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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cliche or Real?

Is it just me, or have you guys noticed a lot of "bile rising in the throat" of characters in a novel.

This has me thinking. Does anyone really feel bile rising in the back of their throat outside of having a stomach flu? I've been in some pretty scary and upsetting situations, but I do not recall that particular sensation.

Is this phrase a crutch we're starting to use more and more to try to tell our readers, 'this character is affected deeply by what just happened.' Or do I just have a particularly strong stomach?

So for this week's poll, I'm asking:


  1. Very good point. I will do a search on my manuscript to be sure this isn't there.

  2. I have definitely felt it, but it's more like heartburn. And if the situation is right, the acid from the stomach (described as bile) can rise. However, it's become a cliche almost.

    Now I have to scramble and see how much I've depended on it. Rats.

  3. Certain other cliches have been bugging me lately too. Like "sidled up next to him." Does anybody REALLY know what "sidled" means? Is it possible to actually do in real life?

  4. Sidled means to move sideways or step sideways to someone.:)

  5. You probably have a very strong stomach, which I completely understand, because I do too. Just reading that grossed me out though. I think the second I read that, I'd think "Ew!".

  6. Ha, Coffeelvnmom, now you know how I feel when I'm in the middle of a story and that phrase appears!

  7. Sidled I think is a legitamate action, not a cliche. But that's my opinion, and no, I don't think I've ever used it, so not defending myself on that one. Of course we're probably reading different books, so...

    Sometimes I get told actions that are simple and unavoidable are "cliche". I mean sometimes you catch a glimpse of something from the corner of your eyes. It happens a lot. It happens to everyone. If something like the bile or the like is being used and just doesn't happen as much as it's written, that's one thing, but it's also true that there's nothing new under the sun. Telling a story in a new way is imperative, but not every sentence or action has to be written in a new way either.

    Not sure exactly what my point was. ha.

  8. When I see the phrase, it feels cliche to me, or at least "trendy". I don't get what it means, other than a bad case of acid reflux, which isn't all that emotional. Bile. Gross! Really. Get to the doctor and get that checked out, seriously.

  9. I've been guilty of depending too much on a "lump rose in my throat." I allow myself ONE instance of that phrase, then I force myself to find alternative ways to show that emotion.

    I suppose it is a function of trying to show rather than tell. I think I'd rather an author have bile rising in a character's throat than to inform me the character was "upset" or "sickened" or whatever by an event.


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