Warning: This blog will discuss cliches. Reading further may flip your “offended ” switch on. Continue at your own risk! But enjoy either way!
As a writer, I'm going out on a limb here.
What were you expecting after reading that? Anything? Nothing?
This blog started with perhaps one of the most overused cliches in the history of overuseism…for your reaction.
Were you discouraged because “Oh no, here we go again with the cliches.” Or did you understand what I meant and knew a statement was to follow? Were you curious to read the statement?
Maintain that curiosity, I'm going somewhere with this.
Whether I'm reading about them, talking about them or sometimes even thinking about them, I get negative vibes. I decided it was necessary to bring cliches to the front and center of my blog.
First, here's the tried and true definition:
Cliche: A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.
It went on to give a few examples of what a cliche is, but that's the basic definition.
Here's my definition of that dreaded word.
Cliche: A commonly used expression or opinion used to extend the user's reach and enhance the reader's involvement.
Second, here's my personal take on cliches…
I like them.
I especially like reading them. I enjoy seeing what writers and authors do with them. It gets me hooked from the start. My opinion on a certain writer or author is often developed on their handling of cliches.
Cliches breed familiarity between the author and the reader. Most writers, me not being an exception, want that connection with our audience. Like most people, I rely on cliches.
Let's do a little role playing. Say you and I happen to meet. We'll set the scene in a bookstore just because. We shake hands, exchange names and pleasantries, then what?
Here's a hint. When you're out in the social world, what's the first thing you seek in someone you just meet?
Odds are in your favor that the person you just met is looking for the same thing.
Cliches connect us socially. If something triggers familiarity it's already interesting by our social standards. Because we're in the know. We can create conversation.
Why do you think writer's groups even exist? It's so we can come together and discuss something that's of interest to anyone there. Musicians, Actors and others have their own groups for the same reason.
I'm not a dancer, I can't dance and I don't want to learn how to dance. So I avoid going to dances. What happens when I do go?
I sit around, watching other people dance, thinking beyond the dance. What will I do once I finally get out of here
Name one place you won't find any usage of cliches.
- Home? To this day I still don't run with scissors or play ball in the house.
- Work? Companies rely on and develop their agenda large in part because of cliches. They may call it a guidebook or a set of rules but we know better.
- Clubs? Yeah right, there's a plethora of original pick up lines in clubs.
- Stores? This includes any and all stores. Have you read or seen any advertising lately? It's almost always a play on words or a phrase out of context. Stores probably rank fourth behind movies, books and television in use of cliches.
- Restaurants? See Stores. Change “rank fourth” to “rank fifth”.
If you come up with any places, please make me a smarter person!
Without naming names, think of the movies, book and television shows we wouldn't have without the cliche. Bet you can name a few of each right now.
Have I ever written anything without cliches? Maybe a couple things here and there. It's for that reason I embrace cliches with open arms.
Take this blog as an example. How many cliches have you noticed? How many did you expect? Did it affect your opinion of the blog? Maybe it affected how you think of me, the blogger?
Can you imagine a world without cliches? What world do you live in?
What's your take on cliches? Are they overused? If so, why?
You read my reasons behind cliches. I'm for them. I like them.
Here's my bottom line question:
Do you like cliches? If yes, why?
Do you dislike cliches? If yes, why?
I look forward to your comments! It might teach this old dog a new trick or two in the world of writing!