Monday, June 26, 2006

Like a Deer in Headlights...

Recently, I read a book crock full of clichés and understood why we’ve been told to find new ways to say old things. A handful over all is not bad, but when you find one to two per chapter you begin to wonder if the author was under a deadline and couldn’t think of new descriptions.

Let me give you some examples. In the nick of time. In the blink of an eye. A tough nut to crack. Too close for comfort. Easy as pie. Higher than a kite. Payback is hell.

Those are obvious clichés. Some that aren’t as obvious. When her hand touched his, a tingling sensation shot up her arm (I’m guilty of that one and promised myself not to use again). He had washboard/six pack/eight pack abs (I do admit I still like that one for obvious reasons, but a guy can still be sexy without them). The slight knot/crook in his nose was from a fight in his younger days. He moved across the room like a panther/tiger/cat. Her laugh sounded like angels singing/running brook/tinkling bells (that one always scared me - think about it). She was known as the Ice Queen/Iron Maiden/Cold B*tch.

Another cliché I’ve seen in romantic suspense the past couple years is the heroine is a late night radio personality. I understand the purpose, but, please people, be original. Of course, the guy is usually the detective. That’s okay only because there are dozens of detectives in large cities and they have a reason to be involved in the murders, but there is really only a handful of radio personalities and they need to stay out of it.

What are some clichés that ring your bell in the wrong sort of way?

3 comments:

Karen Beeching said...

Ooooh, let me think. Other than my own horrible writing problems ...

I've read a couple of books so full of similes (like like like) that I couldn't finish them. It just became too distracting.

I've also noticed, when reading romance, I prefer the hero or heroine to be good looking but not sensational. Seriously, how many "sensational" people have you met who are still single?

Exactly. Plus, I just don't want them to be that perfect. I don't know any physically perfect people. Never have. So I would prefer not to read about them. I recently read a category and the hero was so perfect in every way, it nearly gagged me. This was soooo unfortunate because the writing was well done otherwise.

And the one I hate most of all. I really dislike when the guy is super aggressive physically. I'll think to myself when reading it ... man, this is borderline restraining order ...

For people who have really experienced this kind of thing (physical abuse), it's difficult to put a sexy spin on it, no matter how sensational that hero is. I've heard this complaint from other readers as well.

Carla Swafford said...

Hello...hello...hello. Anyone out there? Everyone at the beach already?

MaryF said...

One I've found in my own writing lately is the characters blame being tired on letting their thoughts run away with them...."He must be more tired than he thought if he was thinkging about getting her naked...."