Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cliché: hardheaded

Meaning: hard to get through to or to effect change (example)

Rewrite 1: cement headed
Rewrite 2: steel haired
Rewrite 3: mind with the welcome mat turned upside down
Rewrite 4: brain with the access panel welded shut
Rewrite 5: opinions guarded better than the vault at Fort Knox

Comment: There is a sense of this idiom which is quite literal, but mostly it means stubborn; thus, the rewrites about close-mindedness. 

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Speaking of stubborn opinions
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cliché: hard to swallow

Meaning: hard to believe or accept (example)

Rewrite 1: hard to chew
Rewrite 2: difficult load to lift
Rewrite 3: cumbersome package to carry
Rewrite 4: hard to hoe
Rewrite 5: rocky bit of earth to dig

Comment: There are actually a lot of interesting ways to recast this idiom, depending on the situation. I'll bet you can find even more inventive ways to reword this bitter spoonful of medicine.

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If you've ever thought of writing about food
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Cliché: happy as a clam at full tide

Meaning: contented (example)

Rewrite 1: happy as a worm at the bottom of the compost pile
Rewrite 2: happy as moth with a fresh beam of light
Rewrite 3: happy as a cat with a full ball of yarn
Rewrite 4: happy as a dog at an archeological dig
Rewrite 5: happy as a cow greeted with a warm pair of hands

Comment: Unlike "happy as a lark" this isn't about unabated happiness, this is about satisfaction and contentment. So the rewrites or recasts should be about situations where the subject has either found himself/herself in an unusual situation or an ecstatic moment. I'd love to see what you come up with.

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Talking about nature...
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cliché: happy as a lark

Meaning: happy and full of life (example)

Rewrite 1: hamming it up like a hummingbird
Rewrite 2: frolicsome as a goldfinch
Rewrite 3: nutty as a nuthatch
Rewrite 4: carefree as a canary
Rewrite 5: boisterous as a bronco

Comment: Although this idiom is more about acting happy and carefree, it can also be about being free and noisy - thus, the final rewrite. You're only limited by the sense in which you need to express the metaphor.

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Getting creative about nature writing 
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cliché: happy camper

Meaning: an easily satisfied person or easily made comfortable (example)

Rewrite 1: elated outdoorsman
Rewrite 2: blissful backpacker
Rewrite 3: contented tent stalker
Rewrite 4: smiling sleepingbagger
Rewrite 5: smug smooresman

Comment: To recreate the flavor of this idiom I think you need to relate back to the essence of the camping experience. The more you can blend them into the language the closer you will come to capturing its spirit.

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The language of camping
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My internship for sporting goods dealer: More than just writing about camping equipment

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cliché: haste makes waste

Meaning: acting too quickly brings ruin (example)

Rewrite 1: urgency creates emergencies
Rewrite 2: speed up and screw up
Rewrite 3: quickly makes sickly
Rewrite 4: fast is surpassed
Rewrite 5: pressed for time means messed on design

Comment: This is one of those idioms that's popular partly because of its rhyme, so I tried to stay with that attitude while I was rewriting. See what you can come up with.

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Writing with rhyme and reason
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Friday, July 09, 2010

Cliché: half-baked idea, a

Meaning: an idea or concept not completely thought through (example

Rewrite 1: half-boiled idea
Rewrite 2: half-stirred suggestion
Rewrite 3: half-primed plan
Rewrite 4: half-dressed thought
Rewrite 5: half-knotted scheme
Rewrite 6: barely seared concept

Comment: Although many of these rewrites are cooking related I did try to vary the metaphor. They are all related to ideas, but I'm betting you can think of some other applications for applying this idiom.

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More words on food
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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Cliché: go belly up, to

Meaning: failure, bankruptcy, even death (example 1, example 2)

Rewrite 1: tank with the fishes
Rewrite 2: suffer a goldfish swirly
Rewrite 3: go all rigor mortise on us
Rewrite 4: time in the elephant burial grounds
Rewrite 5: headed for the hereafter

Comment: It's hard to write metaphorically about the death of something without sounding maudlin or even insensitive. I tried to cover various caricatures of death for more picturesque speech. 

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Writing about death
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