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AlishaS
03-17-2010, 09:37 PM
Ok so can I first off say that I hate the search on here, it never comes up with anything relevant. I know there are threads on here for this very thing but where are they?

Anyways, so I have a problem, I am trying to get help, go to meeting and that sort of thing but it's not working. I use clichés all the time, and I mean like ALL THE TIME. I can't help myself but what is worse is the fact that I am using the boring obviously ones (the tip of the iceberg) that jump out and smack you on the head and scream dumb cliché.

So I thought we could turn this into some sort of game to both help me and have a little fun. Basically take the everyday clichés but make them even better or funny.

Take a boring cliche and make it new and improved.

backslashbaby
03-17-2010, 10:09 PM
Does the Pope sh!t in the woods?

:ROFL:

That one cracks me up. You know: Does a bear sh!t in the woods? Or, Is the Pope Catholic?

It's not exactly what you are talking about, but close enough cos it's amusing ;)

Kitty Pryde
03-17-2010, 10:16 PM
When I was younger, I used to always say, "What? I'm as pure as the driven snow!" and then my friends would have to say, "You're as pure as the driven-ON snow." Poetic, ain't it?

midwestamp
03-17-2010, 10:20 PM
You're making about as much sense as a bow-legged hooker during lent.

eurodan49
03-17-2010, 10:22 PM
Cliches are fine in dialogue (even internal dialogue), as people would use them.
In narration, clichés are considered a no-no.

blacbird
03-17-2010, 11:50 PM
Many, perhaps most, clichés are tired old similes and metaphors. If you're addicted to similes and metaphors, that may be a source of your problem. A lot of writers, even some very successful ones (hard-boiled mystery guru Ross MacDonald, for instance) overuse similes and metaphors. Go through your writing and take such things out, ruthlessly, and see if they are really needed or serve a function. If you think they do, try to replace the tired ones with fresher ones, things of your own invention rather than something you've heard from elsewhere.

caw

desperadium
03-18-2010, 12:05 AM
Like pulling teeth from a baby - one of my friend's favourites, disturbing isn't it?

kaitie
03-18-2010, 05:18 AM
Actually, this is a lot of fun. I've got a really clever narrator right now who knows enough about writing to know cliches are bad, and his way of dealing with it is to find some creative way of changing it, just like you've suggested here. Here's an example of one that was in the last section I wrote. I can't claim it as my own because this was a case of I couldn't think of a darn thing myself, and a friend suggested this one and it was brilliant.

Anyway, my story is about superheroes, so the line goes: "I knew I wasn't the only one waiting for the other spandex boot to drop."

Line by my awesomely clever friend who always has the best suggestions. ;)

folkchick
03-18-2010, 05:41 AM
I still laugh at my brother's from way back when, summing up the small town we grew up in: "Ah Spring Hill, where the men are the men and so are the women."

James D. Macdonald
03-18-2010, 05:58 AM
The best way to search here is to go to Google, and type in Site:absolutewrite.com then your search terms.

A cliche was originally a group of words that were so commonly used together that they were cast as one piece to speed up manual typesetting.

Diviner
03-18-2010, 07:09 AM
The best way to search here is to go to Google, and type in Site:absolutewrite.com then your search terms.

A cliche was originally a group of words that were so commonly used together that they were cast as one piece to speed up manual typesetting.

Thanks for the info on search. Also, very interesting about typesetting.



The thing about cliches is that the metaphors and similes work. If we are using them to make our writing more vivid, we have to make our innovations work as well as the original cliche. For instance, "the tip of the iceberg" is a really good image with its combination of barely visible hazards. To find a substitute, a writer has to think of several things: the voice and world of the narrator, what similar dangers lurk in his own familiar world, what would be an equally natural expression for him, whether it is a slippery stone in a stream or a loose pin lurking in a sewing basket or a hidden thorn on a stem or even a bit of grit in a firearm; the exact an appropriate quality of the image, subtle yet vivid; and whether the image enhances the prose and illuminates the prose without calling attention to itself. A good metophor or simile does not dazzle so much as illuminate.

Two books that have exercises in building original and vivid metaphors are McClannahan's Word Painting and Hazel Smith's The Writing Experiment. Anyone interested in techniques to write more vividly might benefit from becoming aware of the poetry-based concepts explored in either of these books. For me, they are enchanting word games.

shaldna
03-18-2010, 01:39 PM
The best way to search here is to go to Google, and type in Site:absolutewrite.com then your search terms.

A cliche was originally a group of words that were so commonly used together that they were cast as one piece to speed up manual typesetting.


really? that's awesome, I didn't know that.

dpaterso
03-18-2010, 02:30 PM
Ok so can I first off say that I hate the search on here, it never comes up with anything relevant. I know there are threads on here for this very thing but where are they?
Try using the Google Custom Search box which displays at the bottom of every page, it's set up to search AW forums and usually gives better results than vBulletin's search options. A simple search on cliches brought up a bundle of threads.

-Derek

Mr Flibble
03-18-2010, 02:38 PM
To find a substitute, a writer has to think of several things: the voice and world of the narrator, what similar dangers lurk in his own familiar world, what would be an equally natural expression for him That's the fun bit :D

It's just another form of saying the same thing, only differently. So for the 'tip of the iceberg' I've used -- in a pseudo-mediaeval warrior society who have never seen an iceberg -- 'The hilt of the sheathed sword.' Ie the dangerous part is the part that's hidden.

Take the intent / meaning behind the cliché and then make it fit your character's world.

shaldna
03-18-2010, 03:11 PM
Does the Pope sh!t in the woods?



This is my new favourite quote.

kuwisdelu
03-18-2010, 05:53 PM
I love metaphors and similes because the new-ness is what makes them fun.

If I see a cliche in my prose, I'll burn it with fire. If I miss one, I hope someone will tell me so I can kill it and put in something better.

I do admit to being guilty of sometimes re-using my own metaphors and similes, without knowing it, which is what I really need to watch out for and double kill.

shaldna
03-18-2010, 06:02 PM
I plan one day to write an entire novel where every sentance is a cliche, the plot is liche personified and all teh characters are super-sues.

I'm gonna call it 'Twilite'

lucidzfl
03-18-2010, 06:57 PM
Why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here.

shaldna
03-18-2010, 07:56 PM
Why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here.


Haha. I love BTTF

lucidzfl
03-18-2010, 10:03 PM
Haha. I love BTTF

Lissen, butt head...

Have you ever heard the song about BTTF from the guy who was biff?

Its freaking great.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwY5o2fsG7Y