Calm down..clichés can’t kill you. If they could, then everyone down here in the Deep South would be six feet under. But, evidently, clichés are frowned upon in the publishing establishment. At least that is what my some of the critiques have told me. So, what’s this southerner to do?
My novel takes place in the here and now, in the south, and my characters use clichés. Why? Because that’s how we talk down here…at least the people I’ve encountered. Since my main character is using my voice (or I’m using hers…I can never get that straight) I naturally write dialogue with the dialect and clichés we use here.
So, I’m stuck…I can’t move forward and I can’t go back until I resolve this dilemma. What to do…what to do!
Do I change the setting of my novel to a place where clichés never pass anyone’s lips? Do I give up my attempts to be natural and honest in my dialogue? Or, do I knuckle under and try to find another way to portray my characters? Shoot, I feel like I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t.
Now, not all the characters are southerners and they won’t be using phrases such as “stick it where the sun don’t shine.” Future chapters will bring us characters from New Orleans, New York and as yet unknown locations (although I ‘ve heard rumors that some bloke from Australia might join the group..but he comes with his own set of clichés.)
But, my main character loves down south cliches…it’s her heritage, it’s her voice. It’s who she is. It’s me.
So, come on everyone, help a writer out. I feel like I’m running through hell in a pair of gasoline shorts. Give me your experience and your advice.
If you are one of the people who critiqued my first chapters and noted the use of clichés…know that I heard you and I love you for being honest. If clichés are a stumbling block in the path of this novel, I needed to know. I just need a little help in deciding if I go whole hog and keep my cliches or run for the hills and find another voice.
Help an old lady out..will ya?
Author’s note: If it helps anyone to know this, the novel I’m writing is supposed to be funny! I don’t know if that makes a difference or not!