Give It Life Otherwise it's Just a Cliché

Give your story life, otherwise it’s just a cliché.
Thinking about this quite a lot lately as I restructure my style and add more to that toolbox Stephen King made famous in On Writing.

Writing is an ongoing learning experience. Even the greats can still learn. Yeah, all those clichés.

But you see, when you write about a guy who goes into a house and he sees ghosts. It turns out those ghosts may be something he’s dealing with internal.

Yada yada.

This can be altered in any multitude of ways, but it’s still a basic story. And I’ve seen many authors, myself included, mistakenly run down this path.

Grammar and other technicalities aside, this story needs personality.

This is where write-what-you-know comes into play. That guy could have lived in Florida. He’s moving to NY to take a house that was given to him by his mom, because the siblings were fighting and she wanted it to go to someone who hasn’t been around in a while. The sister warns him with a threat about coming to claim it, and he remembers she married a guy who runs with shady characters.

What’s more, his father, who he hasn’t heard from since he was fourteen, is coming out of the woodwork. Turns out he lives in the Bronx and heard about what his wife is doing to the kids.

See? Quick example, but if I did that correct it should be a tad better than the generic example before it.

This advice may fall on deaf ears, and as I always say, that’s fine. It’s out there for those who want to learn. Hopefully I can help someone. Let me know if I have.

How do you inject life into your generic story? Do you take from experience, or use that of friends or family?

Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @WCMarchese.

Hope to see you there. 


Also, check out my YouTube channel with this link: where you can listen to Gary Buller and my radio show where we talk about horror and other things going on in the industry. Also funny little clips and more to come. 

This coming Sunday we are going to be interviewed by Curtis Freeman from Cedar Hollow Horror. It will be up on his site, but we will be doing it live during the show. 

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