Friday, January 16, 2009

That Is So Cliche

When you're a writer, you're taught to avoid cliches like the plague.* The thing is, they do exist for a reason, don't they? I mean, something is cliche because it resonates well with people and therefore sticks, correct?

But, of course, I understand that when writing, you want to try and use fresh, creative language, which means not resorting to the way someone else said something but finding your own, unique way to express that same idea.

But then, if we can't use cliches in writing, when can we use them?

On a small digression, isn't creative writing itself a cliche? So many people either think they can write or wish they could write, especially people who want to show they think about the world around them. I would hope everyone thinks about the world just a little, but perhaps writing is just as cliche as guys wanting to be sports players when they grow up, yeah?

I'm not sure. But I do think that there is a way to take a cliche and make it not cliche by making it yours. That's probably how creative writing becomes not cliche, and how anything becomes not cliche. The challenge,I suppose, is figuring out how to make something yours. At least, I think that's right.

*Yes, I'm aware that was a cliche. :)

4 comments:

Ezzie said...

Median salary of an NFL player: $770,000.

Median salary of a writer: $34,000.

And they say it's writers who "think big". HA!

Erachet said...

And here I was being serious, too.

Besides, salary is in no way connected with cliche-ness. :P

Liz said...

Well, what's a cliché?
Frankly, graduating college is so clichéd, everyone does it, it is just so uninteresting...
You get my point.
Logically, something is no longer clichéd if you've made it your own. But I think that clichés in writing are the double problem of trying to say something that has not seen said before (either style or content) and saying something that people want to hear. Making it your own isn't enough. You can make the story of the poor, country lad who discovers that he has powers and is guided by some old dude and finally confronts the badguy, only to learn that said bad guy is his father your own...but it still has to have a twist in it somewhere.

On a related note, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage is wonderful and the biggest timesink ever.

Ezzie said...

Frankly, graduating college is so clichéd, everyone does it, it is just so uninteresting...

AGREED!!!