10/12/09

WPF: Using Cliché the Write Way

I must have been looking at the wrong calendar because I forgot to post a writing prompt on Friday. Posted something else instead, which I'd intended to have post today. Ooops!



Clichés and idioms are bad, bad, bad. Most of the time. As a general rule, don't use them in your writing—especially in your narrative. It's okay to sometimes include them in dialog, because that's how people talk. But it's better to come up with something fresh and new, and not to use them at all.

Except as writing prompts, where a good cliché can go a long way. (heh)

Okay, so the prompt is:

Find a cliché or idiom that suggests a story line to you. Then write a short story or a few paragraphs using the cliche as either the title, the first line, or the ending punch line.

For example, you might start with, "It was a slip of the tongue, I promise!" or "Jason stared at me with cold, dark eyes. This was my friend. I couldn't believe it. He was going to throw me to the wolves." (Or if you're Melanie G, you could say, "...he was going to throw me to the werewolves..." :)


For lists of cliches and idioms, click HERE or HERE.

If you post your story on your blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments section.

5 comments:

Jennie said...

I deliberately started my new novel Shudder with a cliche. You can read the whole first chapter here: www.jennielhansen.com

Gussie said...

This prompt sounds like a lot of fun. I'll give it a try. I wrote a short story about the plague prompt that you posted a few weeks ago. Here are the first lines--if you're "hooked" please click on my blog at the bottom to finish reading the story. Thanks!

Crows perched like winged demons on the thatched rooftops. Rats scurried through the gutter and hordes of flies swarmed on the filth. It was the summer of 1665, the year of the Black Death, and London Towne reeked with the stink of rotting corpses. Panicked Londoners fled the city like ants from a flooded nest. James Moore, a cobbler by trade, fumbled with the harness as he hitched the shaggy pony to his two-wheel cart.
Lord, forgive me, he prayed. James blamed himself for waiting too long. Now the plague had reached his parish. Every night more bodies were abandoned in the street for the death cart to haul away. It was said that a man might eat a hearty breakfast at dawn, sneeze at noon and be dead before dark.
To finish the story go to my blog:
http://Idahogussie.blogspot.com
Leave a comment and tell me what you think. I tried to format the paragraphs without success. I have a lot to learn about blogs.

Melanie Goldmund said...

Okay, how could I resist a prompt that literally has my name on it? Although I don't have a blog, you can read my paragraphs here on my site:

http://www.geocities.com/janejinn/WritingPrompt01.html

LDS_Publisher said...

Good job, Melanie. Thanks for playing. :)

Kate said...

Melanie,
You've left me hanging. I need more.