This is my first time creating a topic in this forum. I’m usually just a forum lurker, but I had a situation today that bothered me a little bit, and I thought I’d ask if any of the other Fiverr writers have encountered this.
So, my gig is for writing memoirs, but what I end up doing, quite often, is Re-writing. Clients have tried to write their memoir, found it challenging, and then they send what they have over to me. I usually just do the rewrite and people are happy with it. I don’t offer beta reading or critique services, so I’m not usually in a back and forth, telling buyers why I made the changes that I did.
A few days ago I got a memoir order, and this guy’s story is SO inspiring! Obviously I can’t get into details, but I can see why this guy has people telling him to write a memoir. His story is amazing.
He sent me what he had and asked me to do a rewrite. I did what I always do. I fixed any confusing sentence structures, took out unnecessary information, and eliminated cliches.
Cliches are such a big problem in writing. They’re like the weeds of writing. I took several courses during my undergrad specifically focused on cliches. I’ll readily admit, they crop up in my own writing sometimes. It happens to everybody.
After sending this buyer his rewritten work, he wanted to know why I deleted one sentence. It had the phrase “bend or break” in it. That’s a figure of speech that is not original to him, therefore, it’s a cliche.
I explained that to him. Of course, I tried to be gentle. I know that people can be sensitive about their writing.
He still became upset, demanding to know how his words could be unoriginal when they were his actual thoughts.
I thought about explaining that many people think in terms of cliches, because they are exposed to them so often. Words and language are nothing but shorthand for thoughts and feelings. We often choose cliches because they are easily decoded by the listener. I think they’re fine in spoken English, but not written.
However, I didn’t explain all that. I just agreed to add the phrase back into the writing, and then I delivered his revision. I mean, he already seemed really irritated, and it is his story.
The whole thing left me kind of miffed. Why did he ask for my input if he didn’t want it?
Is this something that other writers encounter? How do you all deal with it?