Avoid Writing Clichés: Good writing means learning to "Think Outside of the Box."

Updated on July 5, 2016
Thinking inside the box is bad.
Thinking inside the box is bad.

Avoid Clichés: Good writing means “Thinking Outside of the Box.”

Well, if you caught the irony in my title, you are free to go and don’t have to read the rest of this. If you did NOT catch the irony, then you might find something useful in what I have to say.

First, let’s establish what I mean by cliché. A cliché is an idea, often a catchy phrase, that has been used so much that everyone recognizes it immediately. “Better safe than sorry” and “It takes two to tango” are examples that come to mind off the top of my head. Clichés are useful because they convey ideas quickly, the phrase encompassing a larger concept that everyone already understands. All the work of communicating the idea has been done by whoever coined the original phrase, having done it so cleverly that the specific construction of words was repeated often enough to become a cliché.

A perfect example of that is the phrase “think outside of the box.” Someone somewhere in the last half century or so crafted this phrase to embody the idea of how our thinking sometimes gets locked into a small place, confined by “a box” that limits our access to new ideas and new ways of looking at and approaching problems. To “think outside the box” means to find NEW ways of doing things. Which is why it is ironic now. Any time you use “think outside the box” to express the need for originality, you are NOT expressing that need WITH originality. You are using a cliché.

Thinking outside the box is bad too.
Thinking outside the box is bad too.

Beyond how amusing that might be to think about, the greater point is to point it out about writing. Whether you are writing a novel, a short story, copy for a marketing piece, be it magazine, website or radio script, you should work very hard to remove clichés.

“But why?” you might ask. I just said a few paragraphs up that “Clichés are useful because they convey ideas quickly” and that is a good thing, right?

Well, in theory, yes. But clichés are boring. Think about this: how often do you read the same book over and over? Or watch the same episode of some TV show? A movie? I bet your first thought was, “Hah, hah! I watch such-and-such all the time.” Right. You can probably list the handful of movies/books/episodes you are willing to watch repeatedly. Can you think of any that you used to re-read/watch/listen but eventually grew tired of? Any songs come to mind? And what about all the rest? What about every other show and movie and book and poem and song and joke you’ve ever come across? How interesting would they be the second time, the fifth time, the hundredth time?

No matter how you type it, a cliché always looks the same.
No matter how you type it, a cliché always looks the same.

This song is so full of cliches it burns my ears. Like almost every line is one.

No matter how clever something is the first time or two, eventually it loses the ability to be interesting. It gets stale. Most things get stale very quickly. Really clever stuff gets used until it becomes stale from over use, becomes cliché.

So, when you are writing you need to think of your poor readers. They do not want to read a bunch of crap they've already read before. They want to have a NEW experience. They want YOU to think outside the box when you are writing so they don’t have to read the phrase “think outside the box” again for the ninety-thousandth time. They want you to do the creative work of giving them a fresh idea to think about. If you’re trying to get people to look for innovative ideas, tell them to “look under a new bed” or “hunt for prey in foreign woods” or something even better than that that YOU think of. Heck, just say “try to think of something new.” Use your creative power to invent new language, or just say what you mean straight out. One is clever, the other is honest, and either will help hold your readers’ interest.

Avoiding clichés matters because, if you’re trying to sell a product with your marketing piece, you need your readers to be engaged in the copy long enough to get to the offer or the link. If you’re writing a novel or short story, you need them to feel like they are in an interesting place spending time with characters they’ve never known before. If they keep running across clichéd language, they’re going to think, whether consciously or unconsciously, that they have “been down this road before.” If they’ve “already seen this” before, they are NOT going to be as emotionally engaged as they would if they were seeing something for the first time.

Now, we’ve all been told a million times that there are no new ideas. That’s true. However, there are new ways to say things that are subtle reflections of you and your values and personal aesthetics. YOU have never been before, so you can rearrange old letters and old words into something that is new.

Clichés happen to all of us. When I’m writing, I end up with lots of them popping up like weeds in my writing. It’s fine, that doesn’t mean I’m a terrible writer or a bad person. They are code for bigger ideas. And that’s great. When I go through my work and spot them, they tell me a lot. They tell me the concept I was getting at, point it out all nice and packaged neat. They ALSO tell me that I was clearly in a hurry at that point in my draft and that now I need to go back and open up that idea, slow down and rewrite it, taking the care to really understand what my point was beyond the easy, lazy language of the cliché. If my point was just the cliché, and if the cliché REALLY SERVES MY POINT, well, maybe I’ll leave it. But I try very hard to catch them, and if I leave them, it will be by choice, not by accident. Finding readers is hard to do. Respect them, and do the work it takes to give them something new.

A Test:

If you want to test your ability to catch cliché’s, go back through this and see how many you can find. I went through and found one very obvious one, and a few more that may or may not be cliché depending on how meticulous I want to be and how hard I want to work to make this piece original. I’m not counting the use of “outside the box” and any other cliché that I put in quotes.

Go ahead, go see how generic I was when I when I drafted this. I left them all in so you can see. Even trying to think about not using clichés, I did anyway. They are like that plastic wrap that comes on new CDs, the stuff with the static cling that you can't shake off without some effort. Go ahead and check my work, and then scroll down and compare notes with me.

Ok, if you're still with me, let's see if we agree on all of these. If you found some I missed, feel free to point them out in the comments. Here’s my list.

  1. Come quickly to mind (paragraph 2)
  2. Off the top of my head (paragraph 2)
  3. Coined the original phrase (paragraph 2)
  4. It gets stale – “stale” in general (paragraph 7)
  5. Told a million times (paragraph 11)
  6. Running across (paragraph 14)
  7. Nice and packaged neat (paragraph 16)
  8. Serves my point (paragraph 16 - I'm being picky here)
  9. Popping up like weeds (paragraph 16 – this is the worst of them!)

Now you may or may not agree that all of these are clichés. You may have found others beyond my list. But I want to make this one idea really clear: whether something is “technically” a cliché or not is not the point. The point is that you use good, strong language when you write. That you make careful choices in the words and phrases you put down. If something seems old to you, over-used, then it IS over-used. It doesn’t matter if I recognize it or not. If you do, then it is tired language. It might not “count” as cliché to everyone, but if it does to you, think about it and decide if you really want it in your piece. Maybe it’s fine. It very well might be. But you be in control of that. Don’t let your language be an accident.

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    • profile image

      Gerrilyn 2 years ago

      Now I feel stpdui. That's cleared it up for me

    • profile image

      Linda 2 years ago

      I miss your face. And since I have to miss YOU, I am happy I don't have to miss your photos, too. Like Gladys, you hepapn to be one of my biggest inspirations, too. I know it's strange for you to hear that, from anyone, given your humble beginnings but you've got it. And you should own it. Grab hold of it, run with it, tattoo it on your ass. You're amazing.Talented.Kind.Real.Thank you.For being all those things.While still being humble.Human.A friend.I heart the crap outta you.XoA

    • profile image

      Brianna 4 years ago

      Oooh. Time and again. That's a cliché isn't it. Oops. ;)

    • profile image

      Brianna 4 years ago

      This was linked on my online English class. I wasn't going to read it because I have learned about how to avoid cliches time and again. It can be difficult to do so but I, too, can often catch them when I proofread. I read it, anyway, and have to say it was an enjoyable read. I caught all nine cliches. After a while, I began to suspect they had purposely been left there. ;)

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

      Hah, BobandDylan, you might be. I actually don't mind it for a while, he does sing well, but then the cliches start stacking up, the joke turns to torture--making his point, true--and then, well, I start looking for the nearest cliff to throw myself off.

    • profile image

      BobandDylan 5 years ago

      Was I the only one who liked the song? Although, it was probably because I was listening to his voice rather than the lyrics.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

      I'm glad you were amused and found something you could use, Sonya. Thanks for reading and for leaving a kind comment.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Your style of writing is fresh, I like that. I shall be reading more of your hubs. This article is both entertaining and useful, I like that too.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

      Yeah, Roberto, there are definitely times where a cliché is precisely what is called for. I think as long as people are looking for those times and cutting the others, it's all good. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • profile image

      Roberto Magallanes Ramos. 5 years ago

      In scientific writing you must "give" the reference from where you got the in formation; in a way, some cliches are useful to "back you up" in whatever opinion you have.

      It´s note the same: "I think" that "I know"; or at least you get a "partner" to share success or blame. Thank you.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

      LOL. I know. I like to think I don't do it, but I do it all the time. It's literally impossible to not do. It is possible to catch them, however. Still hard, but possible; for me, it actually requires its own distinct editing sweep. (sigh). Still don't get them all, but, at least I try. All you can do, right?

    • Barnsey profile image

      Barnsey 5 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

      Wow, thank you, Obi Wan, for your wisdom. I have to go back over the last four novels I wrote now, thanks alot pal!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

      Yeah, that's a tough one lol. Kudos for trying.

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Listened to the "Cliched Song" and I ALMOST made it through the end. Lol.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

      Glad to be of some assistance. :) Thanks for reading, Tweetmom.

    • Tweetmom profile image

      Tweetmom 6 years ago from Newark

      Just what i needed. Great hub!!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      That's all we can do as writers, Kubth. Try to spot them. They are so much a part of our every day, especially now days where we are exposed to sooooo much language all the time, literally everywhere we turn our eyes and ears. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to utter any combination of words that means anything and yet hasn't been assembled a zillion times before. It's like the Library of Babel opened up and puked on the world.

    • kubth profile image

      kubth 7 years ago from UK

      Great hub, I guess I can be guilty of using lazy cliches from time to time (oops, there's one), but I do try to be a little more creative as often as possible.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Welcome to HP, Ncosby. I hope you enjoy your experience at HP. It's a fun place and there are lots of writers you will enjoy as you look around over the coming weeks and months. Thank you for the very kind words about style and this hub, I appreciate that a lot, and it's nice to hear.

    • ncosby profile image

      ncosby 7 years ago

      I have just joined HB today and have been browsing throuh various hubs. This is by far the most refreshing hub I have read. Your personality and writing style resonates through your words so freely. I love to write, but at times I can get lazy and cheat the reader out of a meaningul experience. A reader to a writer is water to a fish ;-) I look forward to reading more of your hubs. I hope my writing can be half as entertaining.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Hey, fancy meeting you here. And I totally agree with you that there are places to use cliches. In fact, I would say there are places where using a cliché might be the perfect rhetorical choice... be it to make a point (your first point) or to destroy one (your second).

    • wingedcentaur profile image

      William Thomas 7 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Good Day Shadesbreath

      I thought I had commented on this one already. But I hadn't. I voted this up for useful, of course. Your last sentence says it all: "Don't let your language be an accident."

      I would just add that I use cliches, but mostly in a very deliberate sense. I put quotes around them [(I noticed you said you didn't count as part of your cliché tally, those you put in quotes)] to let the reader know that I know they are cliches.

      My second purpose in deploying these cliches is to, throw back into the face of an imaginary intellectual opponent, certain tired, worn, utterly discredited, failed ideas.

      Its like doing a form in martial arts in which the practitioner is "fighting" an imaginary opponent, as well as displaying his mastery of proper technique for an audience. See ya later and as tonymc04 would say...

      Love and Peace!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      LOL. Old Kate had a thing against ovines and caprines, eh?

    • profile image

      Baileybear 7 years ago

      I looked her up - her name is Kathy Lette - Australian author living in London. I read that article in a magazine a while back. Looked one up on net and she mentioned "mutton dressed as ram" too - referring to women that refuse to grow old gracefully

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      I tried to Google it and came up empty (well, three top ones didn't give me the name... so I gave up; lol -- so much for academic rigor, eh? :D ) Still funny stuff.

    • profile image

      Baileybear 7 years ago

      The writer that came up with that one was Kathy somebody (I'm hopeless with names). She's met the royal family and her article was hilarious. She was referring to Kate having to wear boring tweed for a royal event (polo?). She had many clever re-inventions of cliches - so fresh, I can't remember what any others were!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      LOL @ "Lamb dressed as mutton." And you are correct, some of the cheekiest of the cheeky have found this hub and cheekified it as they are wont to do. Which is a good thing, being the cheek fan I am. :D

    • profile image

      Baileybear 7 years ago

      Looks like lots of very cheeky hubbers on here. I first learnt about cliches when my school English teacher said he loved my essay, but it was full of cliches. I like it when someone reinvents a cliché eg I read someone describing Kate Middleton as "lamb dressed as mutton".

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Yeah, at least for now, until I get the nails done. :)

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Shades, so I should hold my head up high because you have ugly feet? O.K. then.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      I agree with you, Dobson. And it may be that they are unaware. We use them so much in every day speaking that it may be some people just don't know what "cliché" really means. HOpefully folks will find some use in this. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Dobson profile image

      Dobson 7 years ago from Virginia

      The use of cliches shows a bit of laziness on the writer's part. Perhaps they are unaware. Maybe after reading this hub the writer's that do will pay more attention. I like your perspective Shadesbreath!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Naw, don't hang your head low. If people have to feel bad about missing stuff like that, well, we'd all spend most of our time staring at our feet. Which I guess isn't so bad if you are a girl and have dainty feet, but for most guys, and even for women with, like, toe fungus and stuff, that would suck if you think about. I mean, who wants to go around staring at an all nasty toe? Plus, some people would become self conscious about them, and, can you imagine if guys started painting their toes?! The vanity alone would be emasculating to the extreme. ...Although, those little scenery things some salons paint on there, and the little stickers and sparkles would be fun, wouldn't they? Hmmmm

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

      I didn't get the pun of the title until you spelled it out for me. Ashamed, I guess I will be leaving now, with my head hung lower than low.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Thank you, I Do. I have to say, not having a computer at home would definitely make making hubs harder. But it is very fun to get stories out and to get nice comments like yours, so, definitely maybe write them down on paper and type them up real quick when you get some cafe or library time. :)

    • I Do. profile image

      I Do. 7 years ago from N.Y, N.Y

      I am new to this... and having no computer at home makes it really hard for me to have time to myself to make a hub. I have a lot of ideas/ stories to post, but I will definitely take every tip you have given into great consideration.

      Thank you!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      LOL, me too. I'm a fan of "Once upon a time" too, if truth be told.

    • profile image

      cosette 7 years ago

      :) nice hub. i still like "It was a dark and stormy night" even though some circles sniff at it. ;)

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Hmm, good question LoneWolf. I bet we could get a debate started on that one if we had a forum for this. And you're right about making titles short and catchy. A good creative fresh title could become a new cliché.

    • LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

      LoneWolfMuskoka 7 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

      While you have a cliché in your title I still continued reading the article. I think that there is a place for clichés as you described. Titles are probably one of the places that they can be very effective as they need to be short, catchy and simple.

      They are also quite useful in comments 8=) Is a smiley face a cliché? LOL!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      I am soooooo grateful that you said soooooo. :)

    • Dense profile image

      Dense 7 years ago from somewhere in a concrete jungle, hugging a green plastic tree, and wondering what happened

      This is just SOOOOOO Oh good! :D

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Good, Caterino! Aoiding them is the best way to prevent that plague. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    • Caterino profile image

      Caterino 7 years ago from Greenville South Carolina

      I avoid Clichés like the plague.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      I guess you got the last word on the cliches, B.T.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

      Oh well. I tried to put it in the cheap seats but I guess it was a swing and a miss. Story of my life. Always a day late and a dollar short. Just another day at the races, I guess.

      That's clever, Patty. You really march to the beat of a different drummer, don't you?

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      B.T., your cliche's are sub par. My sports cliches have yours down for the count. Patty, I think that's a seven ten split what you just did.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      We must sing outside the mountain.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

      LOL! You really took me to the mat on that one! Sent me back to the minors, you did. I must be off my game!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Yes, BT, using a sports cliché is a great play out of the old writing play book. They help bring an idea home. Feel free to use them, use several of them, and swing for the fences when you write. Your writing will go the whole nine yards when it comes to scoring points with your ideas.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

      I try to keep cliches out of my writing, but I wish I had a nickel for every time I caught one after I had already pulled the trigger on a hub. I'd be on easy street by now!

      Great hub, Shades. You hit this one out of the park! Sport cliches are still ok, right?

    • SummerSteward profile image

      SummerSteward 7 years ago from Duluth MN

      No problem, I saw you in the forums and liked how mad you were at some of the talent here being wasted or unappreciated. I decided to check you out and am glad I did. Cheers!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Thanks, Summmer. I agree with you that creating something new is a key element of being a good writer, not just re-typing what someone else came up with. And it is fun when, with work, we stumble upon some cool new idea. That's the joy of it... discovering what we know that we didn't really know we knew until we pushed ourselves. Thanks for the read and nice response.

    • SummerSteward profile image

      SummerSteward 7 years ago from Duluth MN

      Hey, I really liked this hub, reminded me of my own writing process, avoiding cliches and saying something new is what makes us writers and it's a very enjoyable process to see a piece of work unfold in an interestingly new perspective. Good hub, I'll be sure to read more!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Hi Gypsy! I am tickled pink by your fueled flames of passionate agreement. :D

      Thanks for reading my hub despite its painful opening cliché too. Your acquaintance with the tangled up clichés reminds me of a few people I run across in the course of my days too. I actually kind of enjoy listening to old addages get butchered and stuff. At least it has an entertainment value of sorts. I believe it was yesterday I heard someone say, "For all intensive purposes." I mean, I know what he meant, and it's cool, but it is interesting to watch the language evolve. It gives physical and immediate reality to the etymology we study in school.

    • russiangypsygirl profile image

      russiangypsygirl 7 years ago

      Hi Shadesbreath. I decided to read your hub even though I DID catch the irony in your title. =) Hope you don't mind. Ha. I just did it to you. If there is one thing I can say that I truly despise in writing and in conversation, it would be cliches. I know someone who used so many and tangled them all up in one sentence, that I am convinced he lost his meaning every time. It did not 'drive me insane', it made me want to grip hold of his shoulders and shake fiercely until I felt better.=) My favorite part of your hub was when you pointed out that the reader craves a new thought, an original rendition. Thanks for an entertaining read that fueled the flames of my passionate agreement. =) Cheers, Gypsy

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Thanks, MPG, I hope you do come back for sampling of my madder madnesses. (lol)

      Hi Pam! Great to see you. I know what you mean about those two, too. They're just not creative thinking, no attempt to really sum up the idea with a good metaphor, or, in other words, lazy writing. Needless to say, I try not to do that when I write. :)

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

      Very nice! Two that drive me nuts: "needless to say" and "in other words." Those two alone make me scream...not a good scream, like a sex scream, but a "Oh my Gawd...a crazy chainsaw man is chasing me!" scream.

      I enjoyed this! Thanks! :)

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I had a good laugh at this hub. Thanks Shadesbreath, looking forward to reading more of your work when I have time. Cheers, Marie (MPG Narratives).

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Your welcome. :)

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      pinkhawk 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      ..."Think outside of the box"- I think I need to apply this in my work...in my life! Thank you! :)

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Thanks, Jen. Isn't that song a hoot... at first? It gets painful after a while. There's a Nickelback song that they play endlessly on the radio that is exactly the same except that I don't think Nickleback realizes how awful it is. I think they think it's profound, but I hope I am wrong about that.

      Hi Lorlie6, I agree with you that obscenities can be gratuitous, although, I must confess to sometimes using them for purposes of voice or character. But I think you point out another area of writing that definintely needs to be in the intentional control of the writer. If it's there, it better be there on purpose, and not just "yeah, I meant to put that there" on purpose, but more of "that is there because it serves my piece in this (xyz) specific way" kind of on purpose. Thanks for that, and thanks for the "fabulous" comment. That makes any writer's heart go pitty-pat. :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Shadesbreath, cliches remind me of using obscenities when writing. Lazy, annoying and tiring.

      This is a fabulous hub,

      Laurel

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      This was a very entertaining way to learn to be more original. Thank you very much. I also enjoyed the cliché song and yes it also makes your point perfectly. lol

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Thanks Sandy. :)

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great advice.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      Rochelle, that's how I should have put it. That is the point. Be creative and new and you COULD be the new cliché. How cool would that be? (and here's a website with all that accent stuff on it http://www.starr.net/is/type/altnum.htm) the é is cntrl-0233 etc.

      Christoph, sup stranger! I know I flaked on posting anything over there. I guess it was fate. She disconnected me the same day I was going to paste in a little memoir piece I wrote for a class. Just shows I probably wasn't meant to post it. Glad to see you around.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Chris wuz here. For people who don't know, you explained it well and with humor.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      Also: How do you get the little accent mark over your "e" in words like "cliché"s? I feel so illiterate in the grapheme genre.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      I also had a writing teacher who explained, as you did, that a cliché is an original, apt and memorable phrase, that become overused, because of its aptness and memorableness. He always said we need some new cliches-- and we should strive to invent them in our own writing.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      lol, Renoelle, you and Suszy are BAAAAd. Or, should I say, you are like two peas in a pod? :-/

      And yeah, Rochelle killed me with that one. But then, she is one of the funniest people on HP, so, ... what else should we expect, eh?

    • renoelle profile image

      renoelle 7 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning

      Love Rochelle's comment about Shakespeare! I must agree with "the Bee" though, I missed more than my share of your hackneyed phrases. Thanks for making it crystal clear for us - really quite as plain as the nose on your face once you've had the obvious truth pointed out.

      :D

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      ROFL... Yeah, he did, didn't he? LOL. That is so funny. I'm going to use that somehow, you watch. :D

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      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      I'm glad you wrote this. I was going to, but you did it better. I'm reminded of the teenager who, after seeing a production of Hamlet, said he didn't understand why everyone thought Shakespeare was such a good writer-- because he used so many cliches.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      lawl @ Zsuszy. I see what you did there. :D (Thanks for the Twitter, btw. I keep telling myself I will join that thing, but I never do. Maybe if I wait long enough, it go out of style and no one will know I wasn't on board. I'll catch the next train.

      Austinstar - Yes, I'm not surprised to hear cliches made it on a list of that sort; I'm glad to know you are making that point too. It's hard to read online these days things are so riddled with old, beat to death language. I mean, it's hard enough to find ANY language that you haven't seen before if you read a lot, you know? (And get crackin' on that novel already!... I'm actually debating whether or not I want to do a little pep-rally, sort of pseudo-blog on the forums here this summer while I write the first draft on my latest novel project. Seems like the right thing to do, but not sure if I want to commit to adding that to my plate.) Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Surprise! This is rule number 1 in my hub - How to use the 5 W's of Communication to Write Anything.

      But you have made the rule easy to understand for those who can't seem to think, much less outside of a box or a radio talk show (ditto heads).

      I still need to get that first novel done, darn it.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Shadesbreath this one's for the books. You sure went the whole nine yards with this hub. One might believe that using a cliché or two would get the point across faster but its easy as pie to over use them too. I sure got egg on my face when even after reading your hub twice I only found 6 of your hidden ones even though they should have been plain as a rainy Tuesday.

      Love the hub, thanks for the great tips here I must remember to steer clear of them in the future.

      hope everything's hunky dory with you and yours

      Zsuzsy :)

      (I twittered your great hub)