The Clichés That Writers Don’t Know About

We all over look clichés at some point and when we go back through our work and see it we say ewww and take it out.

But when writing clichés goes beyond a simple phrase like “I love you more than I love myself” or “We’re closer than two peas in a pod” it may go over looked by the writer.


Here are a few clichés that writers might not be aware of.

1. The Character Waking Up In The Beginning

When a story starts off with the main character waking up it’s a cliché. Think about it. What real action is going on in a character’s waking up routine? I’m not saying every story in history that started off like this is bad (the stories that did it first wouldn’t be considered cliché) but it’s time to go with sometime new.

Start off with the character already awake and doing something interesting. This will get the story moving and draw your readers in. A double plus.

2. The Drunken father/stepfather

I think some writers loves to write that unstable dad that loves to lie on the couch and grab a beer. Some writers switch it up and make it the mom who is the drunk of the family but the result of a present cliché is still there.

Why do writers use an unstable figure such as the alcoholic? Well alcoholism is very common in America and writers may believe that their readers will connect more with the book with characters similar to people they may know.

It may not be the best idea because it’s so overused and the character is over played. Do Not center a whole book about a man living alone in an apartment with an alcohol problem. It has been done before.

3. The Pity Situation

The Pity Situation is when you start a story off with a sob story to make your readers feel sorry for the character. It’s the type of story that has the main character with all the disadvantages that could be given to a person. Bad parents or no parents, no friends, poor, things that you can tell what is needed to change that character’s life around.

What happens next? The character’s parents change, they meet that one nice friend, come across money or take a life changing journey that makes them a completely different person when they come back.

Get your readers interested in your story by having an interesting story instead of having the reader feel sorry for your character and read just to see if the situation would change. Writing a story like this is not illegal but for me it’s a thumbs-down.

How To Avoid Using Clichés


1. Read what other authors are writing and pay attention.  Notice any patterns or themes that unnecessary repeat? Don’t continue it and come up with a different idea.

2. Be spontaneous. Go with your gut instinct and don’t worry if people will like it because it’s different. Be open to new ideas and try it.

3. If an idea or a saying that seems too perfect and comes too quickly, it most likely is a cliché’. Insert the phrase into Google to see if it comes up. If it does, the idea’s been used before.

Do you have any tips for avoiding clichés? Let me know what you think.

Thanks and keep writing




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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to! I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graudated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Creative Writing. I fell in love with writing at the age nine and love it till this day. :)