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Home Success Tips for Writers Cliches are Like Stepping in Dog Doo at the Park

Cliches are Like Stepping in Dog Doo at the Park

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Snakes in the grass make me want to end it all. Those two examples were probably neat ways of getting across a point the first thousand times they were used. After a while, phrases become cliches and become cliched.

One of the wonderful aspects of some stories is the prose that flows like poetry (not rhyming poetry). In fact, the way feelings and facts are communicated can be more important than what is communicated. Call it style, voice, art, it is something that many stories lack. Most cliches were originally creative ways to convey a point. When they are borrowed and beaten to death, they are no longer creative, but actually downgrade your writing.

If, while reading a story that flows and has interesting use of language, an editor runs into a hackneyed phrase, it is like a pleasant trip through a park interrupted by an unfortunate misstep in dog doo left by an inconsiderate pet owner. The immediate thought is "couldn't the author come up with a creative way to say this?" Too many cliches can get a story rejected.

If a cliche is used by a character to shed light on the character speaking, cliches can be understandable, though still not preferable. If the cliche is used by the story narrator or the exposition it is simply a writer mistake and should be rectified.

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