There's a time and a place for everything (pardon the cliched phrase). And it's all about what the author does with the cliche. Vampires and romance are a cliche combination. Yet, for decades people have been eating it up (Anne Rice, anyone?). Same thing with superheros (are Spider-man, Superman, and the Fantastic Four REALLY that different?) The whole point is to take something that may be cliche, like a coming-of-age story, and making it unique.aspiring_x wrote:1. do you believe "cliche" or as i like to refer to it "common phrasing" is ever acceptable? i vote yes. if not used as a crutch, sometimes using familiar terms is the most precise method to evoke the imagery you wish to relay.
As for common phrasing, again it really depends. I hate to make something wishy-washy, but rarely is anything in writing so cut and dry. Just as the ink dries on the written rules, a bestselling novel comes out that breaks all of those rules. Basically, never say never (another cliche!).
"Cliche" probably does get tossed around too much, but it's a lot easier than taking two sentences to explain why a certain word choice isn't optimal. For example, "just when she thought it was safe" or "in an ironic twist" or "completely out of the blue" all have the potential to be cliche or not. If it's the former, then yes it is cliche and the writer should know about it.2. do you think that "cliche" is a term too loosely thrown around? sometimes i think wonderfully intelligent writer-folk get trapped into a mentality of superiority. instead of enjoying reading, stories, characters, etc. we get distracted by pet peeve terminology, and deem such phrasings as cliche. i don't think any of us want to read the same thing over and over again, but i find that people throw around the word cliche like they don't know anyother words.
Agreed. Purple prose in an attempt to avoid an overused phrase is just as bad.sure words should be used correctly and precisely. sure words can be strung together in ways that take your breath away. but not every sentence needs to be poetry. sometimes, isn't it best to just get to the point?
i think the general rules of thumb should be: when i read this aloud does it make me stumble over words? and is this phrasing the same thing i hear all the time? if we answer yes to either of these questions we've probably missed the mark.