What’s your least favorite cliché?
I seem to recall writing about clichés before in the post Clichés Are A Dime A Dozen. Although that prompt was what is your favorite cliché, not your least favorite, so I suppose it is a slight variant. Although, why anyone, especially writers, would have a favorite cliché is beyond me.
This brings me to the point of this rambling treatise that I’m frothing now; all clichés are my least favorite. In a language with so many possible options, why would one choose to write with clichés? There are infinite ways to express yourself, none of which involve overused, colloquial phrases.
Some characters need clichés to communicate, but I’m not referring to using them in dialog where it is perfect acceptable. I’m talking about a writer – published, unpublished, blog or book – who doesn’t create their own world with their own rich vocabulary, but falls back on hackneyed platitudes. It says to me that the author doesn’t have a very good command of the language in which they write. I’m not prone to finishing books or articles that spew banality to excess. I will toss them away with a roll of the eyes.
Using a cliché, no matter how obscure, is like painting by numbers. Unless said maxim is used in dialog for a character, it shows a genuine indolence on the part of the author. Clichés are the antithesis of creative thought in my opinion. They’re just lazy.
Clichés are so common that sometimes, we don’t even notice that we’re using them. We need to pay more attention to the words that are ejected from our mouths or fingers. I bet we can come up with at least half a dozen ways to get the same point across without resorting to clichés. If we can do that, the world and all the writing in it will be a better place.
Go forth and boldly create your own expressions. Who knows, maybe your own words could turn into overused clichés themselves.