I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Well worn words and phrases

There are so many well-worn writing cliché’s, that by simply using them, the writer’s use becomes a cliché. Here’s a few thoughts on that which we lean when searching for better become too much of a chore.


Our baby

We should, as word purveyors, be able to come up with a comparison of the writing process beyond that of being gestationally connected. Because the result of our efforts comes from within, it is only natural to use birth as an analogy. To call your novel your child is, in some instances, apt I think, but what kind of child is it? A brat, a devil, a whore.  Which is it and is the birthing and child analogy appropriate?


Calling an agent a gatekeeper is like calling St. Peter God’s handy man. St. Peter has his own job and a pretty important one at that.

As a retail manager a few years back it was my job to pre-interview store management applicants for the regional higher-ups. I was their gatekeeper alerting cooperate to candidates which best fit the profile of the company. I wasn’t powerful, I just culled through the crap to find the cream. That’s what agents do. And then they drive around town delivering the bottles and hoping they’re not sour.

The call

As I see it there are two kinds of “the call”. The one from the agent and the one from the publisher. I’ve had neither. I have an editor and we email each other all the time but regarding "the call", all I can say is that I have a land line and my cell is always charged.

The dream

This is the term which best describes the conundrum I feel for writing cliché’s.

For many, writing is the task, being published in “the dream”.  Yes, it is a kick to see your name in print on something other than an obituary, but once you figure out what it is they want, you realize that getting there was easy, staying there is hard.

For me, maintaining and upping the ante is self-expected.  Rejection of new work after being published is hard. The tears I shed now are dry and filled with cynicism.  

So there you have it, a few thoughts on cliché’s, so called, and I’d add more but it’s snowing again and I have to go to work.

The nine to five

That “have-to” which pays the bills when here is where I want to be, making word babies, to send to the gatekeeper, which results in the call, as a culmination of the dream.


What’s your favorite writing cliché?


  1. The "dream agent" we were talking about at Janet's blog leaps to mind, though that may be less a cliche' than simple bad expectations!

    1. I'm suspect of "dream" anything.
      After all this clamoring to get an agent I think I'll do what I did when I had just turned thirty, was living alone and wondering why my bed slept only one. Considering the want and need, if not for a partner, than at least a Saturday night date...I stopped looking. And within minutes, and I mean, within minutes of taking on the belief that I was destined to live my life alone, I met my future husband.
      Lets see what happens this weekend. I not seeking, I'm not looking...I'll get back to you on Monday.

  2. The main problem I see with the idea of the agent as a "gatekeeper" is it makes it sound as if the agent works for the publishers. An agent is an author advocate, not the guard at the gate of the Big Six (Five, Four--however many are left) deciding who can enter and who can't. Sure, the publishers are glad for agents to do the work of finding hot new talent, but if there are barriers they are at the doors of publishing. An agent helps writers cross those barriers; they are not barriers in themselves.

    I know you know all this, 2Ns, but seeing the word "Gatekeeper" drove me to my soapbox. :D

    1. Colin I HATE the word gatekeeper but it is used so often I had to include it. Though an agent is an author rep they are also representatives of themselves. Their self-interest, (it is a business after all), teeters somewhere in-between the publisher and the writer. It is a balancing act for sure. No wonder they have to LOVE what we write. Why else would they do what they do. Us writers, we are an odd lot you know. All except me of coarse, and you and Donna and well, a few others...maybe.