SATW: 60 Second Travel Writer #15 – Cliches

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catharine hamm 1Avoid clichés like the plague.

Here’s a 60-Second Travel Writer Tip from LA Times Travel Editor Catharine Hamm:

Cliches are easy to latch onto because they grow from kernels of truth but become so shopworn that they lose their punch. Worse, they can weigh down your otherwise crisp prose.

They also can date you. The expression “hotter than a two-dollar pistol” originated in the 1800s. It stuck around long enough to become a lyric in a 1963 George Jones song. It’s probably time to put that cliche out of its misery, along with “hot enough to fry an egg.”

Whenever you’re tempted to use a cliché—think of a more creative way to say what you want to say.

Here’s a word to the wise: Most editors have an ax to grind when it comes to clichés. Really, it drives them to drink and they won’t beat around the bush in telling you that such prose bores them to tears and is as dull as dishwater. Let’s let those little phrases fall by the wayside, shall we?

For SATW professional development, I’m Westways Travel Editor Elizabeth Harryman.