Writing Advice and Humor

Original Cliches: Three Ways to Revamp Overused Cliches

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When most writers hear the word cliche, they shudder, they think of Hallmark-style romances and villain’s monologues. But not all cliches are bad. Some of them, though they have been used many times, have the possibility to be the start of an amazing story, if executed correctly. So here are three ways to use cliches without being cliche.

1. Use it as a starting point.  Let’s say you want to write a spy story, but you’re afraid that it won’t be original enough. Rather than just ditching your idea, try to use it as a starting point. Three or four drafts later, you may find that your story is unlike any you’ve read before. For example, our book started off as the kind of story where three teenagers try to save their CIA agent parents who have been kidnapped. In our final draft their parents still get kidnapped, but instead of trying to save them, the kids go on a journey to get to a safe house. Had we feared the cliche, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

2. Make it better. Another way to use cliches is to improve upon them. Use the cliche, but make it better. Who says it’s normal to have a nerdy character if they like to play sports or a spy story that takes place in a small town?

3. Turn it into a awesome plot twist. So, one of the worst things about cliches is that they are predictable, and not many people want to read a story where they know the end from the beginning. But what if you were to write a story in which you lead your reader to believe you’re doing something predictable when you’re not? Make them think you’re going cliche when you’re really sneaking a major plot twist in through the back door.

Well, that’s all I have for now. What are your thoughts on cliches?

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