The Writer’s Nemesis – Clichés

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

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Every writer craves accolades from her readers and the industry. She wants exemplary recognition about her plot, voice, genre, setting, dialogue, narrative, and characters. She treasures 5-star reviews and eager readers who can’t wait for her next book.

Unfortunately when a writer dips into tired clichés, credibility lands with a dull thud. The story lacks:

Phrases clothed in character.

A cliché is a writer’s nemesis. Writers, it’s time to become soldiers. Let’s shine our boots and clean our weapons. We must fight the urge o use familiar wording. Carry the banner of creating something fresh and alive.Are you ready to wield the sword and destroy your nemesis? Here are five ways to ensure you’re the victor.

  1. Conduct a line-by-line edit. If a cliché threatens your position as a bestselling writer, delete it!
  2. Explore the scene in which the cliché appeared. Is it necessary? If so, how might your character form a phrase that accomplishes the same purpose? Every detail of characterization plays into a strategic plan to offer a unique way of saying something.
  3. Design three phrases of your own to replace every cliché.
  4. List your original clichés in a file. These can only be used by your character. Ever. An award-winning writer is proud to eliminate all traces of a previous character in a new book.
  5. Re-read your story again and admire your willingness to fight for your own literary voice.

Writers use words as their defense line, a means of reaching the goal of increased leadership.

Have you spent time creating your character clichés? 

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 DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at