seedy-street asks: Hi! I’ve always seen people say not to use clichés in your writing, but I’m not really really sure sometimes what qualifies as cliché. Do you know, or could provide a link, for a list of clichés that should be avoided? Please & Thank you :)

Alright, here we go:

cliché also cliche (n):

1. A trite or overused expression or idea; often a vivid depiction of an abstraction that relies upon analogy or exaggeration for effect, often drawn from everyday experience.
2. A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial.

For general lists of clichés:

Here are some articles you may find useful on clichés:

There is also the idea of writing clichés, which we will now define:

writing cliché or writing cliche (n): a piece of advice about writing that has become so overused as to be boring, silly, or otherwise undesirable.

Awesome articles on writing clichés can be found here:

Clichés should not be confused with tropes. Where tropes are highly useful dynamic conventions in creative works, clichés are dull and boring. The two are polar opposites.

trope (n): a device and/or convention that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations.

A list of tropes can be found here:

Don’t let the website name fool you. Tvtropes.org deals with tropes from all over the creative world, from movies to literature to video games.

In summation, clichés are clichés because they are overused. Whether it is a clichéd phrase or a writing cliché, they are a sign of thoughtless or novice storytelling and are to be avoided if possible.


  1. jseadesauthor reblogged this from writeworld and added:
    Here’s a good write-up (including some very useful links) on the overuse of cliches in writing, and how to avoid them....
  2. nypd42344 reblogged this from writeworld
  3. lightning reblogged this from writeworld and added:
    I also found Avoiding clichés to be helpful.
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  8. jillswriting reblogged this from writeworld and added:
    This is good.
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