5 Clichés to Forsake

For my first blog post I'll be offering a list of five deathly dull clichés found in writing, and why writers should never employ them.

Rippling/Bulging Muscles. I have encountered this phrase more times than I care to remember. It is always used when the author is describing how a muscular male looks. Sometimes I get so tired of reading it that I wish the fellow in question could jump out of the book and give the writer a bop on the head for being so unoriginal. But, I realize a blow from such a muscular dude would hurt, so I repent of that wish.

Large Eyes. Frequently used when telling about a beautiful female character. I know this statement is meant to be appealing, but the longer I think about it, it isn't. Astronomical, oversized eyeballs are cute only in anime. When large eyes are referenced, I get this mental image of bulging eyes that overwhelm the face in a most unattractive fashion. Think Gollum with hair.

A Bundle of Fur. This is supposed to bring forth warm and fuzzy feelings, because the author is generally talking about something cuddly and adorable, like a kitten. I used to overlook this phrase, until I thought about it. A bundle is actually a package. So this is really saying, “a package of animal hair.” Stay away from this unless you are describing a trapper's livelihood.

Smooth, Practiced, Fluid Motion. This one appears all over the place. It's not exactly a cliché, but I weary of reading it. Again, and again, and again. Let your fingers execute a smooth, practiced motion on the keyboard as they write something else.

Smooth Flowing Script. This expression is like a stalker. It shows up when you least expect it, plaguing even the most innocent of people. But, it has got to go. It will do you no good at all. Its dullness will be the death knell of your writing.

The best portrayal of handwriting I ever read was in Early Thunder, by Jean Fritz, in which a character had a “muddy little signature.” Now, your character may not have handwriting like that, but hopefully they have an author who can think of a fresh way to describe it.

Of course, these can be justly called my pet peeves, but I hope they are helpful in calling platitudes to account. What are some the clichés you dislike?


  1. I've never consciously noticed these before, but as I read through your list, I realized just how many times I've seen all of these cliches. They're going to drive me crazy now! :)

    I found O, Ye Scribes through Goodreads, by the way, and it looks good so far! (you should add a follow/join button--I would love to keep up with your blog!)


  2. Thanks for the comment! (And the advice!) I added a follow button, and I'm following your blog as well.

  3. Oh my goodness, I wish I was a better writer and had words to describe how much I enjoyed this read. I wholeheartedly agree, and I wholeheartedly laughed out loud (whilst trying to keep from waking my sleeping family) at your commentary about each. So thank you for that!

    I'm Jen, I found your blog because we had theology in common. It was so neat to find that we have more things in common. It was a pleasure stopping by, and I hope you keep this writing up; you have a gift with words!


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