasy that uses most of the elements described in this thread.


Or maybe it's all just a dream from which he awakes at the end of the story . . . 

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