by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine
"What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
"Baby, you're the greatest."
"Yabba Dabba Doo!"
Today the catch phrase remains as popular as ever. "The tribe has spoken," "You are the weakest link," and "Is that your final answer?" entered our modern lexicon through reality and game shows. Meanwhile, both sitcoms and dramas continue to feature main or secondary characters known for repeating pet expressions.
The characters we write can likewise benefit from this verbal quirk. We ourselves have a habit of saying certain phrases, so why not give your protagonist the same liberty? Some of literature's most beloved characters weren't slow to indulge in slogans. The potential of a good catch phrase to weave its way into our hearts is elementary, my dear Watson.
Like anything, catch phrases can be overdone to the point of irritation. But tastefully timed appearances are a welcome insider's wink to our readers as well as a reinforcement of a character's unique personality. Who knows? Maybe your hero will utter the next catch phrase that will catch on.