Kristen tells us that, although fun, clichés should not be used in writing.
Clichés are phrases, expressions and themes that are overused throughout writing, entertainment and literature. They can range anywhere from phrases, such as “in the nick of time,” to characters that are “diamonds in the rough,” or advice that comes to you like “all that glitters is not gold.” Everyone has heard these and most have probably used them at some point in their life. They are common knowledge among anyone who has ever read a book or watched a movie.
In moderation, clichés are not horrible. But in some ways, they are incredibly convenient because almost everyone understands them. In formality, however, clichés should be avoided at all costs. Using clichés in an essay could convey a lack of originality or conversational tone. Using phrases such as “nerves of steel,” “at the speed of light” or “raining cats and dogs” does not bear a true understanding of your subject and may actually annoy your reader as they may expect your writing style to match the situation at hand.
Clichés do not only come in the form of phrases. There are cliché themes that are often found in literature and other ways of entertainment. ‘Love at first sight,’ ‘happily ever after,’ ‘good triumphing over evil’ and ‘love triangles’ are all common clichés used in old and modern entertainment. We have seen these occur in Disney movies, books like the Hunger Games trilogy, TV shows like “Pretty Little Liars,” and comic books of all kind. This makes clichés, in a way, unavoidable when you’re writing something for entertainment. Though overused, these clichéd themes have managed to hold peoples’ attention and create some of the most popular and most loved stories of all time.
Eliminating clichés from your writing is a nearly impossible feat. There are far too many to avoid all of them, and they are too familiar to not use when trying to get people to understand your point quickly. If you do wish to avoid clichés as much, which I recommend as they can grow tiresome, here is my advice: go against yourself, think up unique characters and situations, elude retelling old tales, disregard stereotypes and write slowly. Going against yourself will force you to think differently, allowing you a fresh mindset to come up with different phrases and situations. Creating unique characters and situations will do the same thing, forcing your mind to come up with new phrases to use and themes to work with. When retelling older tales, it is almost impossible to avoid clichés due to the nature of retelling a story that has already been written. Stereotypes are full of clichés.
Writing slowly is the best advice I can think of when it comes to writing anything. It will allow you to choose your words carefully, thus making everything precisely what you want while avoiding the clichéd phrases that could easily delude your writing.
Kirsten Saylor is a freshman studying English. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.