Clichés: The secret of writing a best-seller

Lately, I’ve been glancing at a few best-sellers to discover their secret. I realized the common characteristic was the use of clichésImage.

This is my attempt in becoming an anti-best-selling author:

“She gasped,” he wrote knowing he shouldn’t have. Maybe it was just a sigh, but a sigh didn’t really depict her reaction the way he could think of it in his head. Maybe it was a moan, but to him the word added a sense of defeat to what she had truly felt. A gasp was a gasp, he thought, staring at his page. Starting all over again, he read his story from beginning to the end and his heart ached, his thoughts echoed in his head, his heart jolted and his mind froze, knowing it was all wrong, knowing he was just a miserable writer, knowing he was misunderstood and that nobody would ever remember what he had been trying to accomplish.

He wanted to swear like a sailor and his hands were as cold as ice while he cut the beauties which resembled the moon, and cut his full moons in half, making sure none of them looked like a pie. He wrote about doorknobs which weren’t dead. He added sweaty characters that never ate like a pig and not even a single one looked smart like a rocket scientist or a cookie. Nothing was hot as hell and all the bats in his story could clearly see. The ghosts lost their whiteness and the lightning flashed slowly. All the pieces of cakes were hard to swallow and honey tasted bitter. He transformed the green eyes of his character into black, the blond hair into brown, tall and skinny into average and plump. The heart of his characters never raced, the hills of his setting always remained young, religion lost its anesthetic effect, the happiest place on earth wasn’t over the moon anymore, the poor didn’t tighten their belts, there was no water under any bridge, no one dared to reach for the stars, nobody fell in love on Valentine’s Day, and in any moment, in any scene, a jaw ever dropped. Nobody was a cliché of something familiar and comforting. In this world of fiction the awkwardness of a gasp didn’t ruin the extraordinary. Nothing was magic/magical/majestic and nobody lived happily ever after.

“She panted,” he wrote, still looking for something else, still wondering if he could ever erase this vision of a gasp in his mind.

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About lifeacrossthesun

Writer/ 2011 PEN USA Emerging Voices fellow
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