Author's Tips

WE ALL LOVE A CLICHÉ… DON’T WE?

I am an advocate in the belief that humour is wonderful medicine. While medication and I aren’t BFFs, the best things in life are free and I am happy to swallow a healthy dollop of laughter, giggles and guffaws to ease the stresses and strains of modern life. With that in mind, I’d like to share an anecdote about the cliché, that sneaky little play on words that continues to grow and rise in popularity quicker than you can blink an eye. These little blighters are not a flash in the pan nor are they a fly by night. These little cutie pies are the best thing since sliced bread and miles better than a kick in the teeth! So, roll out your buzzwords, roast those old chestnuts and be as trite as you like. Clichés ain’t a drop in the ocean; believe you me, they are here to stay.

Love them or hate them, we can’t deny that clichés are all over the map and all that jazz. Come on, who wants to beat around the bush, bite off more than they can chew or struggle to find a good phrase to use in conversation? When in Rome, do as the Romans do… use a cliché. It’s a walk in the park!

Make no bones about it, we all use them, so milk it for all it’s worth. Admittedly, some people have a string of clichés as long as their arm. For others, they’re few and far between and I don’t wish to make a mountain out of a molehill or a song and dance about it… at the end of the day, everyone has their own preference. Sometimes the cliché can serve a purpose. To cut a long story short… they work in certain circumstances. When copywriting, brevity is essential. Clean, concise, crisp copy works wonders, but platitudes, waffle, verbosity and rabbiting can be a copywriter‘s Achilles’ heel, going down like a lead balloon.

The cliché is a Godsend for padding out a novel or introducing a witty quip. Some clichés are extremely amusing when used in the right context. As long as every page is not filled to the brim with them, you’re cooking on gas!

The cliché could be regarded as a necessary evil. Does anyone really know how many they say or write in any one day? Does anyone know how many they have in the pipeline? Does anyone care? Yes, I do when I’m burning the midnight oil as an editor and proofreader. I must cut the clichés and pawn the platitudes. Most of the time it’s a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees. Are you getting the message? Do you know which way the wind’s blowing?

So, I’ll get off my soapbox and cut to the chase. Using a cliché is a piece of cake if you can’t find the right words. If you’re stuck, don’t let someone rain on your parade. Give them a run for their money and don’t walk on eggshells. Think outside the box. Come on, folks, it’s not rocket science! Roll out a cliché! We all love them… don’t we?

Personally, I avoid clichés like the plague and if you believe that it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee!

Laters!

The Nitpicker

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