Writers Share Which Clichés People Should Avoid Like The Plague


So predictable....

Everybody wants to be a writer. Trust me when I tell you I know this for fact. Everybody thinks it's just something anybody can do. That is NOT true. Aside from trying to learn the basics and structure, everyone wants you to be original, and do things never done and avoid the obvious. Those are all landmines for an artist. You have no idea how a writer is going to utilize action and cull emotion. But we try to avoid all things we think may feel cliche.

Redditor u/boredcircuits wanted the writers out there to discuss a few things asking.... Writers of reddit, what cliché should people avoid like the plague?

Child's Play...


Children who speak and act like adults. HumanShadow

But for the love of god don't give the kid a lisp in the dialogue. It's fine if you say he has one but don't try to write it out, or a stutter for that matter. imminent_riot

It all adds up...

The 'big' cliches are not so bad. A princess locked in a tower, a boy who is secretly the heir to the throne, a guy has some weird thing happen to him and gets superpowers and becomes a superhero. The sort of over-arching plotline cliches might not be optimal but they are far from the worst thing you can do. People like that sort of familiarity.

What really kills a story is having a bunch of small cliches. What you might call sentence or paragraph cliches. Jokes we have seen before. Dialogue exchanges we have seen before. Scenes that play out in the exact way they have played out in other books. Description we have seen before. Your story can have the craziest, most original over-arching plotline, but if it's strung together with a bunch of cliches it will be boring and shitty. Oberon_Swanson

It's Just Sex....

Awful sex scenes filled with terrible euphemisms. Although it would spell the end for the yearly "Bad Sex in Fiction" competition, soooo...... maybe don't stop quite yet. aseiden

Mirror, Mirror... 

Characters describing themselves while looking in the mirror. geminiloveca

She looked tenderly into the mirror with her technicolor eyes, her perfect, flowing hair shining beautifully. Her dress, her makeup, her every conceivable aspect was absolutely, divinely perfect. Mary Sue sighed. Why was she born flawless? Why couldn't she just be a normal human being like everyone else? She shrugged it off and took her pet dragon to magic school. HelloIsFloob

The Money Shot!

In my freshman English class at community college, I wrote an "original" story about a kid whose dad dies of cancer, but on his deathbed, he makes his son promise that he'll win the basketball championship. Which he does by sinking the game-winning shot at the last second. And then he looks up and sees his dad's face in the sky.

Since I've been working as a writer for 20 years now, it's egregiously cringe-worthy. DenL4242

Local Yokel

Dunno if it's a cliche but it sure is bad writing: describing things by using superlatives from a character's perspective.

"He looked down upon the most beautiful valley he had ever seen."

Well OK, I know he's an easily impressed yokel but wtf does the valley actually look like? jameseglavin4

You're pretty.... we get it!

Tortured descriptions of people's looks. Cozy4ever

His haggard Hagrid visage was oozing from the various cuts and sores on his aged face, which were inflicted by the venomous cows. EpicWickedgnome

Eyes Wide Shut! 

Having the last page of your book be "And then I woke up." Followed by a size 78 font "The End." TommF

And then you turn the page and it says, "OR IS IT." DenL4242

Use the Imagination...

A lot of people are annoyed with the over-done descriptions of eyes. But really, no mention of eye color is probably best. You don't actually need to give a meticulously detailed physical description at all. It's not usually relevant, and it does no more to humanize a character than reading someone's driver's license will tell you revealing details about who they are.

When it comes to describing appearance, you should bring it up organically, and only when it's relevant. Starting your story by subjecting the reader to five minutes in the Skyrim character creator with you at the controls is wildly boring, and no one will remember all of your precious details anyway.

The reader will imagine the character how they want to, and you can add relevant details to that as you need to. Until then, work on showing who the character is based on the interesting things they say and the decisions they make, not their ice-blue eyes, perky tits, and totally awesome outfit. hackedteddiursa

She's So Unusual...


Two guys fighting for one girl who is surprised that anybody at all likes her. Usually a high school student, the guys (one or both) generally have some sort of supernatural aspect, small town, girl doesn't have more than one good friend, I could go on. KittenWhiskers24


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