I've been glued to your blog these past few weeks (as well as a few others). I don't envy you, but appreciate your generosity.
Anyway, I've seen you mention "hackneyed phrases" and "howlers" that make you reach for the SASE. Another blogger compiled a list:
Can you tell your loyal readers (who are trying to be concise and use "vivid language") whether or not these words and phrases scream cliche! Stale writing! and warrants a "sorry, not for me."
-race against the clock
-web of deceit
-determined to unmask
-wants nothing more
-spins out of control
-torn apart by
-vows to expose
-world falls apart
-forced to confront
and: desires, mysterious, (the) truth, entire, suspicious, revelation, diabolical, conscience.
Yes, and no.
Yes when they are used in the usual way. For examples you need look no further than many of the HH Com posts.
No, if they are used in a way that brings a fresh or new perspective to the phrase.
"Miss Snark raced against the clock to save the world" is hackneyed. (Of course it's also ludicrous-Miss Snark would never try to race. She has been known to crawl toward gin in a speedy fashion, but racing is left to others.)
"Miss Snark raced against the clock, Hickory Dickory Tock, behind Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley and Sage, the Theramin Marching Band, in the First Gin of the Year 10K "--that's not quite the cliche it should be.
In other words, think about everything you write.
And howlers are phrases that have unintended meanings. Like "Miss Snark's attentions gave rise to Mr Clooney's hopes."