Cliché Leads

Clichés are defined as trite expressions. There are also, however, ways of beginning a sentence that are so overused that they’ve also become clichéed. I admit, as a fiction writer, I have been –and am– guilty of using some of these. I adapted the leads from submissions by Dich Thien, a member of the American Copy Editors Society, or ACES.

  • The ‘He leaned back in his chair’ lead: Jack leaned back in his chair and smirked. Gotcha, he thought.
  • The that’s good, that’s bad lead: The good news was that he was still alive. The bad news was that he wasn’t sure how long he’d stay that way.
  • The unrelated Zimmerman lead: Lucy stared at the red shoes on the shelf with envy. She opened her purse, took out lipstick, cell phone, a couple of crumpled tissues, the lint-covered card of her massotherapist before she found her wallet at the bottom. She wondered if she had enough money to buy the red shoes.
  • The ‘that’s what’ lead: Fran wasn’t going to the ball. That’s what she told herself while she went through her closet for an appropriate gown.
  • The ‘thanks to’ lead: Thanks to the bottle of Tequila he’d polished last night, Marcus had the mother of a headache this morning.
  • The go-look-it-up lead: In 1958, when Jack entered high school, John Diefenbaker had already been Prime Minister of Canada for a year.
  • The one-word lead: Sarcasm. That’s what Julie hated most.
  • The word lead: Sarcastic was the only word Julie found to describe Steve.
  • The ‘typical’ lead: Steve might talk like a typical redneck, but he was hiding the heart of a renaissance man.

Writer beware. That’s what I’d like to leave you with.

These leads are so tempting.

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  1. Pingback: Ember Case » Blog Archive » Cliche Leads

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