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If you use a canned phrase or a well-known simile, such as "like speaking different languages", then you're evoking for a reader a situation that they are familiar with, and appealing to their own understanding of such situations that they've described (or seen described) in those terms. It's not always a bad thing, but it's also not putting any novel ideas ...


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Alexander: I think you don't like the phrase because it doesn't really fit the situation. Your two characters aren't having a problem understanding each other, which is what the mental image of two people speaking different languages conjures; their problem is a stubborn unwillingness to cede to the other opinion. I draw from my personal experience with my ...


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I struggle with this as well and have two approaches the help get out of the rut of tired language: Take the advice the Lauren Ipsum discussed earlier. It works very well. Cut out tired language, describe what's happening without flair and without requirement for catchy phrasing, and let the strength of the story telling come from the directness of your ...


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I had a poetry teacher who talked about "tired language," referring to clichés like this. Take your original metaphor apart and break it down to the real, concrete, non-representative ideas. Are Eri and Mom so far apart that not one single thought is shared between them? Are they speaking as though they are watching two different TV shows, or experienced ...


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Creating original similes and metaphors is incredibly difficult. When teaching students I find that similes are easier than metaphors. It is possible to write similes and then convert them to metaphors. One way to write similes is to think of an object. Think of a characteristic it has in common with your original object and then try to write a simile. For ...


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I think this all depends on how common the metaphor is. Some metaphors are so common that speakers don't recognize them as metaphors any longer, and replacing them is unnecessary. A very common metaphor is when you say that someone breaches a subject, meaning that this person gathers all their courage and addresses what everyone has been avoiding to talk ...


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See if you can add a twist. One time Harlan Ellison wrote: She looked like a million bucks. Realizing what a horrible cliche that was, he changed it: She looked like a million bucks, tax free. For a lame example (that twists the cliche by adding another one): It sometimes felt as if we spoke different languages. British English and American ...


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Depending on the style of what you're writing, sometimes it can be good to highlight the cliché. Maybe pointing out the cliché of what she is saying "Mother that's such a cliché" then ending with "I guess its my turn for clichés then" (that's awful! but you get the point hopefully) Or move the cliché into her speech, and then end with " she sometimes spoke ...



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