How do I avoid clichés in my writing?

~ Anonymous, Timmins ON

There’s a few ways to go about this. By making a list of common clichés, this will help determine if you have any hiding in your story. If it does, brainstorm some ways to add your own spin on the trope.

To avoid character clichés, it’s best to avoid stereotypes (such as the high school hunk, the “nerd” or the Plain Jane), and give them distinctive descriptions.

For world building and setting clichés, I recommend that the area be authentic and that everything has a purpose. If there are dragons in your fictional world, why is that? How have they survived human onslaught?