Thursday, November 10, 2011

Writing's on the Wall For "Writing's On The Wall"

That's it, I cannot take it any more. Please stop using the phrase, "writing's on the wall."

That has to be the most over-used phrase in all of literary history. I dare say it's worse than "It was a dark and stormy night."

If you don't believe me, just do a Google search of writing news. I do such a search every single day, and every day dozens and dozens of stories with the words "writing's on the wall" appear in the results.

I have an idea, just say, "it's the end of..." or "there's no more..." or how about "it's over for..."

I realize the phrase "writing's on the wall" is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you are predicting the end of something (Like Adobe Flash or Joe Paterno's career) but the fact it is the first thing that comes to m ind should be a red flag that it is being used too much.

As a writer it is very important to me that I produce original work. I want my writing to be a reflection of me. I want to find words which are strung together in ways which are new and interesting for my readers. I don't want them to be comfortable because the paths I lead them down are familiar. I want to surprise them with every sentence.

I happen to be a big fan of Napoleonic era ships, in particular the English Navy. This makes me a fan of C.S. Forester and recently, Patrick O'Brian.
Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels are breezy fun; exciting and informative.
O'Brian's books are heavy, full of historical facts that may or may not relate to the story, yet wholly original. they are nothing at all like Forester's stories. They are saturated with words and phrases specific to the time frame he is writing about. That makes his stories difficult for me to navigate as I don't speak the Queen's English, circa 1803.

But I love them even more for it.

What I never read in any book is "writing's on the wall." It's tired, boring and the worst possible lead in any news or magazine story. Even as a headline it is way too common place.

So, I say, kill it. Now. Go back to any article you have posted, or story you have written and change it to something different right now. Be original.

Trust me, your readers will thank you for it. And you can thank me later.

Click here for a Google search to see what I mean...

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