Clichés are easy.
They are even easier to get trapped in. Using lines like “green with envy” or “butterflies in the stomach” are easy- they lack creativity, emotion, and you. Yes, YOU. Do you live your life trapped in these overly used phrases? No, you don’t. You live in a world filled with “jealousy dripped from her/his/their tongue” or “nerves shook the strength right out of him/her/them”. You can use the idea but forgo the words. Watch out for these traps. Clichés are everywhere and, in most cases, we don’t know we’ve used them.
I’m gonna use my cliché of needing a cuppa and a nibble. I do use that often enough to call it a cliché, right? Ah, who cares? I simply need to refill my cuppa and grab an apple. Hey, question…what’s your favorite kind of apple. I used to think it was silly to say you liked one over the other. They are apples for cripes sake. But then I got old(er) and realized that they are different. I love Honeycrisp apples over any other. So sweet and delish. How ‘bout you? Which do you like?
Anyway, grab your fresh cuppa and a nibble and meet me out on the reading rug. I am still working through two books with you.
Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood
Self-Love Workbook for Women by Megan Logan
Ready? Here we go!
How do you battle a cliché in writing? Well, Carol Bly, author of The Passionate, Accurate Story, said to write the second thought that came to mind. Clichés tend to be the first thought because we have heard and used them so many times in general conversation. It would be so easy to just use them, but they have been overused which is why we call them cliché. Rethink your word choices. Choose the second, third or even fourteenth idea. Whichever one you choose it will be fresher than the cliché that has been around since the early 70s.
Sometimes it is pure laziness on our part that allows us to use the same old stuff. Maybe it’s insecurity in our own abilities to feel the emotions our character should be feeling at that moment in the story. You are a lazy writer if your goal is to give just enough information and hope the reader will simply fill in the blanks. If that is your intention, then simply leave blanks on the page and let them fill them in. Our goal as authors is to entertain, not give our readers homework.
What is your range of emotions? No, really. Have you felt absolute joy, fear, hatred? If no, then how can you write those emotions? I had a college professor tell me that the best feelings to read are those the author has felt themselves. Ambiguity is when you attempt to write feelings you have never experienced.
One of the job requirements of being an author is being able to dig into your own treasure trove of emotions and allow them to flood your pen. Even the bad memories and or feelings can help build your character(s). If you can’t do this, then you will leave your readers confused and possibly annoyed.
Dig deep and explore what you have in your arsenal of emotions. How can you use them to best describe what your character(s) are going through? If you lack the emotion, pure fear, for example, then go hunt for it in movies and other novels. Research it. What do you see or feel while deep in the minds of the character(s) in the movie or novel? Can you feel the emotion you are searching for? What does that feel like for you?
A bit of Self-Love
Put Yourself First
I get it. The world can be a demanding place. You have school, work, family, friends who are all in need of something you possess. But you also need things. We always seem to put the needs of others before our own. And, if you are a woman, we are taught from a very young age that we are to care for everyone else.
Example: I am not a bath taker. Showers are my jam. But having kids, they took baths. Because they took baths the tub would get cruddy, and it was my job to clean it. Why? I didn’t take the bath that left a thick ring of gunk. I didn’t leave the bucket of bath toys in the tub; nor did I play with them. But I was taught early on it was my job. I then taught my girls the same rules…then I untaught then.
I started teaching them to take time for themselves. Whomever funked up the tub is the one who must clean it. You made the mess then you clean it up.
How does this help you put yourself first?
This gives you time, cuz you didn’t mess up the tub, to focus on you. It takes time to learn your value. It takes even more to learn how to carve out time for yourself. Find 10 minutes within your day to focus on you. I use my shower time. I feel the heat from the spray. I inhale the eucalyptus and spearmint bodywash that I love so much. It clears my head. I take a few minutes to stretch my body in the warmth. Because I have physical ailments this helps a lot.
- If you live in a nature filled area, go outside, and sit quietly and breathe. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Feel your lungs filling with fresh air and notice the calming effect it has on your body.
- Listen- just listen. Close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you. Remember, there are no good or bad sounds. Hear them. Write them down.
- Self-soothe through touch. Twirl your hair around your fingers. Rub your arm gently or your neck and shoulders. Notice the physical sensation and relief. Sometimes we do these things without realizing it, but self-love must be intentional, at least in the beginning.
Write yourself into your schedule.
Schedule a block of time in your day for you. Like I said earlier, it may only be 10 minutes, but it must be 10 minutes solely for you. Not a cuppa with a friend. No nibbles with a co-worker. Just you and your breathing.
You are worth it.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent