Creative writing tutors and members of writing groups often warn against using clichés, partly because relying on clichés is seen as laziness on the part of the writer. One of the most common clichés is “cool as a cucumber”, a description of someone’s calm reaction to an unexpected event or news of one.
At my last meeting with the local novelist group, one of the members advised me to watch out for my own personal clichés. She was referring not to actual clichés (like “cool as a cucumber”) but to phrases and ideas I tend to overuse. For instance, the central character of the novel sensing someone watching, lights in a house mysteriously going off or coming on. Old ideas that appear in all my writing.
The challenge now is to create new ideas and tighten up the plot.