9. Cliches: There’s nothing wrong with a little familiarity

When I first began writing, it was hard to avoid cliches. I thought they were these terribly unoriginal things that would destroy any credibility I hoped to inject into my stories. What I didn’t understand is that cliches exist for a reason. They are what they are because a lot of people can relate to them. They’re simple ideas the are accessible by a wide audience and have become a staple of our reality. 

Still, cliches can quickly bore your readers and turn your story into a mess of relatable ideas we’ve all heard before. The trick to cliches are the layers that lie beneath. 

We do this all the time in our own lives. Imagine you’re describing a friend to somebody else. You might say something like, “Fred is studying programming at UW Madison. He’s a nerd, but he’s not your typical comp-sci major…” 

Computer science. Nerds. Cliche accomplished. But there’s something that differentiates Fred from the traditional programmer stereotype. That’s going to set you up to reveal something interesting about Fred. So in a way, cliches allow you to transition into content that is much more original and sets your story up for something that your readers never saw coming. 

Don’t be afraid of saying something that’s been said before. Just be willing to explain why it’s unique or relevant to your specific story, and you’ll write something that nobody else has. 

Write On, 432. 

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