One of the big challenges for a writer is not falling into the trap of using clichés, defined by Dictionary.com as trite, stereotyped expressions that have lost originality, ingenuity and impact through over-use. Examples of clichés are often similes, for example cold as ice, black as coal and like a fish out of water.
The danger of using such phrases in your writing is that your readers have heard them already, indeed have probably heard them so many times that they no longer hold meaning. And that creates writing that lacks freshness.
So, the question for the writer is ‘is there another way to say the room was as cold as ice?’ but still get the message over? You could describe the frost on the windows, for example. Or, if you must use a simile (and the writer should always ask ‘would the sentence be any worse off if it wasn’t used?’), use one that the reader is unlikely to have heard before.
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