- Make your lions and tigers fight cyber-octopii while your bears invite bulls to romantic dinners in an attempt to create a race of grizzly centaurs who’ll exterminate capitalism and bullfighting.
- Invent an small sewing antigravity system to prevent pins from ever hitting the ground.
- Make millions by inventing a fad health drink of mixed spilled milk and optical saline.
- Engineer a sticky towel to blinding victorious opponents, allowing you to escape after throwing it at them.
- Dress to kill by inventing power armor and strapping a chainsaw to your wrist.
- If looks could kill, develop a response to the mutant-hunting Sentinel program.
Do all this and more, whatever it takes to avoid clichés. Some writers use phrases they’ve seen before because they think it looks like writing. If it looks like writing, it isn’t good writing, or worse, it’s someone else’s writing that you’re using instead of anything you’ve invented yourself. Writing is a medium for getting your ideas into other people’s brains, the same way air is a medium for getting oxygen into their brains: if they can feel the stuff pushing its way in then something is going horribly wrong.
> Some writers use phrases they’ve seen before because they think it looks like writing.
Other writers use phrases they’ve seen before because that’s what an idiom is and it’s literally how language forms.
I think the real sin of this is in the second clause, aiming to look like writing. As Elmore Leonard once said, “if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”