NFL Cliches – 5 Tips Writers Can Learn From Football Lingo On Identifying Cliches

First of all let me say, that I am a Viking fan through and through. I bleed purple from September through February and cheer for anyone who plays the Green Bay Packers!

But have you ever heard football interviews with coaches and players, or better yet the commentators? Take a peak at this clip:

Writers can learn something from NFL Football Lingo! NEVER USE CLICHES!

How do you know that you are using a cliche?

Five Tips Writers Can Learn From NFL Lingo On Identifying Cliches:

1. Cliches are often used to tell not show the story.

Example: She was down on her luck.

If you already showed us in the story that she is out of food and got laid off from her job, we already know this. If you are using this cliche to avoid showing us as your character stares into an empty fridge, then flopping down in a kitchen chair staring at a pink slip, you miss an opportunity to make the story come alive.

2. Cliches often state the obvious.

For example: It wasn’t as if tomorrow could come any sooner.

Really? I never knew that before.

3. Cliches are used to ramp up tension instead of originality.

For Example: Time was running out.

If I was paid a dollar for every time I’ve read this line, I’d be rich! Be more original to build the time element in your story.

For example: If she didn’t make it to the bank by five o’clock, the bomb would go off. Then nothing could piece her future back together.

4. Cliches build confusing visual imagery.

For Example: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

HUH? We no longer throw out bathwater. And why would you throw out a baby? I know this is an idiom, but we often use these nonsensical ones that don’t make all that much sense. I don’t want my readers to visualize that while they are in the middle of my story.

What are some of the craziest cliches you’ve heard?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

3 thoughts on “NFL Cliches – 5 Tips Writers Can Learn From Football Lingo On Identifying Cliches

  1. Funny, Michelle. You are so right about cliches. We all love them and they’re fine for the first draft because they exactly what we’re trying to convey. I was going to end thiswith a cliche, but my mind hasn’t left Dallas yet. It took me 4 times to type this. lol

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    I just noticed that I am so with it that I only posted four points. LOL! Writers Conference daze.

  3. Alena Tauriainen says:

    Lol…I totally understand. I had such good intentions but by the time I got home (around 9) I crashed! Resuming my to do list today though!

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