Recently, I posted some great resources to help you find overused words and phrases. But what if your manuscript is riddled with cliches? As writers, it's easy for our eyes to skip over them in our own work in progress. We're blind to them.
What's wrong with cliches? They're expected. Predictable. Readers (unconsciously) skip over them. And the last thing an author wants to do is encourage readers to skim.
Fresh writing is far better. It engages your readers. Makes them wonder what you're going to say next. Like the author of The Book Thief. His writing is fresh and unpredictable (see this post for more). Read further about avoiding and altering cliches in this article from Writer's Web.
One way to find the cliches you've used is to join a critique group. Several sets of eyes going over your writing will likely highlight most of the cliches you use. Don't stress about cliches in your first draft. Just get the story down. There will be plenty of time later to yank out the cliches.
And here's a great tool to help you do that: The Cliche Finder. Like the overused word finder mentioned above, writers just copy and paste a section of writing in the box, click the "find cliches" button, and any cliches will be highlighted in seconds. If you want to check it out, click the link, and you'll see a sample passage ready for you to try it on.
So don't worry about blindly inserting cliches. There are ways to yank them out. Do you have other ways to avoid cliches?