First of all, I’m going to be super cool and point out the dictionary definition of the word cliché, because it is sometimes used incorrectly. So according to dictionary.com:
1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.
2. (in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.
I’ve seen a lot of people get up in arms (see how I just used a cliché phrase there?) about the word cliché being used to describe writing. But if someone’s telling you there’s a cliché element to your plot, your characters sound like all the others out there, or you use too many phrases like “blind as a bat”, then maybe, instead of getting angry, listen.
Mixing things up makes your descriptions more vivid, your characters more relatable, and you’re your plot more exciting. You just can’t do sparkly vegetarian vampires with eyes that change color depending on their hunger who fall for “plain” human girls. You can do vampires, but you have to do them your own way, or else alarm bells will go off in the heads of anyone you describe your plot to.
Whether anyone comments or not, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re staying away from clichés, where you can. (Obviously, they’re never 100% unavoidable. Sometimes a cheerleader really is mean. Sometimes “there’s no place like home” is the only way to say what you mean.) But instead of trying to convince yourself that “everything’s a cliché” or “nothing is a cliché” (my two least favorite attitudes—ever), convince yourself that you can be unique.
Because you can. You really can.