A Dilemma: To Cliché Or Not To Cliché, That Is The Question

I think that this resource, Cliché Finder, could be useful for writers. 

A cliché, as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is: “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” More information about clichés here: 50+ Examples of Cliches: Meaning and Origin & Definition and Examples of Cliches.

I’ve nothing against most clichés I suppose. I’m too easygoing to run around snarking about the use of them, BUT when writing something it’s good to learn/confirm that you’re using a cliché. And that is precisely what the free online Cliché Finder does for you.

For instance, even though I’m mellow yellow about most trite overused phrases I vehemently dislike one particular cliché: “thinking outside the box.” It’s so old I’m sure Moses used it. Adam probably used it before him just to annoy Eve. 

That’s how old it is. Quite rightly.

But thanks to Cliché Finder, I know for sure not to use my disliked cliché so that my writing is fresh and original, not stale and antiquated– because that would not do.

Anyhow, as a way of showing you how the Cliché Finder works, I wrote the following scintillating little flash fiction story, popped it into the Cliché Finder that told me I’d used SIX* overworked phrases.

Bad me. 😁

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

What’s your least favorite cliché? You know, the one that makes you stop listening to what someone is saying or to stop reading what is in front of you. We all have one, don’t we?

[Extra credit to anyone who gets the Donovan reference.]

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* The six clichés are: old as the hills, think outside the box, read between the lines, matter of time, busy as a bee, writing on the wall.

The Rest Of The Story: Answering My Gentle Reader’s Questions

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ARE YOU EVER GOING TO WRITE THE DEFINITIVE PRIMER ON BLOG COMMENTING ETIQUETTE, LIKE YOU SAID YOU MIGHT LAST SUMMER?

I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on how much I want to call out other bloggers on their less-than-stellar behaviors.  I fear that my natural honesty and snark could easily sound passive-aggressive— and that would never do.  So I hesitate.

WHY WERE YOU SO EASY ON THE PAINTERS WHO PAINTED THE FAMILY ROOM THE WRONG COLOR?

I forgave the painters, two guys who are partners, because they’re good men who we’ve had paint other rooms, and their work is perfect.  Yes, perfect.  Our interior designer told one partner what color to use to in each room, but he got the colors mixed up because he was on his way to “the old country” [in Europe] where his father was seriously ill, subsequently passed away.  Mistakes happen, you know?  And they re-painted the family room the right color, so all’s well that ends well.

WHAT’S BECOME OF YOUR NEIGHBOR, CRAZY BIRD LADY?

Crazy Bird Lady has calmed down over the years.  No more banging metal pots to scare birds away.  I saw a man from the HOA in her backyard pulling down all the shiny streamers, talking with her as he did so.  She no longer shouts obscenities at the birds & the neighbors who feed them, and all her weird flower pots are gone.  Now I only hear her when she’s talking to her dog– loudly talking, but saying normal things to her puppy.

WHAT WAS MIRABELLE’S REVENGE?

Mirabelle waited. She knew her mother hated it. Feared it, even.

She heard the shriek, her name being called. Mirabelle tried not to smile but she knew this revenge was perfect.

Mommy was vain. Without her make-up, flushed down the toilet by Mirabelle, she’d have to go to work barefaced.

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Any more questions?
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#Flash4Storms | My First [And Perhaps Last] 50-Word Flash Fiction Story

… and now for something completely different.

Sarah Brentyn at the blog, Lemon Shark, is hosting a flash fiction challenge to raise funds for hurricane victims. Read more about the specifics of the challenge here: Flash Fiction Prompt for Hurricane Relief #Flash4Storms.

I’ve never written flash fiction before, however Allie P. did this challenge here on her blog, Allie Potts Writesand she’s one of the cool kids, so I’m following her lead. Thus I give you my first [and perhaps last] 50-word flash fiction story.

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The knock at the door was soft, but the weeping was loud. Mirabelle asked: “have you seen my mommy?”

Wanting to help, the neighbor called around, learning that her mommy had forgotten kindergarten dismissed early today.

Meanwhile Mirabelle waited, sitting on the sofa, shredding her tissue, forlorn, and plotting revenge.

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