Sunday, March 11, 2012

Revisions: Clichés and Typos

Yep, I'm still revising and editing this week.

My favorite typo so far: "before it spread like wildlife through her body." 

Haha!  I laughed and laughed over this.  I don't know if everyone will find it as funny as I did, but this mistake had me imagining small herds of minature plastic animals stampeding over her body. (But maybe that is just me.

Imagine small herds of plastic toys stampeding over her.
(Image: © Sailorman | Dreamstime.com)
However, I can't just change the word from wildlife to wildfire and call that sentence fixed.  Nope.  That isn't going to work.  "Spread like wildfire" (unlike spread like wildlife) is one of those pesky clichés writers try to avoid. 

Finding clichés in my writing: One way I identify clichés in my writing is to read a passage aloud.  If the words roll off my tongue - do you see what I did there? - before I actually finish reading the text then I know I'm dealing with a cliché.

Identifying Clichés:

If you want to learn about clichés, check out these websites:
  • ClicheSite.com has a HUGE list of clichés.
  • Cliche Finder is a search engine, where you can type in words or phrases and find a cliché.
  • Cliches: Avoid Them Like the Plague is another alphabetized list of clichés. 
  • How to Avoid Cliches is a great post from Grammar Girl on how to deal with clichés. 
  • Cliche Finder has the same name as another site, but this one allows you to copy and paste your text into the site and it is supposed to highlight the clichés.  I tried this with a few clichés and it didn't work, but I might try it again with a different passage.
  • The Phrase Finder is a helpful site that also lets you know the history and meaning of "sayings, phrases, idioms and expressions." 

And so my editing continues. 

Thankfully, Christina Dodds shared some of her funny mistakes recently, so now I know even bestselling authors find awkward phrases and typos when they edit. ;)

Have you found any funny typos in your own writing?  Do you have a favorite cliché?

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