Dear Writer


I have not done a totally random post in a while, so I have decided to sit before my laptop and write this because it has been piling up in my head for some time now. And after a little research, I think it’s time to unload the crappy things you and I have written. Yes, I include myself because I have written crap and might still be found writing crap (may never admit it though).

Today, I will not just be dishing out the dirt, I’ll be listing clichés and every other BS that we often have used.

In no particular order, I begin:

  1. 1.       Tall. Dark. Handsome

Punctuated for serious emphasis. He can’t be anything less. *clears throat* For real? Can’t he be short, fair and ugly? Or fat and oily? Or tall and stupid? Or even the lovechild of Whoopi and Segun Arinze? Why must he be tall, dark and handsome? And ehm, Nigerians, we are already dark here. I mean, with the likes of Wande Coal, what type of darkness are we looking for again na? Somebody please explain to me.

  1. 2.       Making love all through the night

For what? Okay, has anyone counted how many hours are contained in ‘all through the night’? For the sake of practicality, let’s erase the time gap between 8pm to 11pm when normalings sleep. Sexlings usually do the bad thing between 12am to 6am (and sleep in the wee hours of the morning). As you have noticed, the time frame is six freaking hours! Six hours of sex! Who does that? I am yet to even hear of a sex scene in a porn movie lasting for two hours.

  1. 3.       Character forming amnesia

Story builds up and by now you have fallen in love with the character but something happens, either an accident or attempted murder and the character goes into a coma and wakes up with amnesia. Most times, this character has a love interest and now has forgotten about them only to fall in love with them again in the end. Or the character could have some very serious truth he/she was about to share when the unfortunate event occurs and now amnesia has wiped it all away. *sigh* Can’t the character just die from the amnesia?

  1. 4.       Evil twin

This one is classic. I remember Ramsey Nouah’s Dangerous Twins that was a hit at some point. What was that all about? One good, one bad? Can’t they both be bad like P-Square and have kids all over? Can’t they both do mischief with their twinness like real twins do? Why must one be bad?

  1. 5.       Unnecessary sex

Okay, pause. This is becoming a disturbing trend especially amongst Nigerian writers. It’s like we have just discovered sex and in a very raunchy way. Methinks some of these writers are just writing out their fantasies. And what is more appalling is that it all sounds alike. As if it is the same sex scene witnessed and told by different people. Come on, erotica should be an art, not a bad taste in the mouth; and like every part of a good story, it should have meaning and be part of the entire plot in the long run. Don’t just give people reason to wank while reading your work.

  1. 6.       Something-inches long penis

Still on the sex issue. What’s up with accurately getting the measurement of a male character’s erect penis? Who measures these things? It is funnier if the story is told in the first person narrative and she is female. Is she really measuring the length with her invisible ruler? Na wa o.

  1. 7.       Love triangles

This one has been over-flogged. Two people are in a relationship but there’s that one person outside that one of the two is supposed to be loving. And I’m thinking, isn’t life not more complicate than that? Why end in a triangle? Make it a long chain. The triangle thing is really annoying… Oh, shoot! I think I’m very guilty of this. Moving on quickly to the next.

  1. 8.       What did you want to talk about?

Okay, as much as this happens in real life (even with me so many times), it has been overused in movies and I hate to see it written. For instance, Bola walks to Cynthia and goes, “I have something to tell you.” And Cynthia says, “what is it?” But Ali walks in and reveals new info and leaves. So Cynthia turns to Bola and asks again, “what were you trying to tell me?” But Bola replies, “Oh, it’s nothing serious. Forget it.” Arrrrghh!

  1. 9.       Film tins

I know Lord of the Rings might have been the best movie you watched but it doesn’t mean you should do your own version in words. Leave the TV fantasy for TV fantasy. If you know nothing about sci-fi, why try writing it just because you were inspired by George Lucas? Let’s not forget that we have our own UFOs here in Nigeria. Inspire yourself by coming out around two in the night and watch them move through time and space. That story will sell more than the movies.

  1. 10.   Throwing up

So your character has a bun in the oven and the only way she goes about it is by throwing up? Back in the day, they fainted. Maybe in the future, they’ll just die.

Typical scene: The patient tells the doctor, “Doctor, I’m here for a pregnancy test. I think I’m pregnant.” Doctor asks, “how do you know?” Patient smiles. “I died yesterday morning and this morning too. In short I have been dying for the past one week.”

Who doesn’t love those cool female characters that go to their men and say, “Bros, I’m pregnant. And I am keeping it. You better start arranging space in your house for two more.” For real though, this is what happens in life.

  1. 11.   Well-shaped, fully-endowed woman

Just like her male counterpart who is tall, dark and handsome, this one has it all going for her too. Oh, and she can cook, is financially independent and can rock a man’s bed like a boat on a stormy sea. This is of course, every Nigerian man’s dream woman but in reality how many Nigerian women have all of this in their CV? Let us not lie. Where are the well-shaped women? I see more fufu-pregnant girls than I see real life preggies. The flat-stomach chicks are extinct! Thinking of it now, I think writers are keeping the memory of them alive. But let me not talk too much. I’m also guilty here.

  1. 12.   More cliché characters

Wicked mother-in-law, abusive husband, witch housemaid, starving artist, runs girl, barren woman, molesting stepfather or uncle, cheating boyfriend, loaded hot dude (probably tall, dark and handsome too), struggling single mother, aunty who always discovers hidden pregnancy, wicked stepmother, and finally, this last one just cracks me up – madman who somehow tells the truth to some wayward person through a slap or some prophetic, madman gibberish.

Coming to the end of this, I’m discovering that there is more to talk about on this issue. So I think I’ll do a comeback with Part 2 sometime when the wind blows me to try again. The point of this exercise is to tell writers out there that there are stories yet untold. Life itself is cliché but we can always have that twist in our stories. Like I said above, we all fall into the trap. And I think I might have omitted one or two points because I found myself guilty of them. *covering face*

But there’s no excuse for me writing crap and I hereby promise to think deeper and bring out something new and original.

How about you?

Was the above question cliché? *tongue out

Please, use the comment box to share classic cliché pieces you have used and have found other writers often using.


©Sally @moskedapages

READ: Dear Writer: How To Create Unforgettable Characters For Your Story

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    • Nothing is written now that hasn’t been written before. Originality is when it is written differently

  1. Hmmmm, this was funny and it also achieved the aim. It made me think.I am guilty of this too,guess it’s good to have these reminders once in a while. May God help us in our quest to get better and better.

  2. Can’t stop laffing… I love this, especially the fact that it is coming from a writer.

    The truth with a pinch of salt…

  3. I had fun reading this…and above all I think I av reated pretty well,as I am guilty of just number 6….and yea d abusive husband fin.

    But personali I believe d originality is in d telling, u can have d same scenarios, but a good writer captures u wif d telling n den nufin else matters.

    Nice write tho’.

  4. I had fun reading this…and above all I think I av rated pretty well,as I am guilty of just number 6….and yea d abusive husband fin.

    But personali I believe d originality is in d telling, u can have d same scenarios, but a good writer captures u wif d telling n den nufin else matters.

    Nice write tho’.

    • You made a solid point. Originality always tells the same story differently

  5. lmao… Mea culpa! Especially with number 9, film tins. But then what fun is there in life without a little cheesiness or corny creations? What then is writing without our exaggerated fantasies? Reality is boring thats why we do what we do, we write reality fantastically.

  6. Badt guy cliche!
    He is a no gooder, has the airs of the devil, a mystic personality but somehow has all the girls wet in between their thighs with a stare the corny path is that with all these terrible xteristics he manages to be suave. How na?

    • I love bad guys, like Leonel. They are so cool and the ladies love them too

  7. forgive me for my plenty comments o. Just remembered another.
    Mai guard
    A whimssical character, usually a hausa guy that can’t diffrentiate between his P’s and F’s. Almost always goes by the name Musa or Ahmadu. Loyal to Oga, him and madam are always on crossroads, he always ends up cussing at madam under his breath… Calabar and ibo people no dey do mai guard?

  8. Uncmn 'T'

    D craziest is d belief of Heros/Heroines always stay alive @ all cost (more like d Actor no dey die 4 film ish…..)! U see particular peepz in a movie & u alrdy can tell who will stay alive & who will die! L??O????????(=)))????O????L??

    • They never die oh. They live forever like batman and his colleagues

  9. Oh Sal…you just couldn’t leave it alone could you? That scatter brain goes storming and you drag us all through the mud! Ain’t it cool how we can laugh at ourselves and still go back to the same crime?
    Bottom line…you are right on the money, but a creative writer will commit all these crimes but manages to have you so twisted in the tale that you are too hooked on the next scene to even notice.
    Writers get lazy sometimes, gawd knows I do and shit hits the roof,hehehe.
    On the subject of sex and romance, it’s an acquired skill, I don’t believe its for everyone and like a days old soup, its robust at first but after another day, it begins to border on sour.
    BTW, you are one weird chick….how the hell do you think up these things? 🙂 I love the critique, I promise to shape up….writers honor!

    • Me and my scatterbrain. There’s no redemption for me on that. Thanks, Dotta
      Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

  10. Good one my Sister. We all are guilty as charged.
    Lesson learnt, will keep the mistakes in view so as not to fall in the trap again.

  11. You are wicked joooooooooooor! Lemme sha go and read again to pick my subs as appropriate….

  12. Sincerely, this is spot on, and to think many of us don’t even see the points as important. Good one sis

  13. Dammit! You got me there! I’m guilty of the tall, dark and handsome. Lol!!! But yeah, you’re right, especially about the unnecessary sex part, that’s becoming a serious problem! You can’t imagine that someone once told me he didn’t like my work because it wasn’t steamy enough. I told him the price of porn DVDs has come down. Anyway, thanx for the reminders, we needed them!

  14. Ifeanyi Onochie

    Sally, you’ve captured quite a number of the prevalent cliches. I daresay you’re culpable of 1, 7, 10, 11 and 12. You know, right? Unlike other storytellers, though, this isn’t from a lack of what to say but because the cliches you use fit just right in. ‘2’ is totally annoying – not only does it rarely happen in reality, I also think it never has a place in a story unless it’s porn. ‘5’ is the core of many write-ups and blogs these days because there’s a large fan-base among teens and university students; it’s disheartening because anyone with access to the internet and a little vocabulary can churn out seedy porn.

  15. Ifeanyi, you don catch me oh. And about the seedy porn. You just said my mind. I really don’t know why they call themselves writers

  16. I Love this. The constant happy ending stories in writing is getting over-boring. I watched a TV series and at the end the 3 sisters who have had tonnes of problems with guys got married on the same altar as though Life is so simple like that. Why can’t one past away or one adopt a child, why should the 3 sisters marry on the same day? I always try to bring a story that has never been heard of.

  17. I really like this. It’s interesting

  18. This was one of the best things l have read this month! Girl! You Rock!

  19. I agree totally! Like the saying goes; “there is nothing new under the sun” but its how it is told that matters, so writers we hv to be more imaginative and creative. Classic notices tho
    1.1. Hmmm! that lovechild btw those two will be epic tho. Lolz
    1.5. Lmao!
    1.6. But really I thot women knew this thing naturally. 😉
    1.9. Hahaha. Nice suggestion 2get inspired sally.
    11. Gulity as charged. I no go mind all that sha! 😀

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  21. Lol! There’s one dt always gets me. U know,when d phone rings,n d guy or girl picks it,listens for sometime n then says,’what?!’. Even whites r guilty of dis in their movies. Nice one,Sal

  22. Lmfaooooooooooo! Jeez I’m so sharing this post everywhere. Hahahahahahahahahaha! You skipped the last minute forgiveness and confessions and make ups before the former villain turned christian dies on his/her sick bed. Basically in nollywood buh I’ve read them a few times too. Like seriously, why is death always so kind and patient with characters than in real life when real people and loved ones die? Then about the pregnancy rule, Lmfaoooo again! I know people who didn’t feel jack till 5 months! They all had smooth delivery. Writers could take the cue n use them sometime too.

  23. Hehehe. Am cracked up. there’s this one about a struggling village boy that walks along the road and a man driving a big car sees him and gives him shelter and support. in 1 year, he returns with a car and a wife to show his parents. *bullshit* meanwhile, Moskeda, I will be like u when I grow up.

  24. Mc Matiki

    Dear Aunty Sally. We need more of such lectures biko.

  25. I’m not a writer, but I think I see truth in what has been said here today. Kudos to all writers out there, you guys are really amazing. It’s not easy…giving life with words. Thanks guys and thank you Sally.

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