Avoid Cliches by Letting Kids Do the Writing

by Lorna's Voice

So many fine pieces of literature, so little time to skim through them while waiting for a new episode of Breaking Bad. That show rocks!

Legends Undying is a blog for writers and readers. As such, it behooves me to post something a writer might like to read. Heck, it behooves me to post something anyone might like to read, but I’m trying to fit in here, so let’s pretend I’m part of the literary intelligentsia for just a little while. Being able to spell  intelligentsia should help convince you that I can pretend to be like one of you serious writer-types.

When push comes to shove, clichés can deep-six your writing. Clichés are clever phrases that are so clever that they get over-used, rendering them not-so-clever. I over-used the word clever in that last sentence and you probably wanted to scream, “She’s not being very clever!” Well, I was just making a point about how over-using anything can be really annoying. Like this commercial.


Okay. I’ll stop now.


One way I’ve found to include clichés in my writing and have them work for me is to steal from innocent children. This may sound harsh, or even illegal, but it’s a tough world out there. If little kids aren’t savvy enough to copyright their funny stuff, well, too bad. They’ll learn eventually.

Golly, that was my idea. I think I’m gonna get me a proper education and become a lawyer man so nobody can steal nothin’ from me again. I know Pa wants me ta help him with the store, but gee, somebody’s gotta fight for the right ta own your own mistakes.

A Virginia teacher (I don’t know which grade) presented each child in her class with the first half of a well-known proverb or adage, which, if completed properly would be a total cliché. Each child was given a different proverb and told to complete the adage at home (I switched up words so you wouldn’t get mad at me for being redundant). The following were among the replies she received that she submitted on the internet as examples of funny things kids say. I didn’t make them up, but maybe some of their parents helped. Either way, you can’t consider any of these clichés, unless, of course, they catch on and get…you’ve got it…over-used.

  1. Don’t change horses . . . until they stop running.
  2. Strike while the . . . bug is close.
  3. It’s always darkest before . . . Daylight Saving Time.
  4. You can lead a horse to water but . . . How?
  5. Don’t bite the hand that . . . looks dirty.
  6. No news is . . . impossible
  7. You can’t teach an old dog new . . . math.
  8. If you lie down with dogs . . . you’ll stink in the morning.
  9. The pen is mightier than the . . . pigs.
  10. Where there’s smoke there’s . . . pollution.
  11. A penny saved is . . . not much.
  12. Don’t put off till tomorrow what . . . you put on to go to bed.
  13. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and . . . you have to blow your nose.
  14. There are none so blind as . . . Stevie Wonder.
  15. Children should be seen and not . . . spanked or grounded.
  16. If at first you don’t succeed . . . get new batteries.
  17. You get out of something only what you . . . see in the picture on the box
  18. When the blind lead the blind . . . get out of the way.
  19. A bird in the hand . . . is going to poop on you.
  20. Better late than . . . Pregnant

The lesson, People: If you get writer’s block, give your idea to the nearest kid. She or he may have a great idea…or at least one that you wouldn’t have thought of because, let’s face it, that kind of creativity was probably educated out of you so that you could be a “proper” grown-up.

Okay. Whatcha need? But ya know, it’s gonna cost ya five bucks…each…for our best work. And we don’t like no pressure.

Happy writing and remember: avoid clichés like the plague!

Okay. Okay. Enough already. I got it.

P.S. I’ll be taking next Sunday off. So see you in two weeks.


2 Comments to “Avoid Cliches by Letting Kids Do the Writing”

  1. Out of the mouths of babes…
    How wonderfully perfect. they are so literal. and so truthful.

    Sweet post~

  2. Love your style Lorna, and my fav is the Better late than pregnant..;)

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