Tag Archives: creative writing

4 Story Clichés to Avoid At All Costs

Hey Writer Bees!

Hope life is treating you better than usual.

Today, we are talking about clichés. Those overused and utterly boring plot devices that drag a story down into the abyss of unoriginality. Here are four clichés to avoid so your story can shine in all it’s original and spectacular glory.

Describing Self in Mirror

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I confess, I’m guilty of this one. It’s tricky to describe what a first person narrator looks like. But it is unrealistic. How many times have you looked at your reflection and described yourself to yourself? Unless your narrator is incredibly self indulgent and narcissistic, talking about one’s reflection is a cheap trick. And some find it a bit lazy.

Instead, leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Let them create an image of the character themselves. Or, have another character make a comment about one’s appearance. This will throw subtle hints to the reader about what the narrator looks like. Maybe something like, “Wow, your hair has grown so long!” or “You look just like your father.”

You know what I mean? You know what I mean.

All Hail, The Chosen One

Image result for chosen one character

Yeah, that’s right, I’m calling out characters like Harry Potter and Frodo and (I’m so sorry) King Arthur. Fight me. Many fantasy stories have this idea of the Chosen One, the guy who is destined to save the world, defeat the big baddie, find or destroy the magical item. The fates have decided that this is THE guy to do all that. And he happens to still be in high school or college.

Truthfully? No divine intervention required. Your hero does not need to be chosen by destiny to be special. Heroes aren’t born, they’re created. Just because they were “chosen”, does not make them heroic in nature. It just forces a character into a role. Make your character a hero worth rooting for. Give them the motivation behind their good deeds and give their true purpose to defeat evil wherever it lurks.

What a Knockout

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Did a character suddenly fall unconscious? And they wake up in another location? That’s a weak transition. And if that were to happen in real life, you’d need to rush to the hospital, not the next scene. Having a character faint just to move to another location quickly is overly dramatic and far too convenient. There are ways to ease into a new setting and make for a more graceful transition. Try and figure out how to move the plot along some other way.

Bad Parents Make Bad People

Big cliché alert. Antagonist who are products of horrible childhoods. It’s touch to justify a jerk of a character and his or hers bad behavior. And things like abuse or cruel parents make the evil character easy to forgive. No, I’m not trying to belittle someone’s tragic backstory. And yes, these things do happen in real life. However, I’m just saying , It can’t be that simple to explain away their flaws and their poor choice.

The only way to combat this tired cliché is to really focus on characterization. Give him or her a better reason to be a jerk than their bad parents. And keep in mind, not every antagonist comes from a broken home. Think about the jerks that come from perfectly lovely families. Now that’s scary.

Only You Can Tell Your Story

While some clichés are tough to avoid, let your story speak for itself. Don’t copy parts from other books or movies. Pick those boring clichés out with a tweezer and let your originality stand on it’s own. Turn stereotypes on it’s head and leave dull plot lines in the dust.

What’s one cliché in writing you can’t stand? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the tip jar.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Words for Writers Wednesday: When Passion Pays the Bills

Don’t fret over rejection and bad news.

Because soon, very soon,

Passion will be paying the bills.


Recently, I got two three rejections letters for jobs I’ve applied for. As disappointing as that is, I have to have faith that my passion for writing will keep me afloat someday.

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Prompt of the Week: Genre Swap!

Genre Swap! Whatever your WIP story is right now, change it to a completely different genre.


Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Shout out to Plant Electrician who had a hilarious entry for last week’s writing prompt.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Want to see Lady Jabberwocky’s response to this prompt? Go support the Patreon!

To the Teacher Who Changed My Life

In the spirit of International Women’s day, I’ve decided to take a sentimental stroll down memory lane today. Let me tell you the story of the teacher who made me a writer and changed my life.

First off, I must shamelessly promote the tip jar. Check it out, just added a new reward tier on Patreon.

So Back in High School….

Let me give you an mental image of the kind of kid I was in school. An average B+ student. Definitely not one of the cool girls in school. I was shy and awkward and self conscious and a total mess. Seriously, I was. In Freshman year, I wrote my first fictional story and discovered I actually liked writing. English was my favorite subject. Here was the problem. In my personal life, there was no one to encourage me to pursue my talent, nor acknowledgement that I even had a talent. Being a teenager was hard enough, huh?

Until I Met this Teacher

For now, let’s call her Miss Judge. She was my English teacher in both my Freshman year and my Senior year. So she really saw my growth as a writer. And she saw the potential in me that I didn’t even know existed.

Miss Judge was a kind and lovely person. She introduced me to literature that initially inspired me to write. The first story I ever wrote was probably in her class. Works like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ And Greek Mythology. Speaking of Mythology, towards the end of Freshman year, my high school wanted to remove Greek Mythology from the curriculum and planned on throw away a bunch of books away. The horror. That book sparked my love of fantasy and magic and everything supernatural. Before they were tossed in the garbage, she gave me one of those books. Torn and tattered, it will always remain on my bookshelf.

Struggles with Self Esteem

This one time, in class, we were assigned to write a scene inspired by Hamlet, the play we were reading at the time. I was so excited that I worked extra hard on this two page script. I even researched authentic Shakespearean language. After I handed it in, my teacher was genuinely impressed and asked if she could read it to the whole class. I told her ‘no’. And even today, I still regret that decision. See, my confidence was under the floorboards at the time. I was incredibly self conscious, and felt like I was rubbing my great story in everyone’s face, and then everyone would hate me. “No, no, it isn’t that great. Surely, my work isn’t the best in the class.” Man, some days, I wish I had a time machine and could tell my younger self to not be afraid of showing my talent. That being awesome at something won’t belittle others. And honestly, I still struggle a little with that low self esteem logic today.

One of her many sweet notes.

Words of Encouragement

I kept in touch with her through my school years. In my Senior year, Miss Judge asked us to write journal entries, which she would read. I was still nervous about others reading my writing. I mean, there’s nothing that interesting about me, right? To break from that fear, I decided to just be funny. My journal was filled with my (embarrassing) humorous observations, kind of like what you see on the blog today. And she loved them. So, I kept writing. She said I had a natural talent as a writer and that I had a quirky voice. Thank goodness for that quirkiness. I was amazed and humbled and happy. My silly scribbles made someone laugh. Nothing was more fulfilling. Miss Judge wrote me these encouraging notes, pushing me to pursue a career as a writer. I still have those notes. The most touching note from her is scrawled in my yearbook, hoping that the next time she hears my name, it’s because I’d have won the Pulitzer prize.

Her note in my yearbook, from 2011.

To a wonderful teacher, I’d like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know where I’d be right now if it wasn’t for your encouragement. You inspired me to pursue creative writing and made me the writer I am today. And you also inspired me to start this blog, where my quirkiness has room to play and where I can encourage other writers to write their story.

In honor of International Women’s day, who’s a lady in your life that has made a big impact in some way? Has any teacher inspired you to pursue something? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you guys. I gotta go, I’m drowning in tears over here.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Words for Writers Wednesday: Save Writer’s Block Sufferers Today

When you see someone falling into the quick sand

That is writer’s block,

Be the one who helps them out.

Be the wall to bounce ideas off of.

Because one day,

When you are stuck in the trenches,

You may need backup too.


Writers should support other writers. Period.

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How to Build Up Suspense In Any Genre

Whether you are writing a mystery or a horror, or even a romance, suspense can be a total game changer in any kind of story. Here are some tips that will have your readers hanging on the edge of their seats in anticipation.

What is Suspense?

Dictionary definition:
A state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. A quality in a work of fiction that arouses excited expectation or uncertainty about what may happen.

Simply Put: The fear of the unknown. Keeping the reader guessing. Who is the true murderer? What’s in the haunted mansion down the lane? Building suspense means offering the reader a question that they feel they must learn the answer to. The trick is to prolong giving them that answer while maintaining their interest.

Now, let’s talk about techniques you can use to help build up suspense in your story.

Solid Villains and High Stakes

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A stirring tension and conflict can be crucial in any genre. Great antagonists who challenge the protagonist create that exciting conflict. Explore the villains motivations. Why has he set this evil plan in motion? What is his connection to the hero? Throw away the idea of a villain who only wants to rain on a parade for no good reason. Really flesh out the character and make them a worth opponent for the hero.

The stakes must be high. Whatever is at risk, whether it’s a loved one’s life or the world’s safety, needs to be important to the protagonist. So important that they will jump through any hoop the antagonist throws at them. And if they fail, they would be devastated.

Point of View

Focus on the character’s perspective. See the world through their eyes. Let the reader learn information as the character does. Narrowing the point of view is an excellent way to build tension. Unlike an all knowing, omniscient narrator, the character won’t know what’s around the corner and what will happen next. Consider who tells the story, and how the story gets told.

Think about it like this. Imagine shining a flashlight into a dark room. You only see the beam of light, and not the rest of the room. The freaking Frankenstein monster could be standing in the corner, and you wouldn’t even know. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

Image result for flashlight shining in dark cartoon

Pacing and Ticking Clocks

Experiment with style a bit. Short, fragmented sentences give a feel of breathlessness. Brief pauses will add weight to a scene. Keep in mind about the pacing of the overall story. The longer answers stay hidden, the longer some readers will continue reading. But don’t hold out for too long, readers may loose interest. It’s all about leaving a trails of information breadcrumbs for them to follow.

The use of time is another way to build suspense. Everyone can relate to the feeling of time running out. Your MC should be working against the clock. That’s why scenarios like “You have 24 hours to find the girl” work so well. Will the hero make it in time? What will happen if time runs out?

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After a Dark and Stormy Night

Hope you guys use these techniques when adding some suspense to your next story. What’s your favorite moment of suspense in a book or film? When I think of suspense, I always think of the movie, Speed. Keanu Reeves and a bomb strapped to a bus? Classic suspense thriller.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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