Sunday, January 2, 2011

His eyes did what?

Dear Writer:

I'm pleading with you. You've got to stop allowing your character's eyes to do their own thing. It was amusing at first, but now it's practically an ocular revolution. Please, make it stop!

Eyes should not do the following: sweep, meet, fall, touch (other eyes or anything else), cut, drop or especially--land. Once you've said, "Her eyes landed on the pasta," you've literally launched her orbs from their sockets and plopped them, quivering and staring, onto the table. Bon appetit!


Or--His eyes followed her from the room. Think about this for a moment. Can you see them? puppies? Barking and scrambling for her attention, his eyes rolled around her feet...

Instead, I'd like to suggest you allow your characters to perform the actions and use variations of the following verbs: look, gaze, glance (at), stare, observe, consider, identify, study, watch, glance, glimpse, peer (at), note, notice, observe, scan, scrutinize, survey...the list goes on. Get a thesaurus and use it.

If I have to read one more sentence like this: His eyes lifted to her face and hers dropped to his lips, I'm warning you, dear author. My eyes are going to roll and sail directly to your face; they'll land on you with a persistent stare and they will follow you where-ever you go. Like...Rottweilers.

Thank you. Have a nice day.

Your Editor

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