Author Pam Johnson is here again today offering up some more of her writing wisdom.
How Cliche Can Harm Your Creative Writing
Whether you recently submitted a creative writing assignment or did so in the past, your professor or teacher might have written the word “cliche” on it. A cliche is a saying that is generally overused. For example, “Life is short” has become a cliche in modern society. Why do these phrases hurt your creative writing?
They’re Not Creative
The fact that cliches drain all creativity from the sentence is the major reason why they should not be included in creative writing. The point of creative writing is to come up with your own ideas and to express yourself. When you are using cliches, you are expressing another person but certainly not yourself. Your audience wants to see that you brought your own spirit into the writing.
They Show Laziness
When you cannot think of something to write or say, what do you do? If you just throw a cliche in there to fill space, then you are doing a true disservice to your writing. Cliches show that you did not want to take the time to think of something poignant to put in there. As a result, your audience might feel that you really do not appreciate creative writing as an art. Cliches show that you think of creative writing as something you have to do as opposed to something that you want.
People are taking the time to read the words you have written on the page. As a result, you should at least take the time to write them and express yourself properly. Throwing a cliche in there means that you could not think of anything else to write and that you did not want to wait awhile. Most people realize that you need to take the time to go back and revise a piece when you really care about it. Therefore, if you are using cliches, your audience is going to think that you actually don’t care about the piece or making it sound perfect!
Cliches are also boring to read. People might not even bother to read them because they are just so superficial. At this point, so many cliches have been used time and time again that they do not have meaning anymore. People just use them as fillers in their conversations, and they do not care about what the words actually meant. When readers see a cliche in your writing, they will probably just pass over it. Sure, some readers might not notice if they are really just looking for a very casual novel or story. Ultimately though, you probably want to break beyond this barrier into a more sophisticated style of writing.
Should cliches be entirely avoided in creative writing? Well, writing dialogue is one exception. You may want to show that a character is a rather cliched individual or someone who uses these phrases all of the time. Still though, be careful of the overuse of any particular device when you are just breaking into the creative writing world.
Author Pam Johnson is a social worker who teaches children to write creatively as a way to cope with their difficult life events. She obtained his degree from one of the Best Top 10 Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Programs.