Wondering why it’s taking you so long to crank out that novel? Check out the competition.


This ought to cheer you up. Think you’re taking forever on your novel? Take heart: J.R.R. Tolkien spent 16 years writing the Lord of the Rings trilogy. On the other hand, maybe you can dash off something this weekend. John Boyne wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in two-and-a-half days. For more details on the work of art above, go here.

In the meantime, here’s a list that will help you no matter how long you take: 681 clichés to avoid in your writing. Indeed, if you can manage to avoid all these, it will be a wonder if you can manage to say anything at all. Let’s start with:

  1. a chip off the old block
  2. a clean slate
  3. a dark and stormy night
  4. a far cry
  5. a fine kettle of fish
  6. a good/kind soul
  7. a loose cannon
  8. a pain in the neck/butt
  9. a penny saved is a penny earned
  10. a tough row to hoe
  11. a word to the wise
  12. ace in the hole
  13. ace up his sleeve
  14. add insult to injury

Read the rest here.

It’s been a busy weekend – we hope to be sharing some more in the coming days on the Stanford talks, lectures, fêtes, and other occasions we’ve attended. Meanwhile gaze at the chart, study the list. Mark, learn, and inwardly digest. The Book Haven is watching.

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