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Fresh New Clichés and an Ideal Dream Cast

I’m trying to cut back on the use of clichés in my writing. It’s harder than you might think, because it means that instead of using a familiar simile, metaphor or general turn of phrase, I keep having to invent entirely new ones that might not work or might just sound silly. “I don’t want to say cool as a cucumber. Maybe cool as a… rock in a stream? Rock in a streambed? Rock in a riverbed? Marbled floor?” Or as another example:

Having [spoiler] see you naked was only slightly worse than having the dog see you naked. He was harmless. [Spoiler], now… that opened up a whole new crate of creepy.

Too much alliteration? (And yes, it’s still a climate fiction novel. People can’t talk about the weather all the time, you know.) On a completely unrelated note, every new(ish) author dreams of seeing his or her books made into movies, although when you see some of the movie versions, you wonder why. Sometimes when I’m writing the Locksmith Trilogy, I sort of picture Uma Thurman in the role of Lee Smith. There aren’t a lot of stars who really look the way I picture the characters in Altered Seasons, but sometimes I like to fantasize about a perfect, ultimate, never-gonna-happen-but-wouldn’t-it-be-awesome dream cast. For the role of Isabel Bradshaw… Jennifer Lawrence. She doesn’t exactly look the part, but she’s got the beauty-without-frailty quality that Isabel possesses, plus the whole no-nonsense demeanor. She looks like if she volunteered to carry a man out of an ice crevasse on her shoulders, the audience wouldn’t laugh. A lot of actresses couldn’t pull that off. For the role of Sandra Symcox… Ellen Page. Again, she doesn’t quite fit the description, but she’s close enough — young and small, but with the gravitas of a much older woman. She can be vulnerable or terrifying as the role demands (if you don’t believe me, watch Hard Candy, if you dare) and I think she could convey a genius-level intelligence. For the role of Carolyn Camberg… Melissa McCarthy. Also not a perfect fit, but comic actors can surprise you — and Carrie does have a comic streak to her. Since her daughter Thel goes from 11 at the beginning of the novel to 18 at the end, I have no idea who should play her. For the role of Henry Pratt… Ed Harris. Again, not a perfect fit, but he’s in the right age range and can be both commanding and cultured. For the role of Walter Yuschak… Michael Chiklis. Finally, somebody who really does look the part. For the role of Jerome Ross… Evan Peters. I thought at first it should be Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, but he has too much built-in cool. This role needs to go to somebody who has to make an effort. For the role of Holbrooke Morgan… I’m kind of split between Tilda Swinton and Nicole Kidman. Although it would be awesome if Lady Gaga got the part. For the role of John Lyman Darling… maybe Costas Mandylor. I actually pictured him as looking like Aaron Eckhart, but that’s too big a star for this role. For the role of Robert Quillen… maybe Ian Bliss. I pictured him as looking kind of like Bane from the Matrix sequels, but older, with glasses and with less air of menace.

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