Thursday, February 18, 2010


By: Angelica Hart and Zi

Z: All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. (Zi drank from his Big Dog mug, placed it on the desk, looked at it, looked at Angelica) Woof!
A: All's fair in love and war. Work can be war. Work. (She wagged that finger much like a dog did its tail... Zi would have preferred the wag of the tail... the dog's tail)
Z: So you are a proponent of all's well that ends well? (Avoiding the return to writing using diversion tactics of a great military mind he tried to engage her in conversation)
A: Attitude is determined by attitude. (Wicked eyes ripped from her desk to his, shredding dust moats)
Z: (Zi thought... poor little moats... mean Angelica... what bit her) So you want an arm and a leg? (Considering he felt she was bit by it-is-time-to-be-serious bug... and the bite had swollen enflamed ugly... so ugly Zi wanted to flee fearing a volcanic eruption of whipping and scolding... and get a witch doctor to exorcise her demons)
A: Oh, that's an oldie but goodie.
Z: And I guess that puts another nail in my coffin? (He gazed wistfully out the window and looked for the excuse to shoot hoops in the backyard) Dog is sneaking under the fence... gotta go!

The afore was a cliché touché, both a debate over and with clichés. We constantly battle about their usage and have taken the position that if we notice them we change them. Now, having said that we do use clichés in dialog. People speak that way.

"Hey, babe, you are dressed to the nines." Using a twirling finger he asked for her to spin.
"This old thing." She smiled touched by his flattery, she knowing she spent hours choosing just for him.
"Fits like a glove." Ronald wanted to infest her with his thoughts of sensuality, they being spirited by that very tight dress.
"Makes me look flat as a pancake." She knew he was a man who loved a full décolleté and wore that piece of lingerie that pushed up and together, her gift to him.
"You are fine and dandy." As he said those words, somewhere deep within he hoped he had moved her closer to that place where her panties would spontaneously fall to her ankles.

A: That scene is total crap.
Z: Not enough passion? (His eyes turned hurt puppy-doggish)
A: Misused clichés. (She had the damn-the-torpedoes glare)
Z: How's the passion? (He pointed to one sentence)
A: Lost to the clichés. (There it was, the snap of the whip)
Z: Ouch! And I wanted to get Ronald a girlfriend with benefits. (Zi, a man's man, felt he failed his bud and returned to the keyboard to find those benefits for him)

The afore may show that just because a cliché is a part of people's dialog it may not work to facilitate the intention of the work.

But clichés can be fun.

Z: The final line you wrote read, knee-high to a grasshopper, do you really want to write that? (Zi had that holier than thou 'tude... no not whitewashed in meanness but caked with that I-know-something-you-don't-know tone)
A. Sure. (That sure was a volley back sure... we have all done those... she waiting for more information)
Z. Do you really want to write that? I’ll ask you once more, do you really want to write that, and I shall add, the cliché leaves the impression of one providing oral favors to an insect. Do you really want to use the expression?
A: Nooooooooooooooooo. (The white of her eyes appeared around her irises)
Z: Got to hurry and change it. (He typed using huge hand strokes) Now, we are using, having ants in their pants. (There are some grins that are more than sniggers and have taken smirk to a devilish place... Zi so grinned)
A: Naughty ants? (She laughed... though Angelica was mind picturing them doing the horizontal... oh my goodness she felt the need to stop being a mind voyeur and shook her head as if flinging the naughty asunder)
Z: Sounds like we are writing insect erotica. (This is where he'd tee-hee but Zi never tee-heed)
A: Everyone is busy as a bee. (Another volley of ill-begotten thoughts)
Z: Happy as a bug in the rug. (And Zi knew exactly what he meant by rug)
A: Ok... ok... cliché touché must end. (She raised her hands... no not in that way to indicate she had to go potty... though she did raise one finger... peecular?)
Z: Sounds like I opened a can of worms. (Worms... was that a metaphor... probably)
A: Enough! (What did Zi mean when he said can of... what this... no... not a party... ick!)
Z: The early bird gets the worm... and what does that duck do with it? (At this point Zi knew he was tormenting and loved that he could)
A: I don't want to know. (Though she knew what she wanted the duck to do and made up a poem)
Z: Think fall through the cracks... huh!! (Bounces his well embrowness)
A: Stop!
Z: Want me to deep-six the clichés?
A: Yes!
Z: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.

We believe that our job is know when and when not to cliché. We hope we don't rock the boat but hit the ball out of the park.

The question is, do clichés have value?

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who emails us at and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.

Angelica Hart and Zi
Killer Dolls ~ September 2009
Snake Dance ~ February 2010
Chasing Gravitas ~ July 2010
Champagne Books



Cindy said...

You two are a hoot. I really enjoy following your blogs. Sounds like you have such fun days. Much success with your careers.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

A call out to Susan...You have commented here two weeks in a row, and you have been a winner in one of our contests, but we have two Susan's on our email list and we're not certain which one is your email. Please send us a note at So, we can forward your prize. Thank you and have a sunshine day.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Thank you Cindy for your kind words. You are such a dear. Aye, our days are fun and sometimes a bit of a roller coaster ride, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Great to meet you, and we hope to see you here again.

SiNn said...

w0ot i can finally post i read your posts everyweek had a nasty virus wouldnt let me post anything buti do enjoy them alot as far as cliches go some im not familar with others i am just well i love to read so id read even them your posts rock andmake me laugh and smile everytime i read them

Victoria Roder said...

I like your idea of using cliches once in awhile in conversation. Otherwise find other ways to convey youur thoughts.

Big Mike said...

Interesting how joint authors feud. Wonder if its a gender thing. I know Candace and I snarl and argue when we're writing, yet we luv each other. There would never be a problem if I could just get her to see things my way (g).

Michael Davis (
Author of the year, 4/09

Candace Morehouse said...

I have an editor and a co-author (yes, I'm talking about you Big Mike) who hate cliches but I agree with you that they sound normal in dialogue as long as they are used sparingly. For me, it's hard to find acceptable substitutions. I find myself thinking, "Now what else is hard as a rock? Hard as a man's head? Why can't I just use hard as a rock???"

s7anna said...

Hey you two,
I think cliches have their time and place...I actually enjoy them as long as they are not overused in the story. Nothing sucks more than a story completely drowned in cliches...but an appropriately placed cliche can sometimes really make a scene work.

Kaylin McFarren said... guys make me feel like I'm a kid again, in the back seat of my parent's car listening to them bicker. Too funny! Anyway, in regard to cliches, I took a class last year at the RWA conference and discovered that almost everything has become cliche. The only difference is in your voice and I LOVE listening to both of you! Write on...

susan said...

Cliches are good..they are found a lot. I think they should be used. You both remind me of my hubby and me..we stay young at heart..why face getting old and being mature ALL THE TIME. We love to have fun. susan Leech

booklover0226 said...

I live for Thursdays. Thank you both very much for an enjoyable read.

Tracey D

Dawn said...

Hey Angela and Zi,

As always a wonderful post this week...and every week. I giggle each Thursday as I read your posts. :)

Thanks for coming by and to answer your question: I would rather have a well placed cliche in a story rather than a story full of them that it overwhelms the story itself. :)


Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Angelica and Zi! Fun post as always. I too like cliches but have tried to avoid them. I like your idea. I'm looking forward to Snake Dance.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Just a quick note to all who commented. It has been one of those weeks, and I'm a wee behind. I'll be responding to comments this evening. Thank you for taking the time to post. We adore all of you!

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hi SiNn,
Glad you could make it, but really sorry that you had been ill. Life just sometimes dwells in the land of lemons, time for sweetening it up again. Laughter is grand and good, and if we can do that for you, we’re tickled. Hmmm, wonder if we can get a doctor to write a prescription: Take one dose of Angelica and Zi once a week for optimum help!

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hey Victoria,
Grand to see you, and we wish you luck with your upcoming April release, Bolt Action.

It is fun to use clichés with humor, to twist and turn it around, and we sometimes make a game of it to see who can manipulate the cliché to sound entirely different.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hey Big Mike,
How awesome to hear from Michael David, author of year for Champagne Books!
We think partners, even if the same gender, would feud, especially in the creative field. There is just such a latitude for the undefined…the story itself is derived from the imagination of two individuals and oft goes toward different path. However, once we remember to put the story and the reader first, we usually come to an easy resolution (MINE)…now guess who said that.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hey, hey, Candace,
Great to see the author of FULL THROTTLE, and how perfectly perfect that your post and BM’s are posted together, having co-authored with Michael Davis, Veil Of Deception.
Great point about clichés and as hard as a man’s head. Sometimes, we’ll write with all the clichés intact, and then go back and rework them, because when the plot is hot, you just have to go with it.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hey back at you, Anna,
How fabulous that you made your way here. I like the way you think. Sometimes, there is no other way to say something than the good ole way, especially if it is to illustrate a position from a character’s viewpoint. However, as you have posted, when it is nothing more than clichés, there is a sense of lazy involved.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hi Kaylin,

Fabulous to have the author of Flaherty's Crossing posting here.

Ah, geeze, we’re glad we can turn the clock back for you. Actually, we feel like a couple of siblings more than parents, and we have incredibly too much fun bickering. There is a lot of laughter involved in our day, except when we get really serious about a scene and have to stay focused.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hi Susan,

That is what it is all about staying young inside. I think by reaching down inside to that child and letting the laughter and fun flow help the outside to stay young as well. Yup, there are times maturity is a must, but we avoid it whenever we can.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hey Tracy,

So grand to see you, girl. I hope we can continue to tickle your mind with our strange antics and odd quirks. We look so forward to connecting with everyone as well as getting feedback.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hi Dawn,

First, great answer. A cliché is like hot sauce, a little goes a long way.

Also, it is so awesome that you opened your cyber home to us. It is a blast being able to post here. According to Kurt Vonnegut, “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” Having said that, we’re not frustrated, but, oh yes, really exhausted, but we hate slowing down. Now, if we could do without sleep, we’d be just fine.

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Hey Linda,

As always it is wonderful to see the author of When The Ocotillo Bloom here. Solomon Short said, “Any great truth can -- and eventually will -- be expressed as a cliché.” I once had a nightmare where I couldn’t think of anything but clichés to put in a book. Talk about a cold sweat!

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