Cliche the writers curse or just ignore it?

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NsKu
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Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:42 am Post

I want your opinion about cliche.

When I started to write my story my friend who has been reading it time to time has giving me these insight what he sees on it when reading it and main topic has been rising up is "Don't write a cliche". It was actually his first advise :D not a bad one but we both are that old that we have behind of us thousands books that we had roamed thru so at this point it starts to get harder.

At some point I started to lift a imaginary finger to my friend about his using cliche and shooting down his examples about his point of view what in his mind is not a cliche but in my readings has been more common point.

So just about curiosity I did go online pages where you can buy a book. Took my genre of writing and when you got about 126 661 titles on audio book's alone, on physical books somewhere closer to 500 000 and just thinking how long mankind has been writing..?! How in earth you can not be writing something that someone has been writing earlier?
If you spell it right, it must be right even its wrong

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denegroth
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Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:53 pm Post

Firstly, by "don't write a cliche", this could refer to the entire work, not a phrase within it. I highly recommend people do not write cliched material. But, it seems like the majority of movies being made today, which were correspondingly written by a writer (or two or three), are cliched and apparently cliche sells quite well. This puts us in the area of - What exactly are you after with your work (or this particular work) since that determines the nature of the technical response.

Secondly, assuming you're after a work of art (literature in this case), originality is what an artist seeks, and cliche isn't original. There is such a thing as an original use of a cliche. A cliche could be employed, for instance, to demonstrate absurdity, folly or fallacy. If this is intended then it would behoove one to ensure the attempt worked.

Thirdly, natural dialogue should use cliche as people use them when they speak to one another, that is after all how something comes to become a cliche - feel me? -know what I mean? -see what I'm gettin' at? So, a hard fast rule in some cases might handcuff you.

Fourthly, there are no hard, fast rules except this one - rules are made to be broken. Ultimately, your usage will be gauged by its effect. Does it do what was intended? If there is intent, one can then assume, the writer is being creative and not just repeating sayings and phrases overheard in passing. I think that's what people are cautioning against when they say this about cliche. Make sure you're actually inventing your phraseology and using cliche as a device with intent.

(I hope we passed the audition!)
Nothing so cuts at the root of happiness and fills with rage
as the sense that another rates low what one prizes high.
-Virginia Woolf-

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NsKu
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Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:17 pm Post

"Thirdly, natural dialogue should use cliche as people use them when they speak to one another, that is after all how something comes to become a cliche - feel me? -know what I mean? -see what I'm gettin' at? So, a hard fast rule in some cases might handcuff you."

I think you are right.´, about that it can handcuff your writing. And when I really started to think "don't write clishe" - I just understood that I haven't read those 500 000 books that I would know actually what is clishe. I just wanted to share my thinking of it because its really hard thing if you start really thinking it too much. But you never heard that used when you see movies done over and over again even almost everything is the same. So why would it be so bad on writing?
If you spell it right, it must be right even its wrong

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kewms
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Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:47 pm Post

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" wasn't a cliche when Shakespeare wrote it. It would be if you did.

Yes, avoiding cliches is hard. That's why writing is work.

Yes, there are legitimate uses for cliches. But you're only allowed to break the rules if you know that you're breaking them and are doing it deliberately. In most cases, cliches are just a sign of laziness.

Edit to add: The reader is never wrong. That is, if someone who has read the story is bothered by your use of cliches, then you are not using them effectively. Readers don't care about your theoretical "cliches are sometimes okay" argument, they care whether they are enjoying the story.

Katherine
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