Avoid Writing Clichés

By on September 8, 2017

Including clichés in your writing is a common mistake, and one that at some point, us writers are probably all guilty of. Sometimes we write clichés without realising they are so, and it becomes easy to lose these in your writing and much harder to weed them out!

So how do you ensure that you steer clear of the cliché? Here are some helpful tips:

Avoid plagiarism

OK so we all know it’s not cool to steal text from other writers, but it’s also not cool to steal their ideas. Some stories have been done to death, and unless you can throw a unique twist or give a refreshing take or opposing point of view on them, it’s best to steer clear.

Be careful when choosing sensational subjects

Every good book should be full of drama, however, if you decide to write about a sensational subject for the sake of it, you may end up including lots of predictable clichés in your book. Think carefully about the characters you include in your novel and how to make sure you don’t turn them into stereotypes.

Take your time

When you first start writing a novel, the desire to get the story down and to excite and engage your readers at every twist and turn can lead to rushing through your story, which, in turn, can lead to lots of clichés littering the prose. By taking your time and carefully thinking about your story, as well as letting the action unfold naturally rather than rushing through it, you are far less likely to do this.

Turn the ordinary into something extraordinary

Your story doesn’t have to be about something mind-blowing or dramatic. It’s all about the way you tell it. By turning something ordinary into something out of the ordinary, you are less likely to fall into the trap of clichéd writing.

Pay attention to your descriptions

Writers can get lazy with the way they describe people, as well as the places and things characters see and do, or how they feel. Pay attention to every one of your descriptions and try to make them fresh, unique and arresting too.

Don’t be so melodramatic!

Unless you are writing a soap opera, cutting out unnecessary melodrama from your text is a good idea. You want your readers to believe in your story, to find truth in it. If it’s full of melodrama, of people storming out of rooms, punching each other in the face, smashing windows in anger etc. you could be distracting the reader and taking away from your story as a whole.

Avoiding clichéd writing is so important as it’s something both agents and publishers, as well as your readers, could pick up on. Follow the above tips to ensure that your writing is cliché free!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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