Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Avoid Clichés, Contests

Clichés. Boooorrrrrrring! One way to eliminate boring text is to avoid clichés like the plague. Oops! Like the plague is a little dull from too much use. It’s as dull as a beige shirt from the All Taupe Shoppe.

A cliché is an overused phrase or expression, and we sometime use them because they pop into our heads and fit the text like a glove. The problem arises when the reader knows the next words in a sentence before reading them. Clichés drain the excitement and wonder of words that make reading fun.

Clichés often spring up in writing comparsions (fits like a glove) or describing images (dark as night). Instead of using worn-out phrases, be creative; play with words in fresh and exciting ways.

Here are a few clichés to steer clear of, uh, avoid.

Calm before the storm
Selling like hot cakes
Flat as a pancake
Quick as a wink
Higher than a kite

Try writing new beginnings or endings for each of the listed phrases. Be refreshing. Be original. And beware of clichés.


IonaMcAvoy is accepting submissions for a proposed anthology of
young adult short stories, with the title: RUSKRDYET?© This anthology will be composed of stories for the teen/young adult market where supernatural and paranormal meets technotalk.
Details at
Deadline: Midnight CST, June 30th, 2010. There will be 10 to 12 stories with word count minimum of 3500 and maximum 5000.

Woodland Press announces a new anthology: Appalachian Folklore: Dark Tales of Superstition and Old Wives’ Tales
Story Length: Up to 2500 words
Deadline: September 1, 2010
Details at

Creative Writers' Circle Short Story Contest
Finish the story! Here’s first paragraph of your story.

The city was a distant smudge of light against a dark landscape. Here, away from it all, crickets sang and the breeze rustled the tall grass. Well, they would have, ordinarily, but it was raining. The crickets were silent, and the grass too heavy with water to make a sound. Thomas waited patiently in his old truck with one knee propped against the steering wheel and his small yellow dog curled on the seat beside him. The highway stretched out to his right, to the city in one direction, and into the nothingness of the country in the other. To his left was the edge of a dense forest where poplars and a few scrubby pines competed for sunlight. The dog sat up suddenly, a whine somewhere deep in his throat. Something moved in the corner of Thomas’ eye. Someone stood at the edge of the woods, leaning against a tree. Thomas peered through the blur the rain had created on the truck’s window. The figure stepped out of the woods, moving hurriedly towards Thomas’ truck...

Deadline: June 15, 2010
Details at

No comments:

Post a Comment