Like a Needle in a Haystack

Author Jerry B. Jenkins has some very good advice about removing cliches from your writing over at Writer’s Digest. Yep, Writer’s Digest. Hard to believe.

Clichés come in all shapes and sizes. There are just as many clichéd
scenes as phrases and words. For instance, how may times have you seen
a book begin with a main character being "rudely awakened" from a
"sound sleep" by a "clanging" alarm clock? Have you written an opening
like this yourself? Wondering where to start, you opt for first thing
in the morning. Speaking of clichés, been there, done that. We all
have. Don’t ever do it again.

Compounding that cliché is having
the "bleary-eyed" character drag himself from his bed, squinting
against the intruding sunlight. And compounding that is telling
the reader everything the character sees in the room. What comes next?
He’ll pass by or stand before a full-length mirror, and we’ll get the
full rundown of what the poor guy looks like.

Are you cringing?

7 thoughts on “Like a Needle in a Haystack”

  1. THAT’S the guy responsible for the horrendous, preachy, ignorant and terrible LEFT BEHIND series?
    Man or man, I’d like to give him a solid sock right in his pie-hole.

  2. While Jenkins makes a valid point, it is hard to take him all that seriously. I have read a little over half of his Left Behind series and it is filled with horrendous plotting, lazy writing, and, yes, way too many cliches. So his advice is a wonderful example of “Do as I say, not as I do” in action.


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