07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cliched to Death and Sick of it?

Clichéd to Death and Sick of It?

By: Marcia King-Gamble 

Every writer struggles to keep their work fresh and avoid those much overused platitudes which have readers grimacing and rolling their eyes. You know exactly what I mean; those smarmy, trite phrases that in the real world would have you snarling, “Gag me with a spoon, please,” and running in the opposite direction. 

Yes, I know this blog is supposed to be about your favorite romantic clichés, but honestly, I have been over clichéd so have no favorites. I am taking an entirely different approach to this blog topic. 

Readers expect and deserve more than pit-pattering hearts and pulsating body parts. Romance writing is not about heaving bosoms and throbbing cores. Readers want to meet real people and be introduced to fresh new approaches to story telling.  And this my friend is why an author has a “voice." There is no excuse for lazy writing.

Top of mind are some much overused phrases that have me gnashing my teeth and swearing.

She fell into a sea of blue
She stared at him like a deer caught in headlights
He was the stuff dreams were made of
Her mouth went dry and her knees turned to jelly when he walked into the room

I think you get my point.

As a romance writer, it can be challenging to come up with fresh, unique ways of telling a story and still keep things steamy and romantic.  But it’s the writer’s job to find the right words to engage the reader and leave them panting for more. There are ways to do this without sounding soupy or over the top.  Why would anyone want to settle for the tried and true and sound like every other writer? You have your own unique voice and way of  delivering. 


When I sit down to write, I have my arsenal lined up of: drink, snack, research materials. I always have the print version of a dictionary and thesaurus within arm’s reach. There’s something about flipping through pages and finding just the right words or expressions that is liberating. I never get that rush surfing the web.  

If I want to be hip and current, there’s the Urban Dictionary. I’m amazed by the creative euphemisms for everyday words. With just some wordsmithing I can create jaw dropping scenes that would otherwise  be snorers. The Urban Dictionary is my “go to” place for snappy, current day dialogue. I’ve even created a character or two based on some catchy, down-home phrase.  

 Years ago, I received what is still today a cherished gift. The Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer Ph.D.  It is now one of my most prized possession and something every writer should have in their toolbox. If you are struggling to find the right words, you can find it all here.

Below you will find an excerpt from my latest novella, Tempting Andie (the third in The Revelers Series.)  The story is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to let me know if I’ve done a decent job without the cliches.

Excerpt from Tempting Andie:

The lobby doors slid open and Evan and Miguel dressed in brightly colored board shorts walked in. Andie’s retort got caught in her throat. The sheer maleness of Evan rendered her speechless.  She should have stayed with him last night. Today his unshaved whiskers made him look mysterious and sexier than ever.  Just once she wanted those biceps wrapped around her and those fingers strumming her chords. Evan’s broad chest in that Tee-shirt was designed for a woman to lay her head on.  Andie’s hormones were already revving out of control.

 And that ladies and gentlemen is it for this month!

Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned 26 books and 4 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family.
Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com  or “friend” her on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/MarciaKingGamble
Marcia’s latest release,  a novella, “Tempting Andie,” the third in The Revelers Series is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  http://amzn.com/B00MDZLAQI
She writes a monthly column for  http://digitalromanceinc.com


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Marcia, as an old English teacher I'm giving you an A+ on your excerpt. No cliche in sight! Thanks for the tips. I'd heard about the Urban Dictionary but not the Flip Dictionary. I'm going to Powell's later this week so I'll check them out.

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thanks Judith for stopping by and commenting. Love, love my Flip Dictionary. You will too.


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Fun post, Marcia. I don't think I've used any of the clichés on your list, and I'll have to look for that Flip Dictionary!

Paty Jager said...

Marcia, Great excerpt and the post is spot on about cliches. You intrigued me with the Flip Dictionary as well. I'm headed to look it up. ;)

Rain Trueax said...

Interesting article. I also wrote down the Flip Dictionary as I'd never heard of it but it sounds like a great tool. :)

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Yes, ladies. I got the Flip Dictionary as a gift and have not been without it since! Thanks for stopping by. Happy to share tips and I learn so much from each of you.

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for the great resource book ideas! Enjoyed your post and excerpt.

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thank you, Sarah. Good of you to stop by.

Christy Carlyle said...

I loved your excerpt too, and thanks for the resources to look into. It is hard to avoid cliches, but well worth the rich and vibrant result. Thanks, Marcia!

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Nice to see you here, Christy. Always add a twist to a cliche and that usually works.