Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cliché: Something to Avoid or to Attack?

Writers are told to avoid clichés at all costs, but is such an attitude really necessary? After all, words and phrases become clichés after they are used again and again, which means they must be possessed of some inherent good in the first place.

Of course no great literature ever came out of re-treading tired turns of phrase over and over ad infinitum, and so it is the duty of all writers to find new ways to express their ideas. And if those methods of expression are good enough they might just become the clichés of the future, if the author is lucky!

But this does not mean that writers should simply give up the ground lost to cliché. If something has become passé, it simply means that it requires a new construction. To shun something for being cliché is not good enough; it constitutes a simple adherence to a ‘writer’s rulebook’ – something which does not, and should not, exist.

The best writers have the skill and confidence to tackle clichés head on, without fear of their work becoming mired in what has been said before. These writers can twist a cliché into a new form, reconstructing it and making it their own. Do this and you will be victorious; run away from clichés out of fear and you will have suffered defeat.

Click here for more info on clichés in romance literature, and how to deal with them.

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