Or, Why I Love a Good Cliché Now and Then.
As a general rule, clichés are taboo in novel writing. I don't have any experience in grant writing, but I suspect they are highly discouraged in that field as well. The reason behind not using clichés in novels is that a writer could get the reputation of lacking originality. The only reason I could imagine for not using them in grant proposals is that the writer would become an instant pariah in that field.
Overly using clichés may be a problem, but occasionally they can come in handy. You see, a cliché is simply an over-used metaphor. Whoever first said, “Avoid (fill in the blank) like the plague,” was a visionary. There was no ambiguity in that reference. No one ever wondered if the writer had a hidden meaning. It was pure genius. Now it's been repeated so much, if you were to write it into a book, every single reader would mentally shish-kabob you. And everyone knows, that's not nice.
When is a cliché a good thing? It may not actually be good, but it can sure be handy. Sometimes you just need an instant shortcut into the corporate understanding of all your readers. A cliché can fulfill that task. With the application of one conveniently placed cliché, a point can be made. Clarity is gained in the familiar.
So, you may be wondering why I don't use clichés in my books. I would tell you, but then I would have to …
And everyone followed that to its corny conclusion. It's amusing because we all see it coming. It's like the Keystone Cops. The humor is in their predictability.
I like humor. I like predictability sometimes. But I really, really like a twist. I like a twist that's so well made, it makes my brain do a four-wheel drift around a plot turn. (That's a racing metaphor, not a cliché yet.) And I don't care who you are, you can't write plot twists in comfortable clichés.
By now you are wondering what my main point is. I was actually just in a mood for clichés … and puns. Puns are the hillbilly cousin of clichés. I also slipped a little plot twist in there, which amused the daylights out of me. I hope it was entertaining for you as well.
In other news, I should have a copy of Boathouse Mouse: A New Adventure, A New Name very soon!
Please stay tuned.