Cliche Things in Books That Almost Never Happen in Real Life

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Hello everyone! Welcome to another bookish talk ♥

I’ve been so busy binge watching some tv shows these couple of days that I haven’t really had the time to focus on my blog. I’ve been putting off replying comments and blog hopping and even writing posts! I have some ideas that I think would be great for the blog but I was too distracted to properly write the post. This post is one that I wrote probably two hours before I hit publish which is very unlike me because I usually write my post ahead of time, especially discussion post 😛

Since everyone here is a huge reader, I’m sure we frequently encounter cliche things that happen a lot in books but almost never happen in real life. Which is kind of weird because how does author come up with those stuffs if they’re not even real? Anyway, let’s get started! ♦

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People describing their facial features in detail while looking at the mirror

Do people really do this? I mean, I do look at the mirror a lot and think of how I look. Check for zits or red spots and yes sometimes I admire my nose because it’s honestly the best part of my face?hahaha 😛 but I don’t describe my eyelashes or the corner of my mouth or how my eyes gleam with emotions. That’s sort of too specific? Check this.

“The guy in the mirror isn’t bad looking–high cheekbones, strong jaw, a mouth that’s hitched up at one corner like he just gone done telling a joke. Somewhere in the neighborhood of pretty. The way he tilts his head back and gazes out through half-open eyelids makes it seem like he’s used to looking down on everyone, like he’s smart and knows he’s smart.”

Do you guys do this? For real?? It’s a quote from Holding Up the Universe. What’s weird is that it happens a lot in books, like it’s the only way to describe some characters’ looks. It also happens a lot at the beginning of a book. I’m sure there are some less narcissistic ways to do it out there 😛

Characters with exotic, weird, and highly unusual eye colors

Characters in books seem to always, always have some exotic eye colors! Their eyes are always unusual, captivating, and very one-of-a-kind. Green eyes seem to be the most common since Harry Potter, but there’s also some people whose eye colors can change into other equally unusual colors when hit by sunlight. I’m pretty sure I once read a book in which the character has purple eyes?? It’s contacts wight? It must be contacts.

I mean, I wouldn’t know for sure because I’m Indonesian and we here have black irises, or dark brown, but I’m pretty sure brown is the most common eye color of all the human population. I have evidence one and two to back up my claim here 😛

Voices that sound like fire and chocolate

I’m sure you’re pretty familiar with sentences like ‘his voice sounds like smoke and fire‘ and ‘his voice reminded me of chocolate’Some characters’ ability to describe voices in foods and random nouns is truly beyond me. I never do that, neither do people around me. If people do this, I will definitely laugh, so we usually just describe voices with these adjectives 😛

  • Deep
  • High & low
  • Raspy, hoarse, husky
  • Light
  • Friendly, cold, cheerful
  • Basically anything other than food and fire

People who always smell good despite the lack of showering  

Another cliche that I don’t understand is how people always seem to smell SO GOOD even when they’re stranded at a forest for weeks. It doesn’t even make sense! I mean, people who hide in the forest and run for their lives don’t have the chance to shower. And they run a lot, so how come they don’t smell like sweat and dirt? Check this.

“His smell reminded me of the wind–rain and salt and something citrus-y I couldn’t name.”

or this

“His smell–rain and spice, washes over me, and I take a steadying breath.”

Even if these people smell like sweat, their sweat still smell… divine. Ugh! I still remember how class smelled after PE. It was a nightmare 😦 and lack of shower aside, it’s still difficult for me to describe someone’s scent specifically. I can’t even identify a perfume scent perfectly. Can’t we just say it smells nice or bad?

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The only good (or probably bad) thing from this scent business is that some people are creative enough to turn it into bookish candles business 😛

The ability to read people’s mind through their eyes

Obviously eyes are the windows to the soul, but how do people in books get so good at reading people’s mind and emotion through their eyes??? I mean, yes, I could tell if people are happy or angry from their eyes, but that’s that. I could only tell the basic, not the elaborate reasons why they feel what they feel. I’d love to provide a specific quote as an example but I forget which book did this and too lazy to check randomly 😛 Also, why do their eyes always darken? I don’t even know how darkening eyes look like (!!!) :’)

Seriously, how did authors come up with these stuffs?

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Are my eyes dark enough?

“I let go of the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.”

Ok to be fair, this thing does happen in real life. Pretty often, if I have to be honest. I just want to put it on the list because it’s still a cliche, considering how often this exact sentence appears in books. Surely you’re familiar with this sentence too? 😛

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Those are 6 cliches I could think of at the moment ♦ LET’S TALK! Are you familiar with all of these cliches? Do you do these stuffs in real life? Examine your facial features thoroughly? Compare a voice with foods? Describe someone’s natural scent specifically? 😛 And please remind me of another bookish cliche I might have missed! ♥

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46 thoughts on “Cliche Things in Books That Almost Never Happen in Real Life

  1. I have definitely seen all of these cliches used in books, and you’re right, they really aren’t at all realistic! I definitely don’t ever describe myself to myself in the mirror, and I certainly never think of anyone’s voice sounding like chocolate! I’ve never got the smell thing either. Spices seems to be a common one they use with that, maybe to make the person seem exotic or mysterious, but I’m pretty sure most people’s natural smell is just a ‘people’ smell, even if everyone is slightly different. And they certainly wouldn’t be smelling of spices and flowers or anything edible if they’re on some quest in the wilderness with no shower! 🙂
    Great post! 🙂

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  2. OMG YES SOME OF THESE ANNOY ME NO END!! I haaaate mirror descriptions. Although I forgive the one in Holding Up the Universe, because it was making a point that about how Jack couldn’t remember himself even though he could describe his features in a mirror…but like, once he looked away, he wouldn’t remember. So I think it worked there to highly the disability? But otherwise it’s just tedious. Blehh. And oMG THE EYE THING. Everyone’s eyes are beautiful and they always get described. Like I read a book that I really really really loved….but I couldn’t get over how in the middle of a FREAKING BATTLE they’d be describing someone’s eyes!! Or at one point, he said she “smelled like defiance”. I mean, what does that even mean?!? I think sometimes writers do get to romantic with metaphors and words and just….they forget what reality we live in.😂😂
    The smell thing too?! Like no one smells good after walking and running and fighting. Noooooo one.😂

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    • Hmmm yeah to be fair Holding Up the Universe did need this kind of mirror-description, but still it is a very common thing in books hahaha I KNOOOOOWWWW like what’s with the eyes?? I don’t pay attention to people’s eyes that much hahaha OMG WHAT DOES DEFIANCE SMELL LIKE?!! 😛 indeed they get carried away hahaha =))

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  3. Lol these are all so true!! Writers seem obsessed with eyes for some reason because nearly every book I read has some description of them. It’s strange, because in real life I feel like I hardly notice most people’s eyes!

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  4. Omg yes! I get so tired of seeing these, like please think of something else. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who occasionally does hold their breath on accident tho. It happens to me all the time, but maybe that’s just asthma?

    The scents are ridiculous. I used to be in marching band and after a game or practice our room smelled like hot and musky and everyone needed a shower. And as soon as an athlete walks into a room, you can tell they’ve been working out but please go rinse off your sweat right now. I can’t imagine anyone thinking those scents are pleasant or smelling anything other than arm pits.

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  5. LOL @ the voice and the smell. I was JUST thinking about this with a book I’m reading. The guy had been chopping wood all day and the girl was like, “OHHHH you smell so good!” And I was thinking, really??? I bet he smells terrible! And yes – the voice – always something crackle-y or smooth. And never have I really thought about anyone’s voice like that in real life. Hilarious post!

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  6. BAHAHA this post is so honest!!
    Okay, the thing about eyes in books is that they attract ALL THE CLICHES. Not only are the brown only 1% of the time, I always read “his eyes were the only things that changed.” Hmm? Okay? How did his eyes change exactly? How can eyes portray so much? Please elaborate?
    Too be honest, though, I do love a writer that takes some creative liberty. I actually kinda like voices described as chocolate lol!! I know it’s weirdly unrealistic, but hey, it’s kinda fun☺️
    This was a peachy keen post!!

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    • IT IS hahaha I just rant away what I had in mind :’) EXACTLY MY THOUGHTS! Like… how could you tell if his eyes changed?!? Where do people learn to read eyes? I need to sign up fast hahaha well… it is kind of fun, but if you do it in real life I will definitely gonna tease you hahaha 😛 thank you! ❤

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  7. HAHAHAHAHA! I can’t with this list because of how accurate it is!
    I never got the smell thing nor the description in front of the mirror!! Like HOW? I don’t even know what shape my eyes are or my mouth and jaw for that matter!
    The eyes changing colors is a real thing though, I had a friend whose eyes were hazel and the got green in sunlight.
    Fantastic post ❤

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    • The smell thing is so beyond me!! People don’t smell THAT good and how do people even get the ability to describe natural scents?!?! Hahaha YEEESSSS and let’s not forget they describe the facial features IN METAPHOR :’) who does that?Hahaha

      Ahhh well then… but I think it’s not as common as books say?hahaha and your friend’s eyes must be beautiful! Thank you Fadwa ❤

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  8. Oh my gosh, I hadn’t even realized how prominent these tropes were until you listed them! I feel as though authors rely upon the self-describing/mirror trope waaay too often to describe the physical features of a character; they really should come up with a less obvious way to introduce characters.
    As for the eyes one, you never read about plain, brown eyes. They’re always amber or coffee or some other bizarre, exotic color I would never use in real life to describe someone’s eyes. I also like how green eyes seem to be popular in books, even though only 2% of the world’s population actually have green eyes.
    I also wish I had the ability to smell like rain, salt, and citrus after being stranded in a forest for weeks, or read people’s minds through their eyes. The last one, also, is very, very accurate – I’ve read that exact line, verbatim, in many books.
    Brilliant post, Puput!❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly!! It’s getting too old and I’m like please think of something else?hahaha :’) OH YESSSS! Even if it IS brown, they always find a metaphorical way to describe it!! Like, why don’t just say brown? Lol me too! It’s weird how people always smell so good! Thank you! ❤

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  9. “Basically anything other than food or fire” X-D
    I agree with all of these but ESPECIALLY the mirror thing. I’ve got this book, ‘How Not to Write a Novel’ and one of the first things it says is not to describe your character by having them look in a mirror because no one does that in real life unless they’re going to criticise their appearance. Ooh, and “I let go of a breath I didn’t know I was holding…” I’ve read that SOOOO many times. Awful!

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  10. I love this post ahaha! I recently talked about the scent one myself in one of my posts, it’s just one of those things that truly confuses me. And you’re so right about the eye colour thing. Most people have brown eyes. And yet no matter what colour a character’s eyes are, they have to be particularly striking in some way. Personally, mine are that dark they can only be described as grey, but while that might sound interesting it’s really not? Like there’s nothing special about them, so I don’t get how every character has really striking eyes?

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    • Thank you! 😀 yeeesss I saw it hahaha noooo they’re not brown, they’re chocolate or coffee or amber. It has to be poetic hahah but yes everybody has striking eyes which is weird because I personally never even notice people’s eyes unless it’s different from most people?? :’)

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  11. Another fantastic discussion post! I have to admit I cracked up so much because everything you pointed out is so true 😂😂😂. Especially the way voices are described and then the scents. I always wonder about the whole scent thing myself. Though you’re right that it makes for great bookish candles *stares at her growing collection* but it’s one of those things where in real life the person would actually stink so bad from having not showered LOL. And yes about the breath thing! I can’t even count on one hand how many books that use that line. Also, the whole describing by using a mirror always bugs me. I love it when authors find a unique way to throw in the character’s description rather than using a mirror. 🙈

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  12. The mirror one makes me roll my eyes so hard especially when it’s accompanied by this beautiful character saying they’re “average” or “unusual” haha. The “letting go of a breath” one happens way too often haha. And yessss at the showering one! I feel like that’s even worse in movies/tv shows when the actors all look PERFECT despite like being stranded on an island for 5 months or something hahaha.

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    • I know right!! I mean, look at that description I quoted, who even describe themselves like that??hahaha 🙈🙈 ugh I knoooooow it’s just so weird, and actors & actresses always have nice, beautiful hair that is not greasy at all! I even feel gross whenever I come home from a 3-days camping trip >.<

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  13. Arghhhh ALL OF THESE THINGS!!! Soo unrealistic.

    The eyes thing always annoys me because I have brown eyes as well, and where are all the brown eyed fictitious characters yo?! Or instead of brown, they’re ‘honey’ or ‘chocolate’ coloured eyes. So weird.

    Bahaha the mirror thing cracked me up. You’re SO RIGHT! No one who is a decent person would be so vain as to stare at themselves in the mirror and describe themselves that way to THEM SELF! In fact a lot of people think they’re only average looking etc.

    I also don’t think love triangles are realistic… I mean, I swear a lot of books have them, but have you ever been apart of or know someone that has been a part of a love triangle? I haven’t! It’s so rare. I mean honestly, most of the time it’s hard to find someone who likes you back, let alone two people that like you at the SAME TIME…

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

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    • I knooooow right!? Hahaha hmm they probably think why use colors when you could use foods and metaphor? 😛 EXACTLY! No one in the history of ever ever described how they look so thoroughly!! OOOOHHH I actually have been in a love triangle but TRUST ME, it was not as exciting as it seems! It was one of the most awkward and uncomfortable year of my life 😦 but yes… now it’s hard enough to find someone who likes you back… this is sad hahaha there’s also this trope where ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE from jerks to nerds like the same girl!

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  14. Pingback: Fun Bookish Twitter Accounts to Spice Up Your Timeline: The #YACliches Edition | Sparkling Letters

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