I mentioned last week in my blog on ‘Writing Magazine’ the phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” and referred to the fact that I knew I shouldn’t use clichés in writing. That got me thinking, what is the difference between a cliché and a proverb? We use knowingly, or unknowingly, Shakespeare’s sayings every day, e.g. “Dead as a door nail” (Henry VI).
I looked up the words cliché and proverbs. Here’s what it said:
Cliché (noun) platitude, banality, commonplace, hackneyed phrase, a trite stereotyped expression.
Proverb (noun) a short popular commonplace saying, that expresses truth or useful thought.
I suppose if one used the definition ‘commonplace’ to some of Shakespeare’s sayings they would be considered clichés, but I would never, never use the other words in the cliché definitions as applicable to The Bard.
One can see online ‘Shakespeare’s clichés’. They have to be kidding! (Whoops, I think I’ve used a cliché). They were not considered clichés when Shakespeare wrote them. I prefer to use the word ‘proverbs’ when applying a definition to some of Shakespeare’s quotations, which usually carry some advice, e.g. “To thine own self be true” (Hamlet).
A more modern cliché came into the English language following the song written in 1911, by Joe Hill, “The Preacher and the Slave”. A parody of the Salvation Army hymn “In the Sweet By and By”. I quote the last line of one verse – “You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.” The song/cliché came to mean that the chance of anything happening was remote or impossible.
When I went online, to find the origin of the cliché “It’s not rocket science”, I found a fascinating site headed ‘Laboratory News’ with interesting information about clichés and I copy/paste the link here. https://laboratorynews.wordpress.com/category/origin-of-phrases/ The writer gives a possible explanation of the phrase. It obviously came into the English language as a result of the space age so it is quite modern. The origins of some clichés we use cannot be identified. “Dressed up to the nines” and “The whole nine yards” have totally obscure origins.
I use clichés in everyday speech. Who doesn’t? And when characters speak in my books I allow them to use clichés, but I try to avoid them when I am using descriptions – IF I recognise them.
What do you feel about clichés? Do you think they should be used or not (other than in everyday conversation and conversations in books)?
This is a very intriguing blog. Sherri sounds very strong. Although she is still only 40-ish, her life story is fascinating,
This week I want to tell you about a British magazine called ‘Writing Magazine’. I receive it monthly in Spain, so I suppose you could get anywhere in the world.
To me the magazine is the best thing sliced bread. I know I shouldn’t use clichés in writing, but I think this time it is appropriate. I look forward to receiving the magazine so much because it always contains useful information.
There is a ‘Red Editing Pen’ (used to be written by Richard Bell) which I avidly read. Each month the article gives three sentences which would benefit from some careful observation to spot errors. I try to observe the errors before I go to the suggested solutions. I have picked up very useful tips of grammar there. For instance, to use the word ‘baggage’ instead of ‘luggage’ when referring to an air flight or a sea voyage, and the difference between ‘compare to’ or ‘compare with’. We should use ‘compare to’ when we are making a comparison. ‘Compare with’ use when we are comparing two different things. An example of this is the classical saying, ‘Shall I compare thee with a summer’s day?’ This quote is comparing two different things – a person and a day.
There are numerous short story and poetry competitions to enter. Some free to subscribers. You can also send your short story to various publications who pay you if you are picked. Occasionally, there are competitions to enter where you can send an unpublished novel to a publisher (or the first three chapters) and if you win, you are awarded a substantial amount of money and your book is published free. There are ‘Letters to the editor’ where you can share your thoughts on any writing subject, if published, and members’ pages where you can share your writing success stories. In the magazine you can find endless advice to writers. Poetry writers are not forgotten; poet Alison Chisholm guides you through the language of poetry,where she describes, as examples, a ‘Cinquain’ and a ‘Clerihew’.
By ‘success’ I have interpreted this as I have written five books, and self-published them via CreateSpace and Amazon. I have written various articles on my books to the magazine and they have always been published.
Here is the address and e-mail address in case I have whetted anyone’s appetite to subscribe to the magazine.
Warners Group Publications plc,
5th Floor, 31-32 Park Row,
Leeds, LS1, 5JD, UK.
E-mail address for subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address the email to Collette Dimbleby.
TO HYPHENATE OR NOT TO HYPHENATE, THAT IS THE QUESTION BY K J ROLLINSON
Do you know the rules that govern hyphenated words? I didn’t know when I began writing, and I relied on my ‘instinct’ or a dictionary and online information to guide me. Gradually, I came aware that there are distinct rules.
I was dithering whether to put foot or feet – when I was describing my protagonist in my latest book ‘Where Lies My Heart’ – whether to put six feet tall or six foot tall. Evidently, it doesn’t matter whether you use foot or feet, BUT the rules change, dependent whether you use feet or foot.
When it functions as an adjective phrase before a noun you use the singular form and hyphenate it – six-foot-tall. If the description comes after a verb you don’t use hyphens and use the plural form – six feet tall.
When we refer to a twelve-year-old boy, the hyphens follow the rule for one-thought adjectives. No hyphens are used when the phrase is positioned differently. “The boy is twelve years old.” The hyphens are used when we make the phrase a noun:
“He is a typical twelve-year-old boy.”
I came across a tip the other day which you may find interesting.
Incorrect:300 – 325 people (space used)
Correct: 300-325 people (no space used)
GENERAL USE OF HYPENS BETWEEN WORDS
Generally, hyphenate two or more words when they come before a noun they modify and act as a single idea. This is called a compound adjective.
an off-campus apartment
When a compound adjective follows a noun, a hyphen may or may not be necessary.
Example: The apartment is off campus.
However, some established compound adjectives are always hyphenated. Double-check with a dictionary or online.
Example: The design is state-of-the-art.
Compound adjectives are made up of a noun + an adjective; a noun + a participle; or an adjective + participle. Many compound adjectives should be hyphenated. Here are some examples:
Noun + adjective Noun + participle Adjective + participle
accident-prone computer-aided good-looking
sugar-free power-driven quick-thinking
With compound adjectives formed from the adverb ‘well’ and a participle (e.g. well-known), or from a phrase (e.g. up-to-date), you should use a hyphen when the compound comes before the noun: well-known brands of coffee; an up-to-date account. But not when the compound comes after the noun: His music was well known in England. Their figures are up to date.
Side-by-side vs. side by side.
Because I was using the above phrase in my latest book ‘Where Lies My Heart’ I found a useful definition online.
Hyphenate as an adjective. She purchased a side-by-side washer and dryer.
Do not hyphenate as an adverb. They were walking side by side.
Do not hyphenate adverbs ending in ‘ly’.
I doubt if I’ll get everything right, but the rules above have certainly helped me.
Today I want to tell you about WordPlay Writers’ Forum anthologies. WordPlay Writers’ Forum is an inspirational group of very talented writers. Many of the members are self-published authors. WordPlay Forum was led by co-founders Michael Barton and Ian Govern. Unfortunately, Ian died a few years ago, and Michael continues to lead the group, despite his heavy workload as a freelance writer, publisher and author.
In 2011 WordPlay Publishing published ‘WordPlay Showcase’ (published shortly before I was a member). I quote below, a paragraph contained in the synopsis:
‘The ‘WordPlay Showcase’ is an ideal travel companion, and is perfect for those lazy moments on the beach for dipping into on your daily commutes, or to appreciate in front of a roaring fire on a winter’s afternoon.’
In 2012 Wordplay Publishing published Shorts for Autumn by Various Authors
WINNER OF THE UK’s WRITING MAGAZINE WRITERS CIRCLE ANTHOLOGY OF THE YEAR 2012.
I quote part of the synopsis below.
‘A perfect accompaniment to evenings by the fire, Shorts for Autumn is an anthology of 26 short stories by 12 different authors. Whether it’s crime, romance, family affairs, or ghostly yarns that you enjoy, there’s a tale here to suit all tastes. A book that is ideal for the coffee table and bedside cabinet alike, and a thrill for all fans of short fiction.’
In 2013 WordPlay Publishing published ‘Winter Gems’. I quote part of the ‘Foreword’ in the anthology.
‘In early 2010 a group of writers sat together for the first time to discuss the state of the publishing market, each other’s hope for their work and how their words, poems, and stories could get to the market…We hope the reading of these stories gives you as much pleasure as the writing of them gave us.’
Also, in 2013 WordPlay Publishing published ‘Precinct Murder’. I quote part of the synopsis.
‘Never before have the streets of New York been afflicted by so many murders, Never before has so many murderers walked the streets of New York. No one is safe. . .A city where killers never sleep.’
I playfully said at a WordPlay meeting I enjoyed killing people (in the book!) .
In 2014 Wordplay Publishing published ‘Talk of the Town’. Part of the synopsis says:
‘Stories from the imagination…or are they?It seems that everybody knows everybody’s business…’
Mm… one of my stories in ‘Talk of the Town’ is about a murder!
In 2015 WordPlay Publishing published ‘Songs that Inspired Stories’
Members of the group are working to complete two new anthologies, ‘Food, Glorious Food’, and a children’s anthology, yet to be named.
If your Writers’ Group has written an anthology and wish to enter, go to your search engine and put in ‘Writing Magazine Writers’ Circle Anthology Awards’. Click onto the relevant site, and an entry form will appear.Organised by ‘Writing Magazine’ UK, and supported by the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust. The annual Writers’ Circle Anthology Award offers a £250 first prize for the year’s best anthology produced by a writers’ group. Anthologies will be judged on a range of criteria, including the variety and quality of writing, level of group involvement and overall production, so your group will need to include a brief account (up to 500 words) of how the book was produced, its aims, and how sales are being handled. To be eligible, your anthology must have been published in print form. Entry is free.
Also, there is a prize for individuals entering ”Self-Publishing Award’.
I copy/paste the site I went to. https://www.writersonline.co.uk/userfiles/files/Self%20Publishing%20award%20competition%20entry%20form(2).pdf
(If you have a problem getting into the site, copy/paste the link given into your search engine).
Winners will be announced for the two awards in the July 2015 issue of Writing Magazine.
I got the following list from Jonathan Telfer, editor of the ‘Writing Magazine,’ stating the winners and runners-up in the Writer’s Circle Anthology Award. In the list, winners are first, with the three runners-up following.
2013 (announced ‘Writing Magazine’ July 2014): All Write Then, Still Me; Bristol Women Writers, Unchained; Womanswrite, The Colour of Poetry; Huntly Writers, Weaving Words.
2012: Wordplay Writers’ Forum ( Spain) Shorts for Autumn; Ross-Shire Writers, Ross-shire Reflections; Walsall Writers’ Circle, Satchells, Inkwells and Milk Monitors; Merryoaks Writers, Pebbles in the Stream.
2011: Coventry Writers’ Group, Coventry Tales; Moving on Writers, Moving On; Leeds Writers’ Circle, Anthology 2011; Creative Writing Group Heidelberg, Spectacular, Spectacular!
2010: Thames Valley Writers, Pick and Mix; Peterborough Writers’ Circle, Night and Day; Warminster Writers’ Circle, Circle Crop; Wensleydale Writers’ Group, Trains of Thought.
So do you, or your writing group, fancy entering these competitions? I quote a section in the ‘Self-Publishing Award’ ‘… so whether your book is fiction, poetry, non-fiction, writing for children or anything else, you stand a chance of winning the prize. To be eligible, your book must have been published in print form between 1 January and 31 December 2014.’
No doubt, eventually, the sites will have entry forms to enter the 2016 competitions. But remember, your book/anthology must be published in print form between 1 January and 31 December 2015.