French poet Gérard de Nerval said, “The first man who compared woman to a rose was a poet, the second, an imbecile.”
There are many unspoken rules in the writing world. One of which and it happens to be a “biggie”… Avoid Cliches!
Let’s take one of the most over used clichés known to man, Bible Verses. I cringe at the sight of clichéd Bible verses plastered in vinyl on every smooth surface imaginable. The effort to “spread the good word” has reduced the Bible to a cliché. Such a shame, so how did we get here?
In an age of one line Twitter tweets and one sentence Facebook updates, no one wants to take the time to learn anymore. The age of instant gratification has descended upon us, so let’s just package our product quickly and slap a familiar old saying on it. Can clichés be attention getters? Maybe. Icebreakers? Possibly. Irritating? Definitely.
It comes down to being an original. I must admit, I do like inspirational quotes, which are often times very cliché. But they can be comforting, and serve as a point of inspiration. The key is NOT to translate the cliché into your writing. As writers, we must come up with our own words; even invent them if needed, to find our own language so that our own personality comes through in our writing.
Many literary agents and publishers refer to this as “voice.” One can hear that term loosely applied so many ways, but “in the end,” an author’s “voice” must be original. It cannot be overused, trite, and irritating…much like the over use of “quotation marks” in this sentence.