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Cut Out Those Clichés

Avoid using clichés in your writing. Avoid them "like the plague"! Seriously, the best writers try to weed out as many tired, overused phrases from their work as possible.

Here's an exercise for you: Try coming up with alternatives—fresh phrases—for the following clichés:

flat as a pancake -

flat as a board -

dumb as a stone -

crazy as a loon -

white as snow -

black as the ace of spades -

neat as a pin -

hard as a rock -

slow as molasses -

hot as fire -

fat as a pig -

big as a house -

smart as a whip -

skinny as a rail -

quick as a wink -

Brainstorm more clichés to add to this list, then come up with alternatives. When you revise your work, keep a keen eye out for these demons, which seem to slink into our writing when we're not paying attention.


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(45 mins. from Greenville, SC; 2 hrs. from Charlotte, NC; 3 hrs. from Atlanta)
Note: In this cyberculture we do, of course, work with writers across the country.