Today’s guest post comes to us via Diane Carlisle and is a cautionary tale on the use and misuse of clichés. Enjoy.

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

A prompt from FWA Conference Blog led me to this post. When I followed the exercise steps, this is what I came up with.

It was a dark and stormy night, and I know this because the alarm woke me up in the middle of it. Why was my alarm set for 11:30 p.m?

Wait a minute. Maybe the crackling thunder woke me. Who knows. Instantly, my phone started to ring. Did it start to ring, or did it ring? It rang. Who could that be? Maybe I should answer it?

“Hello, this is Diane Carlisle. May I ask who’s calling?” Of course I can ask who is calling, it’s my phone, right? This is a scary nightmare for me, but how can it be a nightmare if I just woke up?

I find myself walking around my house, completely forgetting the fact I’d answered the phone and there’s likely someone on the other end speaking or waiting for me to respond. But, oh no, I must check out the artistry in my dark cherry wood sofa-table, which has been there for the past 12 years. Why am I looking at it now with so much attention to detail?

Then after I check out all the other furnishings in my house, in which I’d lived in for the past 12 years and should probably not be distracted by its lovely decor, I remember the phone.

“Yes, sorry. I was checking out my furniture. Excuse me? No, I’m not familiar with that case. Wait. Did you just call me detective?”

I pull the phone away from my ear and look around. Yes, I’m at home.

“I’m a detective in the middle of a police procedural novel?!”

***

I promise to remember why we shouldn’t use cliches, not just the phrases, but the actions of our characters as well as how we drive them in our stories. Which cliches make you shudder most?

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