I was supposed to post yesterday, but was so absolutely swamped –with real life and writing life- that I did not have a minute to spare. So I’m taking advantage of the open day on our blog and sneaking in.
Which brings me to the subject of my subject. In recently working as a contest category coordinator for my local RWA chapter, I was speaking to the overall coordinator about one of the entries in our contest. I’d really liked it, and thought it deserved a high score. But in her private comments to me, she mentioned she found it full of clichés. I did a mental head scratch. Clichés? Call me dumb, but that hadn’t occurred to me at all.
Part of that I blame on parents who exaggerate everything to the point that my father frequently used the term “over exaggeration” (which is technically an oxymoron.) I don’t know if it’s the New York upbringing in them, but they had a saying for everything. Two of my mother’s favorites when I tried to get away with something were “I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck,” and “I wasn't born yesterday.” :)
My contest coordinator’s comment reminded me of a Harlequin Historical I read years ago in which the author got revenge against her editor, who insisted on removing all her clichés, by writing a Spanish heroine who used clichés frequently, but got them wrong. It was who the character was, so the editor couldn’t change a thing.
So I ask the readers: what do you think of clichés? Do you notice them? Do you care? Do they drive you up a wall? Make you madder than a wet hen?