Category: clichés

Harlequin Refresh: Romance plot cliches

Harlequin editors read a lot of romance books. Sometimes a scene idea or plot twist that seems fresh to a new author is actually one we’ve read many times. And that’s not surprising. When starting a new creative venture, it’s natural to emulate artists whom you admire, including aspects of their “voice” – word choice,…

Read More »


Harlequin REFRESH: Character cliches

Character clichés. Archetypes. Stock characters. We encounter them in every genre—the mad scientist, the femme fatale, the high school jock, that geek with acne. There are millions of stories out in the world today, so of course we’re going to encounter similar people from time to time. One thing is certain, though: a reader needs…

Read More »


Harlequin REFRESH Writing Challenge: Replace the cliche

On Tuesday we wrote about freshening your narrative voice by eliminating clichés. Easier said than done! Sometimes a cliché seems to express what you want to say perfectly. So how do replace the perfect words with more perfect ones? Here are some questions to ask yourself: What’s my character’s motivation?          …

Read More »


Harlequin REFRESH! Banish stylistic cliches!

Do your sentences lack zing? Is your narrative voice stale? Tired of the same old phrases? You need… Harlequin REFRESH! This week, we’ll look at freshening your voice by eliminating stylistic clichés. Clichés are  writing shortcuts. Words, phrases and actions that have been used in romance fiction many times come to mind easily while writing,…

Read More »


Keep It Fresh!

By Johanna Raisanen, Editor, American Romance So you've written a secret-baby story and you're debating about entering this year's So You Think You Can Write contest? Well, you should! But perhaps you've been told that secret-baby stories are so cliché! I recently read an article about “the worst romance-novel clichés,” where the author lists a…

Read More »