Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Too Cliche? Or Not Too Cliche.

Okay, so it's been awhile since I've posted something downright funny. I think. Don't any of you dare say my serious posts have been funny. I'll cry. I swear.

Anyway, I've been dreadfully busy, and so I thought my recent google chat conversation with my crit partner would be fun to share. It's about the word cliché. I think the word cliché has become a bit cliché lately. Everyone tosses this word around like it's a hot potato. I mean, come on, if you really sit down and think about it, every book has been written, every story has been told. Someone comes to town, or someone leaves town. Not much more than that.


The Most Amazing Crit Partner in the world, Dawna: I think I'm going to put this at the begining of my book.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,
Where can we finde two better hemispheares
Without sharpe North, without declining West?
What ever dyes, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.

me, who likes to tease people way too much: you're effing kidding me, right?

My poor friend who hadn't yet chugged enough coffee for this conversation, Dawna: why

me, who apparently has a potty mouth: i can't even effing read it

Frustration increasing, as much as her need for caffeine, Dawna: It's an old english poem

me: clearly

Dawna, the woman losing her patience with me: by John Donne

me: dying laughing here

Dawna. I think the smiley means she was mad at me: it's beautiful :-)

me, trying desperately to make her realize I was joking: you want people to get that impression about your book? i mean, seriously, dawna, poems at the beginning of books are cliché!

Dawna, done with Krystal for the day: there's that word again

me, feeling like a comedic failure: speaking of cliché, prologues are cliché too
and so are first chapters
OH! Don't put words in your book. that's cliché too

Dawna: life is cliché

me: death is cliché too


Anyone else tired of this word? I certainly am, and I think my cp is, too (especially after my rant in chat today. BTW, guys, she may or may not use poetry at the beginning of her book, but my response won't sway her. That was all just for fun!


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  1. A cliché is just a trope used poorly. If you put in the work and get it right, even the same old stuff can feel fresh and new.

    That said, achieving that is pretty damn hard, and you have to accept that readers will have a certain knee-jerk reaction to particular things. If you can face up to the fact that you're including something that'll make most people roll their eyes before they've even read it, and still think you can turn it around and use it to draw the reader in, go for it.

    Just don't blame the reader if they don't get it.

    1. I agree. You just have to write what you see and feel. If people believe it to be cliche, oh well! :-)

  2. Glad you're back. That was good fun. Some people can create amazing art with crayons. The cliche (okay I don't know how to get the accent mark in in the comment box)in the hands of the right person can make you forget you've ever heard it before. Where cliches don't work is when they are used by writers unwilling to work at their art. The reader can tell the difference.

    1. Thank you, Christina! The readers can certainly tell if an author hasn't tried, but sometimes reader are cynical. Just stay true to your story, and you should be fine! :-)

  3. This is a really great post. I enjoyed this post very much.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Gina. :-)

  4. This post made me laugh. Everything seems to be a cliche these days. At the end of the day you just have to write the best you can and let the readers decide.

    1. Exactly, J.C.! I believe people enjoy using the word. :-)

  5. I hate the word *cliche* almost as much as I hate the word *subjective* ... almost. And I'm beyond sick of writers using it to knock down other writers. Hmph.

    I don't understand that poem. But then, I probably should have gone to college for more than a semester or two. ;-)

  6. it's interesting, twilight zone ish, even. I have a short story that I've built around a John Donne poem as well. Small world hu ... ;)

    I was once told that my writing was clicheic .... Kinda made me angry since I didn't use even ONE tired old cliche in it, but some how it was still clicheic. I think Jessa is right. it's a crutch that others can use to "critique" a work when they really can't find anything wrong with it.

    Although, (forgive the hypocrite here) Cliche's are a pet peeve of mine unless they are used in dialog. If a character says the cliche then that is just the character's voice. I think it should go the way of the LY words ... just use it sparingly. ;)


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