Today I thought it imperative that we take a look at clichés, and folk sayings.
What are clichés and folk sayings?
Cliché -- an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect. At some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. Many cliché started off as a folk saying in some part or other of a country. They are used for comic relief.
Clichés are things a writer shouldn't over use when writing their books. Let me stress Over Use… because some would have writers believe that you shouldn't use them at all.
Which would kill one of my stories since the heroine finds them fascinating and loves to use them constantly when she talks.
In honesty, a lot of writers and people in general use them more often than they like to think. They're catchy phrases that stick with you. They are the commercials, and ads you hear a gazillion times a day. The little adages that stick in your head and won't get out no matter how hard to you shake your skull.
Why? Well, clichés and folksy verbiage tend to date a book. They tend to throw people out of the storyline for a moment as they try to understand the meaning. You don't want people just remembering a saying from your book. (unless they mention that it came from your book... hmm)
The biggest reason would be clichés tend to get overused. A good writer should write with the intent that their writing will catch a reader's imagination so fully that one of their lines or more become cliché in status.
Can you think of a writer who's words have done that?
I thought we should take a look at clichés and folksy language and perhaps give you some ideas for your next story… No. No. Do not use these. They are mine. LOL
I'll write them and for fun let's see if what explanation you can give for their meaning.
If a bullfrog had wings it wouldn't bump its butt on the ground.
(I'd never heard this particular saying until I started dating my husband, who is from the south, Georgia to be exact.)
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.
First thought that comes to my mind is... that would be like sticking a hot needle in my eye. Ouch)
The phrase can be found in the lyrics of a Little Jimmy Dickens song. But what does it mean? What is a Bird of Paradise? And why exactly do you want it to fly up my nose?
Not Playing with a Full Deck.
Doesn't have both oars in the water.
Going to talk to a man about a dog. (Yet another saying I didn't hear till I met my husband.)
Make like a tree and leave.
Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll be among the stars.
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way you are a mile away and you have their shoes.
If you think talk is cheap, try hiring a lawyer.
Pro is to con as progress is to Congress.
I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
A watched pot never boils.
Back handed compliment.
Scrape the bottom of the barrel.
Hit the nail on the head.
Hurts like the Dickens.
Keep your pants on.
Tied to her apron strings.
Let the cat out of the bag.
Well… how many did get?
Your assignment if you choose to take it… see how many you clichés or folk sayings you can find or hear through out the day.
*** Handy tip -- There are so many more. If you need some for your stories all you have to do is type cliché into the search line.
Wait… scratch that… you do not want to use clichés. If you must, use them sparingly.
Do not sprinkle them willy nilly like throughout your story, or the Bird of Paradise just might fly up your nose.