Improve your Writing Tip #6 - Clichés are boring

May 10, 2013, 0 Comments

Improve your writing

Clichés are boring! Clichés have been around the block; they’ve run their course. Clichés are what you write when you don’t have the energy or inspiration to think of something original to say. It’s alright to use them in your first draft, as thinking of a better metaphor may take time and interrupt your flow, but always try to cut them when editing your writing. Your readers don’t want to see a cliché; they want to see a fresh, new metaphor that gets them thinking in different and exciting ways.

George Orwell said "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print". We use clichés all the time when we are speaking because they are great for conveying a concept quickly. When you're writing a cliché is boring because you are not saying anything new (you're just repeating a cliché).

When you edit your writing, try and underline or highlight every cliché that you come across. Try to brainstorm a fresh metaphor to replace each cliché, for example, if you’re trying to replace “she was happy as a lark,” think of what other things are happy, or think of situations in which you are happy and magnify them. For instance, maybe you have a penchant for chocolate, which might lead to Charlie and the Chocolate factory, which might lead you to “she felt as if she’d just found Willy Wonka’s golden ticket”.

A good writer may create and reject over a dozen images before finding the right one, so don’t worry if it takes you a while.

ProWritingAid will highlight any clichés that it finds in your writing so that you can replace them with a fresh metaphor.

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Next improve your writing tip: Improve your Writing Tip #7 - Don't repeat yourself

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