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nightwomenMarlon James, the Booker Award-winning author of The Book of Night Women and A Brief History of Seven Killings, has some advice on cliches, presented as a series of questions to the struggling writer.

A few selections:

  • “How many times can the sun kiss you before it gets inappropriate?”
  • “If noise keeps assaulting your ears can you file a complaint?”
  • “Why are pipes always leaking, heat always sweltering, breezes always gentle, rain always soft, eyes always blue, streets always busy, holes always gaping, horses always wild, wind always gusty, and nails always rusty?”

Cliches are ever lurking in your mental toolbox, ready to jump onto that page without your even noticing. Be alert, be aware.