Saturday, May 1, 2010

Clichés Are for the Birds

We're all told to avoid them, yet they show up in every writer's first draft. The key is catching them in the second, third, or fourth draft. So in honor of our pledge as writers to avoid clichés, here are my top seven cliché phrases (because a Top Ten list would be way too cliché).

7) The difference was like night and day. - Or black and white, or Baptist and Pentecostal.

6) It happened in the blink of an eye. - Or, It happened faster than a stomach clench at reading all these clichés.

5) I feel as big as a beached whale. - Cliché or not, this one is true thanks to my baby belly. Here's another true statement: I feel bigger than a hippopotamus on steroids.

4) Don't let the cat out of the bag. - Instead of freshening this one up, I just have to ask who put the cat in the bag in the first place? And who is going to get the poor thing out?

3) We can't afford to lose. - If we lose, we'll be sorrier than all these washed-up writers who can't freshen up their clichés.

2) It's as easy as pie. - Who said making a pie was easy? For me, It's as easy as a frozen Marie Callendar pie.

1) She was scared to death. - Her fear rivaled that of a writer stuck in a time warp of bad clichés.

What are your toughest clichés to kick? Do you have any fresh takes on the clichés in this list?


  1. I have a sneaking suspicion that the reading public isn't bothered by cliches--just us authors! However, the challenge to "write fresh" is a good one, however bitter the pill (hee hee).

  2. I agree with Steph above! Besides, I've always liked some cliches, especially in dialog, because they're familiar. I feel the same way about some adverbs. . . So here's to a few good cliches and adverbs! :-)