I hate how many times I heard this in high school English class. Now I have to admit the teacher was right.
DON’T WRITE WITH CLICHÉS!
Okay, I know all caps indicate yelling. But the teacher yelled at me, so now I get to yell at you.
Certain phrases (two or more words) have become so overused that the expression is no longer either clever or novel. Now they’re just boring and tiresome. They no longer have any strength of meaning. They don’t add any specific details that give the reader a clear picture with which to identify.
They are so generalized they contribute nothing to the story you are writing.
Theodore A. Rees Cheney addressed clichés in GETTING THE WORDS RIGHT: How to Revise, Edit and Rewrite. While he wrote this book in 1984 and revised it in 1990, his advice remains sound.
To help you find places in your manuscript where you may have inadvertently used a cliché, run an EDIT/FIND for the words like and as. These two words often precede a cliché.
A great website that lists the largest collection of clichés ever compiled is clichesite.com. On this site you can search for clichés alphabetically by the first word of the cliché phrase, submit a cliché if you don’t see it listed, and even check on their “Cliché of the Day.”
Googling cliché will bring up a long list of sites where you can explore this subject further.
For more detailed information on CLICHES and the editing process, CLICK HERE.