Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Avoiding Cliches The Easy Way

Don't Let Anyone Get Your Goat
Horses are herd animals. They don't do well on their own. Because of this, racehorse owners would often pair a horse with a goat. The presence of the easy-going goat would keep the horse calm as they traveled to races and stayed in unfamiliar stables. Unscruplous competitors, however, would somtimes steal a horse's comapinon goat in an attempt to stress the horse out before a race. Thus, "getting your goat" became an idiom for someone behaving badly to steal another's peace.

The first person to say, "Hey, don't let Joe get your goat," was undoubtedly familiar with the use of goats as companion animals and the practice of stealing them to upset the competition. They were speaking from their experience.

The best way to avoid cliches is to write what you know, that is, to describe the world around you as you see it, because only you have seen it through your eyes. I live on a hobby farm, so instead of writing someone fled "like a bat out of hell", I might put down someone fled "like a dog with the horse after him."

What life experiences have you put in your writing to make it unique?

No comments: