We had so much fun at the 1000 Springs Art Festival. Dena Gubler of Jerome won this amazing basket of books just by stopping by and entering our free raffle. A great big thanks to everyone who attended the festival.
Today we stopped by Morningside Elementary in Twin Falls and presented the Principal, Steven Hoy, a copy of our book, Billie Neville Takes a Leap. Billie attended Morningside in 1974, the year Evel Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon. Thank you, Morningside Elementary for letting us wander your halls. You have a great school.
When I judged writing contests and edited copy for a newspaper, I cringed whenever I saw a cliché. I cringed a lot.
Sometimes, I would even be reading a first draft of my writing, and what do you know? I found a few clichés.
The definition of cliché says it all. A word or phrase that’s lost its power because of overuse.
Clichés are around for a reason. They are so easy to use and so available. But when you use them that means you’re taking it easy in your writing. You’re not pushing yourself creatively.
It is funny that they have changed over the years. When I taught a creative writing class to young people and gave them a list of clichés, they didn’t recognize them because we have developed some newer clichés like these.
Really? (as in you see something dumb or incredulous and your response is ‘really?’)
Clive Whichelow and Hugh Murray have even written a book about the modern ones called “It’s Not Rocket Science: And Other Irritating Modern Cliches.”
However, there are still a lot of the old ones hanging around and finding their way into your writing.
Think about it this way. Clichés were written or said by someone else. You don’t want anybody else’s writing in yours, do you?
Writing is about originality and if we want ours to be original, we must declare war on those pesty clichés.
First locate and eradicate them in the editing process. In addition, have your critique partners read your writing because they may find ones that you don’t.
A fun way to work your brain is to break clichés and turn them into something new and in your own voice.
Start with what I have dubbed the Cliché Challenge.
Come up with a list of clichés and then rework them to make them new and yours. For instance take the cliché “All that glitters is not gold.”
My take on it–Her golden life had the glitter of a brick.
You get the idea.
Lists of clichés are all over the Internet. Here is a good one.
Do a few each time. It will be hard and your brain will be sweating.
Good luck and happy cliché hunting.
_-Patricia Santos Marcantonio
We are proud to announce the winner of our What is a Hero Contest.
Kaitlyn Armstrong is a sixth-grader at O’Leary Middle School. We met Kaitlyn in May at the annual Career on Wheels held at the Eldon Evans Expo Center in Twin Falls where she picked up an entry to our contest. An aspiring writer, Kaitlyn won $50 for her following essay, which she read for an audience Sunday, September 7, at the Twin Falls Barnes & Noble.
What is a hero?
What do we think of when we hear the word “hero?” Being able to fly? Having super powers? Wearing a fancy cape? Is a hero someone who beats the bad guy or rescues a damsel in distress? When they slay the dragon or ward off the bad guys is the title automatic?
To me, a hero is someone who nurtures and cares about who they’re being a hero to. The teddy bear of a young child can be the champion as it wards off the dark and the nightmares in an unfamiliar place. Children witness these acts of heroism, great and small, every day. When children fall victim to the relentless teasing of bullies, the child who stops it is seen as a hero in the victims’ eyes.
And it isn’t just with children either. The smallest act of heroism from an adult can be cherished by the recipient. I found that the counselor at my previous school was seen as a hero in most people’s eyes. Easy to talk to and quick to understand the problems she was confronted with, she was the go-to person for problems about friendship and family. For some children it is hard to talk about personal problems with their parents, so being able to discuss things really took a burden off their shoulders.
In some cases, being called a hero follows immediately after a courageous act, but in others, it takes time and effort. I believe that in order to become a hero, you must work for that title. Otherwise, the hero must accomplish a deed of great kindness. Afterwards, the hero must live up to the expectations of the recipient and respect, even accept, the title they have been given.
Now as I said before, a hero to me is someone who nurtures and cares for the people around them. I think the title “hero” should be earned through acts of kindness and compassion. These are the qualities in a role model I look for, which is exactly what a hero is, a role model, and that is what a hero will always be to me.