Books Read in 2011

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Clockwork Angel
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
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Sunday, October 17, 2010



You know you've got a cliché when you see the exact same line in another book.

I was reading a free first chapter of  A Better Place, by Mark A Roeder, when I came across this sentence: "Every girl wanted to be his girlfriend and every boy wanted to be him." (Roeder, Kindle locations: 54-58). Yeah, I know, I've heard this sentence before, in a movie or somewhere, but it just really shouted at me when I saw it in print. Luckily, I had already cut that sentence from my manuscript.

Have you seen a cliché sentence in a book you've read that you recognized from your own manuscript?


  1. I find it challenging to show reactions (eg fear, love, etc). Most of them have been done over and over again. Coming up with new ways to describe how the character feels without just telling "X felt sad," requires lots of creativity :)


  2. I'm pretty sad this week that the expression, "A lot of ink has been spilled," is a cliché. :( Generally speaking, I love clichés, because they feel like old friends. Unfortunately, it's not a good idea to fill a book with them.

  3. I've noticed it more in reading other works, as far as specific phrases are concerned. But I haven't done an official edit yet. I've seen stuff like "it was the first day of the rest of her life" and other stuff like that before. My challenge is wondering if other aspects are cliche, if my characters aren't original enough and other such things.

  4. I've seen that line you gave so many times -- usually in reference to a girl though, not a guy. I just don't think most guys usually think like that ... "oh, I wish I was him."

    Hmm ... a cliche I've used ... hmmm ... can't think of one right now, but I'm sure there's one in there somewhere.

  5. I'm the queen of cliches! Thank goodness for revision so I can nuke them all. The one I've used -- and the one I always see -- is "She shook her head to clear it."


  6. My pitfall is people looking at each other, frowning, glaring, meeting eyes. Perhaps I'm just visually oriented, but it was something that was brimming over in my first WIP. So much telling.

  7. Eyes...the eyes! The word "eyes" rated very high on my word list >.< I have the same problem as you have, Marieke. People are always shifting their eyes, running them, scanning them, rolling them, glaring, peering, gha!

    I also have a lot of thumping hearts, because I'm trying to show, but it's just a lot of heart beating.... I need to find something else to display fear or anxiety.

    Su: "A lot of ink has been spilled" I've heard this before, but to me, this still isn't a cliché. It still sounds beautiful :)

  8. I'm sure I use cliches... I try to cut them out as much as I can, but I think the occasional cliche can work if you're trying to make a specific point. Maybe one per book, really. I can't think of one that I've cut from my own work lately, but I know there's got to be several!

  9. I just love the first line in your post. It's the best way I've ever heard a cliche described before.


  10. by the time I am done with my revisions i hope I still have some story left :)

  11. If you take every book ever written, then there is probably a line in another book that's the same. That's the problem I see with cliches. How can you write something new for every single line when people are linked with similar ideas? It's frustrating at times!

    I think you can just try to get of the big ones or ones you come across. I doubt anyone can get rid of all of them, and why should they? Cliches is what connects us as people. True, we should try to be as original as possible, but in the end, isn't that a bit cliche too? *grins*

  12. I have to constantly battle to avoid cliche's in my ms... it's so hard becuase usually the first thing that jumps to mind is a cliche.

  13. Faith: Yeah, one or two by book is probably okay ^.^ As Cherie says, it's very hard to write anything because most lines have been written before. What I try to do is change a cliché a little, if I really need it.

    Clarissa: Thanks :) And I love your name!

    Joanna: I know! Isn't it infuriating? Still, I was reading Stephen King's On Writing, where he advises to put the manuscript away for a month and then you get all excited when you get back to it (the first're probably tearing your hair out in the tenth revision - but I'm sure King never has to go that far).

    Charie: It is a cliché ;) Well spotted.

    Erin: I suppose that's why they're called clichés! Sentences that used to be brilliant enough that we automatically write them.

  14. I'm just popping over to say hello from one Crusader to another.

    I saw a metaphor recently that was dangerously close to one I'd written. I had thought it was so original so I was gutted.

  15. I struggle with the beating hearts too, and I'm writing a crime novel, so there's lots of getting scared.

    I wrote a metaphor that I loved and then I recently found it in Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna. I was gutted but I left it!

    (I'm a new Crusader, BTW, coming by to say hello!)

  16. Oooh! Consider yourself added to my blog roll.

  17. Writing in general is an oft quoted cliche - "There are no new stories just retelling of older stories," or how about, "It's all been said before." I could add a few more but it would just be another cliche. :-D