5 More Clichés to Avoid

I've been reading Captain Blood, by Rafael Sabatini, (which, by the way, has nothing to do with vampires) and the other day I came across a trite description in said book. This prompted me to think about other cliches, and then I had to write them down, and now I have this blog post.

So, in the interest of original descriptions in writing, here are five more cliches to avoid!

Slim Volume. Why does a character always find things like the confessions of a forger, or the business dealings of a dishonest bagel shop, or a ten step plan for world domination inside a slim volume? Or sometimes the slim volume is a novel that changes a character's life direction.

And I wonder, are authors being unfair? After all, fat books have good things to say, too.

Startlingly Blue Eyes. I first encountered this description when I read The Long Winter, when Laura Ingalls met Almonzo Wilder and noted his eyes were “startlingly blue in his tan face.” That was quite early in my reading career. I have come across this term countless times since, and while blue eyes may still be shocking, abundant use of this term has ceased to convey any sense of alarm.

Tantalizing Aromas. This word combination is often found when an author is a describing a kitchen. The room is full of busy jolly people, light, heat and the tantalizing aromas of cooking food. But the problem is, this term is about as exciting as soggy cardboard. 

Snow Capped Mountains. Poor things - can't they afford stocking caps? (Sorry, that is what snow capped mountains brings to mind.)

Flawed Human Being. I haven't read this in books, but I have seen it innumerable times while on the internet. Yes, people are imperfect, I don't deny it. But can we think of a different adjective, maybe?

Everyone says, “We need to remember that [insert person here] is a flawed human being just like us.” Very true observation, but hackneyed word choice. Why, if I didn't know better I would say excessive use of this word is a sign of flawed humanity.

What about you? What are some terms and phrasings you see a lot in books or on the internet?


  1. All. Of. Them. Except "slim volume"--I haven't noticed that one. Also, I now have the image of mountains wearing stocking caps in my head (haha). Thanks.

  2. You're welcome, glad you liked it!


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