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500 Cliches to Avoid in Your Creative Writing

500 Cliches to Avoid in Your Creative Writing
Cliches (properly spelled clichés, with the acute accent) are words and phrases, once interesting, which have lost their original effect from overuse. They are considered trite and should be avoided in writing unless used purposely for effect. We all use them without thinking, sometimes because they fit the bill or are just the ticket (both cliches), but usually because they're metaphors, idiom, or truisms that have become so common we no longer notice them. If we say better late than never or speak of someone being down in the dumps , we likely won't register that we just used a cliche. Writing that relies heavily on cliches is considered poor or lazy writing. The list of cliches below is not meant to be comprehensive, but should help you catch some of the more common cliches in use. If some cliches slip by you and your editor, it's not the end of the world. Cliche list A-K:

How to Cut the Waffle From Your Writing – and Grab Readers’ Attention (Image from Flickr by Unhindered by Talent) Have you ever read a book that was way too wordy? (For me, Stephen Covey’s otherwise excellent 7 Habits of Highly Effective People comes to mind…) The content itself might have been good – but the substance ended up buried beneath a froth of unnecessary words. Perhaps you found it hard to stay focused, or you simply stopped reading. When you write – especially if you’re writing online – it’s important to avoid waffle. So, how do you go about cutting the waffle from your writing? Step #1: Get Clear About the Topic Whatever you’ve written – whether it’s a novel, an ebook or a blog post – you need to figure out what belongs and what doesn’t. Have you included a chapter in your ebook that should really be a separate blog post? This isn’t about how good your writing is. Do It: Write down a one-sentence summary of your post/book/etc.Skim through and ask yourself does this fit? Step #2: Cut Out Any Paragraphs That Don’t Belong At the start of your piece.

9 Editing Tips that Make Your Writing Sparkle It’s often said that writing is rewriting. Banging out a quick first draft can be fun, but the real grunt work comes in revising your work. Here are nine editing tips that can help you polish your writing until it sparkles: 1. When you become too familiar with a piece of writing, suddenly it’s more difficult to spot weaknesses and errors. 2. Better than just reading your work aloud is recording yourself (most computers have a voice recording program already installed). 3. Don’t write the last word of your first draft and then launch into editing mode straight away. 4. If your sentence makes sense without using a particular word, cut it. 5. “A passive construction occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence,” says this university web resource. 6. Have you ever re-read a piece of your writing, only to find you’ve used the same word twice in the same sentence, or three times in the same paragraph? 7. 8. 9. Polished Writing

How to Avoid Plot Cliches: Tips for Writers on Increasing Their Chances of Publication | Nobody ever said plotting was easy. And because it's not easy, an alarming number of writers settle for so-called 'plot cliches'. Although the cliched situations that follow can appear in any story, some are more likely to be seen in a particular genre. For example, romance writer Francesca Hawley's blog has an amusing post on Heroines Too Stupid to Live. Number 3 on her list of plot cliches is "I shall allow a minor misunderstanding to become a major issue, when a simple conversation would have cleared matters up on page 10." For those who enjoy fantasy (or any writer who just likes a good laugh) Peter Anspach's "The Top 100 Things I'd Do if I Ever Became an Evil Overlord" shows the dumb mistakes that allow the villain to be killed or captured. What is a Plot Cliche? A cliche is an idea that has been overused to the point of losing its original effect or novelty, especially when at some stage it was considered to be 'different'. Four Examples of Plot Cliches

The Visual Dictionary - a visual exploration of words in the real world. Writing Tips - Publishers list of phrases for writers to avoid | authonomy writing community We have all met people who have the extraordinary ability to talk in clichés: Y’know, not to beat around the bush or hedge your bet, this section is a must-read because it calls a spade a spade and in a nutshell leaves no stone unturned to pull the rug from under those off-the-cuff, old-hat bête noires called clichés. These are the people who’ve given the cliché its bad name. Most clichés begin life as someone’s incredibly neat, timely or witty way of expressing or emphasising a thought. Many clichés are centuries old. The grammarian Eric Partridge identified four kinds of cliché. Partridge’s third group consists of foreign phrases (terra firma; in flagrante delicto; plus ça change) while his fourth comprises snippets and quotations from literature (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing from Pope, and Shakespeare’s a thing of beauty is a joy for ever). However we haven’t yet rounded up all the usual suspects (cliché). Answers: 1D; 2C; 3A; 4E; 5B

6 Writers Who Broke the Rules and Got Away with It Have you ever read a book and noticed the author has broken what we writers often hear of as “the rules”? My initial reaction is usually indignation: “Why can she get away with that, and I can’t??” The more I study the craft of writing, the more rules I hear about, and most of these are guidelines based on making a book reader-friendly. As much as I believe it’s good practice to avoid the common pitfalls of beginning writers, there are always exceptions to every rule. Here are six commonly heard rules for writers, and six authors who’ve gotten away with breaking them. (By ‘gotten away with’, I mean being published, selling tons of copies, and in some cases, winning awards): Rule: Don’t write in First Person, Present Tense Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife: Niffenegger’s popular title is told by dual narrators from the first person point of view, in the present tense. Rule: Keep your novel under 100,000 words Rule: Limit the use of adverbs. Rule: Don’t begin a story with dialogue.

Why Fiction is So Hard to Write I’ve been blogging for a little over three years. I’ve been writing fiction since … well, pretty much since I could write. My blog posts are read by thousands of people. Only 1% of the fiction I’ve ever written has been published. Fiction is incredibly hard to do well. Lots of people can write decent non-fiction. I’m going to say this, despite being an advocate of great writing: Non-fiction doesn’t have to be especially well-written. Of course, it needs to be competent. Fiction is very, very different. Why do you read novels? I believe we read fiction to escape the world for a little while – to escape the limits of our own experience, our own perspective, our own consciousness. That’s why fiction writers have it so tough. When I’m writing a blog post, I don’t have too much to worry about. When I’m writing a single scene in a novel, I have a heck of a lot to do. And all those scenes need to tie together. With fiction, it’s impossible to get it right on the first pass through. Really hard. But…

Visual Synonyms | Visual Antonyms | Thesaurus English Scene Transitions « Becky Levine Posted by beckylevine under Scenes | Tags: Revising, Scenes, Transitions | [4] Comments Remember, in the days when you were writing essays for English class, and a teacher would write the word “transition” in the margin of your paper? They wanted you to smooth out the jump from one paragraph to another, to use a phrase that would make the flow of text more clean. When we’re writing fiction, moving our readers from scene to scene, we need transitions, too. So what do we do? We have to be elephants. So you remember the connections. Here are a few suggestions: Show your hero stuck in, or fighting off, her mood from the scene before.Drop the characters into an action set up by the previous scene’s cliff-hanger.Send the story in a new direction, but let the main character show an awareness of that change. Don’t, as we all did with that pat phrase on our essays, stick your transition awkwardly and obviously into the first sentence of every new scene. How do you work out your transitions?

Themes & Things To Keep In Mind When Writing Fantasy Stories and Adventures » Daily Encounter This list is far from complete. It’s not even trying to be complete. It knows better than that. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments! Weather Natural: sunlight, rain, snow, hail, fog, humidity, moonlight, wind, smoke, clouds, shadows, overcast skies, clear skies, lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, moon in sky during daytimeFantastic: summoned weather, unnatural coloration (eg. green fog) Terrain Changes Natural: sunrise, sunset, storms, seasons, earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes, animal migrations, inside vs. outside (light adaptation), plagues/famine, weathering, floods, tides, animal hunting habits & territories, volcanoes, firesArtificial: buildings, statues, roads being built & demolished; political power struggles; invasions/war; kidnappingsFantastic: divine will, powerful magic, gods (dis)appearing Landmarks After-Effects of Events Tricks Cultures Mysticism Events Unfolding Harsh Situations fatigue, hunger, thirst, extreme temperaturesenemy territories (invading?

Fantasy: Getting Started By Sandra C. Durham © 2003, Sandra C. Durham his is a newcomer’s guide on how to get started in the genre of fantasy writing, from one newcomer to another. Writing fantasy, whether in the form of short stories or novels, does not necessarily follow a set pattern or formula. Contemporary and Urban Fantasy – Stories taking place in the real world, but with an element of magic or fantasy. The best approach to writing in any genre is to know your field. Once you have your book collection, read them carefully. A next logical step in progressing as a new fantasy writer might be to pick up a few good books on the subject. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference, from Writers Digest Books. The first book gives an overview of the field from a writing perspective. A critical step in writing fantasy is a concept called world building. Each step in the world building process is crucial to providing a cohesive background to your story.