Too Much To Do…

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the story writing process. There is so much more to it than just writing the story. There’s plot structure, the story arch, characters, character development, sub plots, side stories, foreshadows, and so much more.

There’s plot structure, the story arch, characters, character development, sub plots, side stories, foreshadows, settings, story flow and so much more.

Then there is the editing and revision portion. This part seems to be ongoing for me. With this, there are options too. Self-editing, friends editing, professional editing and computer program assisted editing.

Following the editing, there is the ‘getting your book’ published phase. Once again there are options. First, is finding a literary agent by querying them with a query letter and synopsis. Second is vanity press/indie publishing and third is self-publishing.

It all seems rather daunting when summarized and that’s because it is. It is a big task and hard to do. Of course, there will be those that seem to ‘luck’ out and get published with minimal effort and those that struggle and give up after years of rejection.

When I look at this process I always have the grand scope of it in my mind, however, I only focus on the task or ‘stage’ at hand. Right now I’m re-writing and revising my book. It’s a big task but a necessary one. I know the next step will be putting it out there again to literary agents.

This will require me to rewrite my query and synopsis completely. A task I know is coming up and is in my mind but not my focus at the moment.

Once I have the rewrite done I will move on to the next phase and that’s using a computer program to assist with grammar and structure revision.

After that, I have plans to look into a professional editor to assist with the polishing of the book, the query, and synopsis. That’s not soon so I think about it but not too much. One thing at a time for me.

It can quickly become overwhelming if I think too far ahead to all that needs to be done. I get that ‘too much to do’ panic and it can bog me down or derail me fast. So I slow down, sit back and take stock of it all then get back to focusing on what needs to be done first.

My advice about thinking too much.
There is enough stress in life you don’t need to add the anxiety of over thinking the book writing/publishing process and adding to it. Be aware of it, and plan for it but put most of the focus on the task at hand.

-Sheryl

I couldn’t find a way to work Edible into this blog so I’ll link one that already had it… Redundantly Redundant Redundancies 

Related posts

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Glance back to look forward

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

Outside Forces

On my vacation journeys, I found ample time to people watch. I saw some pretty interesting action/reactions that I myself would not do or say. This is important as a writer to understand that other people are different in many ways.

I talk about behavior a lot because it’s important to any character and story to evolve characters and who they are. Or even make sure they don’t evolve, that they stay exactly who they started off as. Or make them de-evolve into the ‘bad guy’. Either way, as they bumble along, it’s important that they have reactions to situations.

Personality can be affected by outside forces. These extenuating circumstances can often cause a character to act… well out of character.

What outside forces am I talking about? The kind that can suddenly or even gradually force a person to act irrationally in one single moment or over a designated period of time.

Here are a few examples:

hunger/low blood sugar
Sun/Overheating
Sudden weather change

Thirst
Headache/Illness
Other people’s screaming children/loud noises
Bad Drivers

Greif*
Shock/fright
Injury/Pain
Exhaustion
Drugs
Alcohol

*While grief is an emotion, it is caused/forced by outside forces and is not(hopefully not) an everyday emotion.

It’s important to make sure that they still have some of their personality within the moment or shortly after. Also, note that it can be frustrating to have everyone that’s “Drunk” Behaves the same or have everyone “grieving” reacting exactly the same. If you’ve ever been to a funeral or watched a movie with one in it, you can see that individuals act individually. While variation doest mean I would have people acting in extremes (Unless necessary) I would have subtle differences or meaningful moments of uncharacteristic behavior that has a poignant place in the story or character development.

My advice about outside forces.
When used well they can add a dynamic and depth to any character. They can show perfect Pauline has a limit to her seemingly unending patience or that Fury driven Frank has a soft spot for kittens being abandoned in a garbage bag at the side of the road. 

-Sheryl

Other people posts

People Watching

Static Vs. Dynamic

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Bumble

Who Would Do What?

I recently spent a day at a theme park. It was hot, fun and full of a wide range of emotions. A fun little writing exercise I thought of while waiting in line for a ride has sparked today’s post.  My imagination run’s wild at times.

I like to think a lot about characters and how each behaves differently from the other. How would they react in certain situations?

More importantly, how would each character act if put in the same situation. It would be erroneous to believe they would act the same or all act the way I would have behaved.

I want to make sure I keep my characters individual as possible. That doesn’t mean that they can’t react the same, but that some would not. So how does that work? How can I keep enough variety?

I’ll start by setting up the scenario so you don’t have to read it over and over.

It’s a hot sunny day at a loud and overly busy theme park. The line up to get on to a popular ride is at least an hour-long. There is no shade and irritability is a common sound among parents hissing ‘stop’ at their children.

This particular ride is terrifyingly tall and raises the riders to the top to drop them quickly. Every time I looked up at it some would grit their teeth, some would pale while others would become excited and some nervous.  It has six sets of four seats in a row. Groups of people vary in size.  The excited and relieved people corralled in the staging gates are let into the area to find seating. A lone rider sits leaving a single seat open on a row of three unbeknownst to him. A family of four wants to ride together but there is only the single seat on one side and the three empty beside the single rider on the opposite side.

Example 1

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
“Oh, yeah sure. I didn’t realize there was an empty seat.” He said getting up to move.
“Thanks, man.” The father smiled. 
“No Problem.”

Example 2

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
The man threw his eyes up to the sky. “Fine. Even though I just freaking sat down and buckled in.” He said begrudgingly.
“I appreciate it man, thanks.”
“Sure whatever.” The man stalked off to the other side to sit.

Example 3

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
“I do.”
“It would be nice.” The father prompted. “We’d like to sit together.”
“Not my problem.” The man ignored the protests of the children for the separation.

Example 4

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
“Piss off.”
The tired family separated unhappily yet silently.

With each example, I had the single rider’s response increase in hostility. There are infinite ways this could go. The father could involve the ride attendants. The man could involve the ride attendants. They could get physical and evicted from the park. The ride attendant could get physical with the belligerent single rider.  The family could have been lying about the one empty seat and the single rider would have to wait another turn. Karma could get either and the ride breakdown.

How a person responds is as important as how a person initiates.

Example 5

“Seriously? Come on man there’s a single seat on the other side. We want to ride together.” The father said frustrated.
The man looked at the Father, seeing he was tired from the long day…

Again the single rider can respond in any way from polite to outright rage. This would depend on who that person is on a basic level. Unless there are extenuating circumstances well foreshadowed I wouldn’t have someone kind and calm, tell the man to Piss off.

Assessing the possibilities of alternate outcomes can also lead to possibly a more interesting angle, change the story or direction completely or cement the readers’ feelings toward a specific character, which is very important to do. If a reader doesn’t care one way or the other they might just stop reading or complain about wasting their time.

My advice about exploring the possibilities.
It’s honestly a lot of fun and if you take the time to try you might find a better angle or even another angle for another story altogether.

-Sheryl

Other reactive posts

What Do I Do About That?

What’s Your Story?

My Posts From The Start   

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Grit

Dashing Dashes

This will be the last re-post as my Vacation time winds down.  I picked this one at random, for no reason whatsoever.

Dashing Dashes

I recently mentioned the use of ellipses. Used in dialogue sometimes they are erroneously used in place of what should actually be a dash.

What’s the difference? Good question.

Ellipses… are three consecutive dots that generally indicate words, sentences or entire sections are being left out.

Dashes – indicate dialogue, speech or something is being interrupted or cut off. A dash is the punctuation. No periods, question marks or exclamation points are used.

Example time:

The tone is set by punctuation.

Dale crossed his arms and scowled. “I don’t think…”

“No, you don’t think Dale. That’s the entire problem.” Scott waved his hand dismissively at Dale. 

In that example, Dale comes across unsure or hesitant. That is not the tone I want to portray. Let me try again with a dash.

Dale crossed his arms and scowled. “I don’t think-”

“No, you don’t think Dale. That’s the entire problem.” Scott waved his hand dismissively at Dale. 

I wanted Scott to cut Dale off rudely. Scott is slipping and I want his rude factor to go up. With Ellipses, Scott was just mean-ish. With a dash, he was both rude and mean.

In some circumstances, I’ll make the cut off more obvious.

Amber handed Rachael the Envelope. “I need you to go down to-”
Rachael flicked her hand cutting Amber off. “I know where to take the Quill Company proofs.” She snatched the paper from Amber’s hand.

I just love making mean people mean. In Rachael’s case, she has just cause to dislike Amber and be short with her. Both Amber and Rachael’s lifestyles, attitudes and personalities conflict. Not all cut off’s are a personality flaw, in this moment Rachael is annoyed with Amber, she’s not usually rude in this manner.

Some programs such as *Word or *Microsoft Office don’t allow dashes in dialogue. When this happens I leave the punctuation out, cap it off with the quotation mark and manually go back to add the dash.

“I think we should-“  “ mark is curled the wrong way!  Ugh. Word automatically does this and it drives me bonkers. I go back and fix it manually.
“I think we should”   “I think we should-”

Maybe I’m missing a setting or something, maybe not. I’ll probably end up looking into it. While this manual fix is not efficient, it works for me. Like with all good things I would probably pick one character that might lean on this rude behavior as a quirk. A foreshadow of their true selves. Arguments are a good place to use them or for a character to make a point by cutting someone off.

My advice about Dashes.
They are an abrupt interruption, not a trailing off. Be careful who you have rudely interrupting conversation. Too much might make everyone come across as a jerk.

-Sheryl

Other  posts

The jerk-face warrior

Glance back to look forward

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Lifestyle

Quill

What Did You Mean? – Re-blog

Still in vacation mode and don’t want to be tethered to my computer. Therefore I’m sharing another blog that was posted a long time ago. Don’t worry my people watching opportunities have given me some ideas for new posts that I will write and post soon.

What Did You Mean?

I have read stories and books that miss one very important thing. Setting up an emotionally charged statement before it happens.  When I’m reading dialogue it can be frustrating to get to the end of a sentence only to discover my inner-voice was way off on the tone that the character was meant to be speaking in. I call this emotional tone delay. I read said dialogue, find out the tone I imagined was wrong then have to either read it or mentally replay it in the correct tone.  If it happens too often I like the book less and less and less.

How it sounds in my head as the writer isn’t necessarily the way it sounds in the readers. This is why it is so important to create a welcoming world for the reader to jump into. Show them tone and emotion instead of bludgeoning them with a tag.

“Really?” Amber said with excitement.

By putting the tag at the end, what ‘voice’ I read that in was voided. As a reader that can be annoying and then all voices sound out deadpan and the emotion is applied after the fact. It makes for some terrible visualization and fantasy.

Amber grinned and bounced on the balls of her feet. “Really?” 

Sarcasm is often lost in print if I want to convey a tone of voice shows the tone by posturing the character. My rule I’ve adopted from others: Don’t get lazy and tell the tone.

“Really?” Dale said sarcastically.  

Set it up properly so the reader knows it’s sarcasm or tags it with an appropriate action.

Dale inhaled slowly. “Really?” He rolled his eyes.

Creating the tone before the character speaks is important. This can be as long as a paragraph or as short as a few words. Setting the reader up for a smooth transition to the words lets them enjoy the story without having to “re-hear” it in their head before moving on.  So what happens if the set up is the wrong emotion conveying action?

Scott tilted his head to the side. “Really?” 

That could be humor, anger, annoyance, sarcasm or maybe tease. Normally in a story, there would be leading up to a statement like that. But I’ll pretend there isn’t and Scott’s statement is the start of the conversation or scenario. While tilting the head can convey emotion it is often a quirk or habit that without context could mean anything.

Scott crossed his arms, tilted his head to the side with his brow furrowed. “Really?”

Sure it get’s wordy, however, if I really want to show the reader how Scott feels then I will make it work. I might even take the head tilting out unless I have that as Scott’s quirk. I wouldn’t want everyone going around gesturing the same way.

Scott tilted his head to the side as a sly grin spread across his face. “Really?”

Scott’s head tilted to the side as he stifled a snicker. “Really?”

Scott’s fist slammed on the table then he tilted his head. “Really?”

If the tone isn’t foreshadowed by action before the statement, the reader will likely project their own emotion into it. That may or may not work out and may or may not put them off the story which in turn will mean devastation for the review and reader’s opinion of the story and author.  I can write words and have my own idea how they are supposed to sound, but if I don’t let the reader in on it, then I’ve let them down.

My advice about acting out emotion.
I do this to keep the reader engaged, I highly recommend it. Don’t let the reader decide what ‘vocal’ tone the characters are using, show them so the meaning behind the word isn’t lost. After all, you don’t want a character to move when you mean swoon. 

-Sheryl

A post or two from a while back.

Squirrelly concentration at best

Time to take out the trash

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Tether

Stuck On Repeat

I write because I love to. I write because I want people to read and love what I write. I want to draw them to my stories and characters like a magnet, not repel them. When I write a longer story with multiple chapters I often get stuck on repeat. Not in a major way, but in a way that might annoy the reader. It’s something I do, it’s awfully tempting to do and it happens easily. Repeating information.

Whether it’s right away or scattered throughout the story I often find myself repeating information. It may not be exactly as it was the first time, but it’s the same. Sigh.

It’s not always necessary to repeat information but it might feel that way.

There are numerous reasons that an author might repeat information.

Problem: Worry that the reader will forget.

Solution: I try to give the reader more credit. If you I repeat make it worth their while. A subtle reminder might do the trick better than tossing it in their face.

Problem: Worry that the detail will be lost.

Solution: I try to make the first presentation of the detail memorable. This can be done with humor, beautiful prose or have it stand out. 

Problem: The writer forgets how many times the subject came up.

Solution: Revise, revise, revise.  I’ll revise it myself and have someone else revise it too. (Make sure they are honest about revision)

Problem: The writer wants to be doubly sure the reader “gets it”.

Solution: Either they do or don’t the first time around. If they didn’t perhaps you need to revise the delivery of the point/description

Problem: Worry that the reader will forget.

Solution: I try to give the reader more credit. If you I repeat make it worth their while. A subtle reminder might do the trick better than tossing it in their face. 😉 

Basically, I try to find these repeated details whether they are as small as a physical description or something plot important. If I find too many I’ll go back to the first incident and do what I can to improve it so I don’t need to repeat.

Now sometimes information needs to be hashed out more than once, I get it, I have such tidbits in my own book, but I do try to at least make that repeat interesting for the reader by either mixing it with new information or delivering it in a more interesting and clever way.

My advice about being stuck on repeat.
Re-read this post and remember you won’t need to beat the reader over the head with important information if you deliver it well the first time. 

-Sheryl

Other posts

Awkwardly awkward

It’s a love hate sort of thing

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

 

Magnet

What’s in a question?

Who, what, where, when and why. These are the beginnings of interrogative sentences. They are a type of sentence that requires an answer and always ends with a question mark. They are best used in dialogue and often called questions.

Unless I’m writing in the first person I try to avoid interrogative sentences in the narrative. Mostly because I write the in the third person and narrative questions come off as rhetorical and out-of-place. In the first person, they fit better because a rhetorical question is easy to read as the characters’ thought.

There are four types of Interrogative sentences to be used.

The yes-no
The alternative
The Wh-
The Tags

The yes-no are questions that elicit a yes or no answer.

Dale popped his head around the desk divide. “Hey, Amber did you take your vitamin?” 
“Yes.” She scowled. “Do you have to nag?”
“Yes.” He smiled and kissed her forehead quickly. “Yes, I do.”

or

“Dale are you ready to go?” Amber tapped her foot on the tiled floor.
“Yes, I am.”

or

“Scott do you have that proof ready?”
He ran his hands through his hair. “No.”

The alternative – Are sentences that can result in two or more answers.

Dale smiled at Amber. “Do you want Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or all three?”
“All three… Ooh and butterscotch.”

or

“Should I finish this now or later?” Scott looked up at Valery.
“Hmm. Later.” She tapped her chin. “I need you to run the reports first.”

Wh-  they are sentences that have the Wh- words. Who, what, where, when and why. They force an open answer that is not a yes or no. 

“Ouch, he’s hot. Who was that?” Jeannie asked quietly as Detective Thorn passed their desk.
Amber rolled her eyes. “Ugh, the detective who’s looking for Sasha.”
“Why is he looking for her?”
Amber shrugged. “She’s MIA and in trouble or something.”
“What did she do?”
“Nothing, I think that crazy face slasher guy is after her.”
Jeannie frowned. “That’s scary.”
“Very. I’m not a fan of Sasha, but I hope she’s okay.”

Last but not least are Tag questions. A declarative sentence with a question tagged on at the end. It leads to a yes-no or sometimes a statement answer.

“You finished that proof, didn’t you?”
“Yes.”

or

“You finished that proof, didn’t you?”
“I ran out of time, but it will be done first thing in the morning.”

or

“It’s dark out already?”
“Yup.”

or

“It’s dark out already?”
“And has been for two hours.”

Questions or interrogative sentences keep things going, they get the readers’ wheels turning. In dialogue, they can be key to keeping things from becoming boring. It’s also natural.

In the narrative, it can become tricky.

Third person.

“I‘ll get it, Scott said as he jogged up the stairs. Why was he always the one to have to go? He scowled at the thought.

While this can feel natural when written because the words I write come from inside my head, it’s not the best way to express that.

“I’ll get it,” Scott said and scowled as he jogged up the stairs. He went because nobody else ever did. 

There better. Let me try another.

“Seriously Dale I need you to stop.” Amber swatted his hand away. Why was he always so annoying after work?

This comes across as the first person but the story is third. Let me try again.

“Seriously Dale I need you to stop.” Amber swatted his hand away. He was always more annoying after work. 

Now when in the first person to start with a narrative question might not be so bad.

I walked into the room and felt instantly at home. Why? I had no idea.

Still, I would probably change that too.

I walked into the room and instantly felt at home; I have no idea why.

or

I have no idea why I felt instantly at home when I walked into the room.

I can’t write dialogue without questions of one kind or another, it’s necessary because it’s realistic. My fault lies in the questions I dump into the narrative. I have to stop and ask myself, does it belong there? Is it actually ‘inner thought’ of the character or am I being rhetorical in my own mind’s voice? Chances are I need to rephrase that narrative.

My advice about interroragtive sentences in writing.
Advice is only that, advice. Should you keep interrogative sentences and questions in the narrative of a story? Only you can answer that, I don’t like to. Let me ask you. “Should it be in dialogue?” I’d answer, “Yes, yes it should.”

-Sheryl

Other grammar-ish posts

Hey! Its’ Interjection

Word swap

It’s not, not negative

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Wheel

233 Is A Lot

Someone asked me the other day why I’m back to working on a rewrite of my book. “I thought you said it was done. Why aren’t you published yet?”

It was and it wasn’t done, and traditional publishing takes time, commitment and a lot of work.

I’m not perfect and I’ll admit that openly. This whole journey has been a process of learning and discovery. A crazy wild ride of ups and downs and insanity in between. There have been times when I’m certain I’ve lost my marbles for doing this. Then I think, hey, marbles… how can I write them into my story.

I looked back at all my posts and I have at this point and there is 233 of them. 233 is a lot for someone that never thought she’d ever write a blog post. That means over 200 things I’ve learned, researched, discovered and reflected on. All about this journey to become published. That’s a lot.

My Posts From The Start   

When I started writing BiaAtlas I had no idea my life would take this path. I had no idea it would be a life-altering accomplishment. I had no idea it would spark a passion inside me to write and create stories that I never thought possible.

As far as publishing goes, I’m not there yet and I have a long way to go.  All I can do is keep moving forward and never stop trying.

Re-writing my book wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I realized it needed to be done. It was the first novel I wrote, it was bound to have problems and mistakes. After writing so many blogs and working on other exciting projects I was able to look at my first attempt and see what I could do to make it better.

I survived the onslaught of rejections and even the nay-sayers telling me to quit or if I’m rejected that much my work is crap. (Even if they’ve never read it they say it.) Why should I listen to that? The rejections were an indication something needed to be fixed. I’m betting on word count and the first three chapters. So that is what I fixed. Now I’m revising and finding a lot of slack that needs to be fixed.

I’m happy I’ve taken the time to write about my experiences and what I’ve learned. Partially for myself and for others that might be struggling with some of the same obstacles I myself faced and will face.

My advice about writing and creating.
There is more to it than just typing out words. And the more you put into it the more value it will have for yourself and for the world. Keep writing and creating and let no one bring you down.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Commit

The Unplanned Fork In The Road

Recently I started writing a new novel. The characters are solid, the story is deep and intriguing and the setting is fun and interesting.  I normally write with a general idea of where I want the story to go and let it take me there. This time I had a clear idea how I wanted to end it. So I set out to get to that ending.  I had a plan.

Each chapter is where and how I want it, the story and character are progressing perfectly then bam! It’s not. Suddenly where it’s going and where I want it to end up don’t line up anymore. I sat back and thought about it. Do I want the story to continue on the line it derailed along? Or do I want to backtrack or maneuver it back in line with the planned ending? I liked where the new angle was going but it couldn’t go where I originally wanted. if I went back and put it back on course then I couldn’t fit in the new angle I spontaneously created… Hmm.

I must have gone back and forth on this for days. It was weird, I could imagine both but neither at the same time. It wasn’t writers block, but a fork in the road of my novel.

As a result I set the story aside. I think about it and play it out in my head. I contemplated ideas, made notes and mulled and mulled until I could mull no more. Then it hit me.

Either I write two versions of the story or I forge a new fork in the road and take it a whole other direction. Whoa! What? Now I have three options. Great, just freaking great.

However the more I thought about a third open option the more excited I became. The what if’s started piling up and I realized something important.

I was limiting myself.

If I had veered off in the first place then the original plan might not be right anymore… It’s not wrong, it’s still good, but maybe it went stale with how I felt the story needed to go.

Now that I’ve decided to broaden my thoughts on the ending I’m not stuck staring at the only two options I limited myself to. Story writing for me is organic, it’s not set in stone before I begin. More often than not, I create as I go. I had an idea for this one that is exciting beyond belief to me, and I didn’t realize I’d painted myself into a corner by thinking the ending I wanted to get to was the only one.

My advice about unplanned forks in the road.
There is no right or wrong way to write a story, you can sit and let it happen as you type, you can plan rigorously each step of the way or you can work from a general outline. Whatever works for you is the way to approach. Don’t be afraid to try a different approach or go back to an old one. 

-Sheryl

Other posts

Desperately procrastinating

Phony-baloney disguised

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Create

Cliché Crash Course

As I sit here sick as a dog from allergies I started thinking about cliché phrases in writing. Clichés are phrases and words that have become so overused they are generally thought of as Cliché.  Everyone used them mindlessly because they are commonly heard and read everywhere. It is generally a good idea to avoid them like the plague in writing unless they are used purposefully or for effect. I know I use them but avoid them like the plague in the narrative, I will, however, put them into dialogue if it suits the character or situation perfectly.

They are easy as pie to use and I find them in my writing time and time again. Researching what the most common ones are is a wake-up call.  Sometimes a cliché feels tongue in cheek when it’s possibly the kiss of death for the sentence.

What it boils down to is you don’t want your readers to be bored to tears when they read. It goes without saying that a writer wants their writing to be leaps and bounds above the rest, which is easier said than done.

Sometimes when I research it’s all greek to me. You could say all the information out there is as clear as mud.  It takes effort and trial and error before I understand and get better at it.

I have read, heard and been told that cliché filled writing is lazy or poor in quality. Literary agents, editors, and publishers might even reject writing that is a broken record of overused phrases.

What to do about them?  Since most clichés are easy to spot if I take the time to learn the basic ones and try to catch them. Many clichés are listed on various sites and if I use the ‘search’ or ‘find’ feature or my word processor you can likely find many of them manually, by entering them in and searching them out. This can be time-consuming but worth the effort.  I can also have someone familiar with clichés look for them or hire an editor to help spot them.

Once I find them, I remove them and write something more original.

Here are some common cliché examples and what I might do to fix them.

Dale is a chip off the old block.
Dale’s father would be proud to know he raised his son to be just like him.

Mark is afraid of his own shadow.
Mark startled easily for no reason.

“My mom would say, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”
“My mom would be nagging about losing eyes right now.”

beggars can’t be choosers.
Desperation forced his choice.

The bigger they are the harder they fall.
Once his head gets too big for his body, it will hit the ground hard.

Burning the candle at both ends.
He has no time for rest or relaxation.

Fan the flames. (Add fuel to the fire)
“Yeah Dale, that won’t piss him off more at all.” Amber rolled her eyes.

“You’re as cute as a …“(Anything tiny, button, puppy etc.)
I would say to find a better way to describe someone or something. Don’t’ use this one.
“That dress on you reminds me of how sweet you were as a baby.”

Eat your heart out.
“This is something you’ve always wanted and now it’s mine.”

“Duce I call a spade a spade.”
“Dude, if you lie, then you’re a liar.”

“It’s the calm before the storm.”
She glanced at the door, her peace shattered by the harsh knock of the first guest.

“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”
“Since when do you have nothing to say?”

Fair weather friend
She only comes around when its convenient for her.

The wine stain on her shoe was the Icing on the cake.
Not only did she spill the wine, it fell on her brand new white suede shoe.

The apple jogged my memory.
“The apple! I remember now.”

“He really gets my goat.”
“I want to punch his face every time I see it.”

“She’s knocked up. I heard it through the grapevine.
“Everyone think’s Ambers knocked up.”

“Dude it’s sink or swim.
“Dude stop standing there like a creep and go ask her out.”

“Try to think outside of the box Amber.”
“Sometimes it’s better to try something you would not normally think of Amber.”

“That was a wake-up call.”
The small puncture on her thumb filled with blood. “Dammit! I need to pay attention.” She set the sharp knife down.

“She let the cat out of the bag.”
“She found out about the baby and now everyone knows.”

“Well, Dale I guess I should make the best of a bad situation.”
“Ugh, Dale it’s raining again. Let’s go splash in puddles.”

No pain, no gain.”
“Man my legs hurt, but those squats will make my ass look great.”

“It’s on the tip of my tongue.”
“I know what I want to say, I just can’t…”

“There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
“I bet if we went to the bar that at least one of the many guys there would hit on you.”

Quick as a… (Anything fast like a bunny, wink or lightning.)
Like ‘cute as a..’  this one is bet avoided.
The slap was too fast to see.  OR  The blur of her hand barely registered before I felt the pain.

Keep his eye on the prize
He would do anything to get that promotion and nothing will distract him.

“Something she said rings a bell.”
“Something about what she said made me think.

“I was scared to death.”
“I shook so hard as I hid from him that my body hurt from the tremors.”

“All day I work like a dog for nothing.”
“By the end of the day, I’m exhausted and for nothing.”

Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
“I wouldn’t recommend spending the bonus until you have it.”

There are a lot more out there. They can be found listed pretty much anywhere if you search for them.  I know I have plenty hidden in my work, some I put there on purpose, but only in dialogue. I think I may be revisiting my book with the ‘find’ feature and see if I have any of them hiding in there. I don’t personally think that all clichés are bad or shouldn’t be used, but I think it’s important to assess the value of the ones I’m using.

My advice about Cliché phrases.
Let’s cut to the chase, they’re bound to happen. It’s not the end of the world if you use them. Don’t flip your lid because finding them can be a blessing in disguise as they give you a chance to go the extra mile to fix them and improve your writing and make it good as gold

-Sheryl

Other posts

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

TMI dude!

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