The life of writer should focus on ridding the world of cliches. Eliminating all those tired phrases and cringe-worthy crutches. Infusing the world around us with the new, the creative, the fresh. But think about how many cliches still exist about the life of a writer, or the process of writing. My favorite? Read short or long biographies about established authors and you’re bound to find some reference to how their characters took on a life of their own. Without fail, some author will describe how, during the writing process, their characters moved in unexpected directions and developed their own worlds, separate of what the author intended. The literary persons jump off the pages into flesh-and-blood people, “It’s Alive!” style, dragging their devoted writers, relegated to simple describers, along for the ride.
As a younger writer, I kept waiting for that magical process to happen. Result – I didn’t plan enough, waiting for inspiration and supernatural creation to take over. I’d always get stuck and never finish my stories. So I stopped waiting. Over the four years it took to create my novel (unpublished y’all – waiting for that particular version of magic to strike), there was no lightning from on high that made my characters Frankenstein-monster-like entities. What did happen was a lot of hard work, a lot of planning and replotting and revising and rethinking and re-everything. There were surprises that came from problem solving and reworking. But it all came from that weird stew that is my noggin. Writing can be magical in many ways, and the resulting read ideally even more so. But I feel a snarl coming on every time I hear tired cliches about the processes that occur during writing.
What about you? What writing cliches drive you nutty?