Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clichés that make me groan

Why is it that in every movie when the hero or heroine goes shopping they come back with either a breadstick or celery or both, sticking out of their shopping bag? Are movie goers so stupid they don’t recognize a brown paper bag full of food without the breadstick and/or celery?
There are clichés just like this in books too.
The heroine who has red hair and green eyes and a temper to match her hair color. Note to authors: More than 70% of people have brown eyes. Blue eyes are 2% of the population and green is said to be more rare than blue.
The kitchen, which always has granite counter tops. Actually, most kitchens don’t have granite counter tops.
The epilogue where the hero and heroine, with their son aged three and daughter aged two, are playing with the dog on the lawn of their house. The average age difference between siblings in the US is 2.5 years. The children could be boy, boy; girl, girl; girl, boy; or boy, girl. So only one time in four will it be that way.
Then there are the clichéd phrases guaranteed to make the reader grind her teeth.
According to a survey, the most annoying phrases uttered in Australia include “at the end of the day”, “let’s do lunch”, “it’s not rocket science” and “24/7”. At work, “push the envelope”, “110 per cent” and “think outside the square” put us “on the same page”.
For a list of clichés to “avoid like the plague” see: http://clichesite.com/alpha_list.asp?which=lett+1
Helen Woodall
Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


Amber Skyze said...

I seen these stats a year or so ago, but I was amazed when I heard how rare green eyes are and that only 2% have blue eyes. I actually think about it every time I write an eye color now.
Thanks for sharing. :)

anny cook said...

Awwwww. Let's do dinner! We'll make it bread and celery!

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Hi Amber. Apparently violet eyes are so rare it's well below 1% of people, yet authors keep writing them as well. Must be a tribute to actress Elizabeth Taylor I guess.
Nice one Anny!

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't think about green or blue eyes as being rare because, of the seven people in my family, four of us are blue-eyed and three of us are green. I don't think I've _ever_ seen violet eyes though, except on Disney's Sleeping Beauty (and she's cartoon!)


Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Hi Deborah.
Blue eyes are recessive so mostly two blue eyed parents will have blue eyed kids which probably explains your family.
Maybe lots of the 70% with brown eyes are wearing blue contact lenses these days. That would explain why authors keep writing them.