14 Mar

Writers are taught to avoid cliches as it blends your original voice with the-all-too-familar. Though, we humans never tire of ‘remixing’ old diddies, and thus I encourage you to say hello to the ‘snowclone.’

Snowclones, a relatively new English language classification refers to any phrase containing a cliche that has been tweaked or re-formed in a new context. For example: “to____ or not to _____;” “don’t hate me because I’m _____;” and “to boldly ____ where no man has _____ before.”

While they still carry the blood of dreaded cliches, snowclones can function in a variety of ways. They can be used for book titles, chapter headings, or even in dialogue to highlight the voice of a corny/witty character.

To progress your understanding of ‘snowclones’ and spare you from my ignorance on the subject here is a salad bar of helpful/hopefully-helpful links.

Fellow imaginators, snowclone like you’ve never snowcloned before!

The Snowclones Database: A helpful list of snowclones with an interesting blog.

What is a snowclone?: A brief and straightforward guide from ‘wise geeks.’

Language Log: Snowclones: A brief post with an extensive list of links.

Of course (thankfully) Wikipedia has its say.

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