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Cliches in Historical Fiction

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Fri March 8th, 2013, 5:55 am

"His/her smile didn't reach his /her eyes".
Ah, but such a useful expression. Along with "She/he smiled with her/his mouth only," and the like.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri March 8th, 2013, 6:12 am

That's what I mean about calling something a cliche because it is ubiquitous in real life. I know lots of people who smile without it reaching their eyes, and the expression is very telling. How else would you describe this, except to say just that?

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Post by Alex Worthy » Fri March 8th, 2013, 9:27 pm

[quote=""MLE""]That's what I mean about calling something a cliche because it is ubiquitous in real life. I know lots of people who smile without it reaching their eyes, and the expression is very telling. How else would you describe this, except to say just that?[/quote]

What I meant was in some books (Rober Jordan's Eye of the World series which I couldn't finish) I see it a dozen times. Shouldn't an author find fresh descriptions?

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sat March 9th, 2013, 2:47 am

I see it a dozen times. Shouldn't an author find fresh descriptions?
Um, yes, a dozen times would seem a bit too often to repeat any one expression in one novel. I encountered an expression three times in one novel once, and resolved never to read the author again (this wasn't the only failing, though). The main character exploded out of his chair (in response to upsetting news, I believe), exploded out of something else, and finally exploded out of his pants. For me, this had a humorous effect which I'm sure was not intended.
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Post by Ariadne » Sat March 9th, 2013, 5:00 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Um, yes, a dozen times would seem a bit too often to repeat any one expression in one novel. I encountered an expression three times in one novel once, and resolved never to read the author again (this wasn't the only failing, though). The main character exploded out of his chair (in response to upsetting news, I believe), exploded out of something else, and finally exploded out of his pants. For me, this had a humorous effect which I'm sure was not intended.[/quote]

OMG, that's hilarious!

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Post by boswellbaxter » Sat March 9th, 2013, 8:56 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Um, yes, a dozen times would seem a bit too often to repeat any one expression in one novel. I encountered an expression three times in one novel once, and resolved never to read the author again (this wasn't the only failing, though). The main character exploded out of his chair (in response to upsetting news, I believe), exploded out of something else, and finally exploded out of his pants. For me, this had a humorous effect which I'm sure was not intended.[/quote]

Spontaneous combustion!
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Post by DianeL » Sun March 10th, 2013, 4:46 pm

Margaret, OH the marginalia that would get if I had that book. :)

Repetition within a single novel, or repetition by one author, can itself become cliche', definitely - and even more irritating than just general cliche', because you have one person to hold responsible for the poor writing. I've caught that sort of thing in my own writing - but that is why we're supposed to EDIT.
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Post by Divia » Sun March 10th, 2013, 6:13 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Um, yes, a dozen times would seem a bit too often to repeat any one expression in one novel. I encountered an expression three times in one novel once, and resolved never to read the author again (this wasn't the only failing, though). The main character exploded out of his chair (in response to upsetting news, I believe), exploded out of something else, and finally exploded out of his pants. For me, this had a humorous effect which I'm sure was not intended.[/quote]

LOL. Exploded outta his pants. Hmmm.....
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Post by rebecca » Mon March 11th, 2013, 1:22 am

[quote=""MLE""]That's what I mean about calling something a cliche because it is ubiquitous in real life. I know lots of people who smile without it reaching their eyes, and the expression is very telling. How else would you describe this, except to say just that?[/quote]

The often used expression I don't get is...'she peeked up at him through her eyelashes'..How can a person peek through their lashes unless their ten inches long?

Becca :) As for the exploding pants LOL :p I so don't want that image in my head :p

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon March 11th, 2013, 5:15 am

[quote=""Margaret""]Um, yes, a dozen times would seem a bit too often to repeat any one expression in one novel. I encountered an expression three times in one novel once, and resolved never to read the author again (this wasn't the only failing, though). The main character exploded out of his chair (in response to upsetting news, I believe), exploded out of something else, and finally exploded out of his pants. For me, this had a humorous effect which I'm sure was not intended.[/quote]
Eek! I'm afraid I wouldn't wait for that explosion to repeat into cliche-- one explosion from the pants would be the end for me!

It puts me in mind of my toddler grandkids, where pants-explosions really DO happen. :eek:

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