We all have our tendencies as writers, but when do those tendencies become distractions to readers? Do our tendencies come at the expense of strong characterization? Can a simple gesture like winking be a cliché? How important is avoiding clichés in your writing?
TWA’s Harrison Demchick explores the consequences of shorthand in fiction in his new guest post at Romance University. Shorthand gestures like winking, Harrison explains, are too easy—universal, but obvious. In that respect they’re not much different than clichés like “a chill ran down his spine.” Readers understand what they mean, but only because they’ve been used a million times by other authors.
“Easy, it turns out,” says Harrison, “lives right across the street from lazy. When you utilize clichés and tropes and stereotypes instead of crafting your own language and characters, you’re not really creating original work, and that’s demonstrative of lazy writing.”
Harrison Demchick came up in the world of small press publishing, working along the way on more than two dozen published novels and memoirs, several of which have been optioned for film. He is an award-winning, twice-optioned screenwriter, and the author of literary horror novel The Listeners. He’s part of The Writer’s Ally team as a developmental editor of fiction and memoir, for which he’s currently accepting new clients.
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