Writing Tips Round Up: Avoiding clichés4 min read

by Feb 20, 2018Tips0 comments

“Common metaphorical expressions such as ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ are ‘dead metaphors’. Dead metaphors are figures of speech that have lost their meaning through being repeated so often. Without the metaphor being explained, many English speakers will know that ‘raining cats and dogs’ means that it is raining hard (not that domestic animals are actually falling from the sky).”

This Now Novel post is a good starting point for studying the cliché, covering every category you might think of, from setting to simile.

“In general, soap opera dialogue is dramatic, quick-paced and not how people talk at all. Note the dramatic, weighty pauses in-between lines, or the pause while the camera pans over the actor’s shocked face. Many authors attempt this drama unnecessarily in their fiction, often with words like “suddenly”, “shockingly” and “angrily”.”

Over at Re:Fiction they’re tearing the soap-opera novel to shreds and giving you plenty of reasons to avoid falling into its trap. Time progression, flashbacks and dream sequences are all tackled in this feisty guide!

“Characters must ultimately drive a plot, propel it forward. If your characters don’t act in ways that are plausible (as Aristotle indicated all those years ago), your plot becomes weak, and once your reader questions a character in this sense, your narrative spell is broken.”

Writers Workshop sets their gaze on character clichés as they delve into how to write compelling protagonists, avoiding caricatures and stereotypes.

“Love triangles are prevalent across urban fantasy, as in many other genres too. What makes them frustrating is that you’ve seen them before, many, many times, not only in other books, but on TV and in the movies as well. Romance triangles can also make the heroine who is part of a couple with the first guy seem selfish, and make the third guy who usually comes onto the scene, interfering with the both of them, self-serving.”

To narrow the scope even further, Writing Tips Oasis takes a look at the cliché epidemic in urban fantasy fiction and how to dodge romantic triangles and the ever-present “chosen one”.

“Biting Lip Syndrome” (BLS) is a term I’ve coined to describe the all-too-common shortcuts writers use to build their characters; biting one’s lip is the most prevalent of these. This is especially true of female protagonists. Instead of providing a nuanced or varied response to the plethora of stimuli, their responses stay largely the same. They bite their lip when they’re feeling shy, when they are holding their tongue, when they’re aroused and when they’re scared.”

Finally, this incredibly fun post from Letterpile digs through some of the most overused tropes used in YA fiction, from the Overly Qualified Protagonist to Biting Lip Syndrome.

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