Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Travel Writing Clichés

Wish you were here

Is it possible to write about holiday destinations without using clichés? Notice how many of these are boo or hooray words.

bustling Street markets, especially abroad, are bustling. Waiters are likely to scurry in this environment.

brisk
At auctions, bidding is always brisk.

nestled
Villages are always nestled somewhere.

grey
Suburbs are inclined to be grey, because we disapprove of them.

belch
Factories chimneys always belch smoke. We don't like them much either.

sleepy
Fishing villages are always sleepy, and contain a huddle of whitewashed cottages. "We ate more fresh fish at a beachside restaurant in the sleepy fishing village of Sogut." Observer Feb 28 10

wind
Narrow cobbled streets always wind up hills.

huddle
Houses are always huddled on a mountainside.

fierce
The local inhabitants are either fiercely proud, or fiercely independent. "The Polynesian aspect of our heritage is fiercely independent." Independent March 10

dutiful
Monks are always dutiful, or make herbal liqueurs dutifully. (Sometimes for a change they're tireless or indefatigable.)

And choirboys are always suitably seraphic (angelic, cherubic).

pummel
What waves to do coasts.

buffet
What high winds do to practically anything.

folk
are people distant from us in place or time. Or else they're rural and primitive. Townsfolk threw rotten veg at people in the pillory. Does anyone still write captions about "Local tribesmen and their womenfolk”?

3 comments:

  1. > wind Narrow cobbled streets always wind up hills

    that may be because, if they didn't wind, they'd be too steep for us to climb

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  2. How did those naked men appear in my twitter feed?

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  3. It was nothing to do with me; I have an alibi :-)

    ReplyDelete