All rules are meant to be broken, especially in writing, because there are no rules. As I said in an earlier blog, for every so-called rule for writers you can find a great writer who broke the rule. I will show how you can use phrases, even clichés in your writing.
Take the phrase, “I got the sack” meaning “I got fired.” Suppose you have a character who comes home to his wife and says, “I got sacked today.” Your first instinct might be to write a serious discussion between the two as to what they next will do. What if you take a different tack. What if the wife says, “Did you know ‘getting the sack’ originated from 17th century France when itinerant workers carried their bag of tools around the country looking for jobs, and when they were done, or discharged, they got their sack of tools back?”
“Who cares. What are you saying? That we should move?”
“No, what I am saying is that you still have your bag of tools and you will find another job, probably one better.”
This shows his wife is intelligent-part of character development-and shows she is strong, not worried, thus supporting her husband, and her confidence should lift his spirits. She also has a sense of humor.
How about another conversation revolving around ‘cut to the chase.’ Perhaps the same husband and wife, in which the wife is explaining something that happened.
“Will you cut to the chase dear,” he said.”
“Cut to the chase? Oh, so now I am boring you am I?”
“No, that’s not what I meant.”
“Of course it is. That was the phrase producers used in the early days of movies, as in cut out the boring parts and get to the exciting parts. So I must be boring you. But I am giving you the details so you will understand what happened. Sorry you find this boring.”
“Look hon, lets be frank and talk turkey.”
“I am being frank and I wont talk turkey. I like chicken. And by the way, if I put a two minute egg timer on our bedside table, you would be done, before the timer went off. Some rooster you are.”
Well, no marriage is perfect. I think we should leave them now as their conversation is heading south. But I hope you see the point, how you can use phrases or clichés in your writing. You might come up with your own phrases and experiment, using it is a tool to spur creativity.