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 21 
 on: April 14, 2014, 01:35:45 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
Oh no. That didn't even occur to me. If those are supposed to be avoided, I'll have to go over everything again.  Cry  I do wonder if there's somewhere we could find a list of what is considered common and comfortable.

 22 
 on: April 14, 2014, 12:58:34 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by ColoradoKate
So... now I'm wondering about eyes sparkling or flashing or twinkling. They don't, literally, but those are visual figures of speech that are part of our common language.

And there's another topic for discussion: drawing the line between actual clichés, and expressions that are simply common and comfortable and therefore easily understood.

 23 
 on: April 14, 2014, 07:15:00 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
Thanks, everyone. I'm hoping moderation will work for me.

 24 
 on: April 14, 2014, 04:37:59 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by chippy
I love this site: http://editminion.com/
It helps you find adverbs, cliches, weak words, passive voice and more.

A great site.

 25 
 on: April 13, 2014, 10:37:36 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by ColoradoKate
Okay... yes... good! Moderation in all things. Grin  And I suppose, too, that there are plenty of opportunities for figurative language that don't involve body parts.

 26 
 on: April 13, 2014, 07:39:56 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
There are style PLENTY of books being published with lines like "Her eyes begged me to" or some variant on that. The problem really lies when it's part of a pattern of using clichés. If in your whole book, you have one reference to someone begging with their eyes -- it's not going to create a problem and most editors won't change it.

Really, humans experience so much through our eyes. It's the dominant sense for most of us so we really can over use visual stuff in general when we write. And then when all the references are to eyes acting independently...it just points up the overall use.

But don't panic and think you can never use something like "I tried not to look at his begging eyes" or "she froze, not speaking, but begging with her eyes." Of COURSE you can use something like that. It's not evil. But be sure it's the smoothest possible phrasing (any sentence with eyes doing something be sure you rewrite the sentence a good ten times to be sure you have the smoothest possible reference since many times the whole "eye" thing is also in clunky phrasing). And be certain it's incredibly rare in your book. A little eye goes a long way.

[Edited to add: You WILL find that some editors with smaller publishers and less overall experience in the industry will have "hair trigger" responses to a bunch of things. They'll insist you never use past perfect tense, for example, or you never have something like "she froze, not speaking, but begging with her eyes." It's because their inexperience leads to less nuanced editing. It results in a lot of "never do that" editing.  That can be an issue, and one where ultimately you have to decide whether it's worth sticking with the smoother, better writing or rewriting to meet a "absolutely never do *blank*" mentality. It's YOUR book. Never forget that. That doesn't mean you should try to keep a gazillion multipart verbs or a cartload of references to eyes acting independently of the rest of the body -- but when you KNOW the phrase you wrote is EXACTLY the phrase you meant, be prepared to explain yourself and then stick with your guns.

Honestly, there are a LOT of things in writing that we don't mean literally. Metaphorical uses of all kinds. And other figures of speech. We can pick apart Shakespeare if we insist only things that can be taken literally are okay. The lesson to embrace is that eyes as an independent agency is overused and may have been way overused in your work because it happens to lots of us. And the overuse has worn down a lot of agents and editors. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater (another cliché that shouldn't be taken seriously  Roll Eyes ) -- don't twitch every time you've written something that isn't sensible when taken literally. Symbolic writing. Metaphors. Figures of speech. These are good things. Don't let anyone make you afraid of them.]

 27 
 on: April 13, 2014, 01:01:15 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by rose31
THANKS FOR THE LINKS. I FOUND THEM REALLY HELPFUL. SORRY TO SAY THAT I DON'T KNOW ANY  Sad

 28 
 on: April 13, 2014, 12:16:55 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by ColoradoKate
In a way, I'm sorry these editors are so adamant. Sure, I'm not in favor of clichés, or of silly-sounding activities for eyes to be doing, but... but... eyes are so expressive. Take the expression "her eyes begged me to..." whatever. To stay, to spare the life of the bunny, to keep my mouth shut...

I wonder how the editors would have us rephrase that, since it implies so much about her not speaking and about desperation and all that. "She didn't speak, but I knew from the expression in her eyes that she wanted me to... " That just sounds clunky, to me. Unbearably clunky, and with extra filter words (knew, wanted) that are also better to avoid.

(Please understand I'm not arguing about this; I'm just curious and my brain has gone into a "what if" riff!)

 29 
 on: April 13, 2014, 10:30:28 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by Mikki S


In the example of "her eyes pleaded with me," or "her eyes captured mine," you are still using "eyes", a body part, as the subject of the sentence. My editors tell me that is not acceptable. Eyes don't do anything but see and shed tears. They don't "capture" someone, they don't "plead" or "beseech" someone. Why? Because eyes are not capable of speech, therefore they cannot plead.  Eyes  are not capable of commiting  an action, therefore they cannot capture something or someone.

It's all figurative speech, but I've found in today's publishing, editors just don't accept it. One editor wrote in her remarks, "It is like saying: "My hand took the knife and plunged it into his chest."  No...a "hand" does not operate like an individual, it is attached to the body of a human. Thus it is the human who takes the knife in his hand and plunges it into the chest of another human."  I had used some cliche about Ben's eyes doing something in The Freedom Thief, and she really got on my case about it.

In other words, no body part operates independently of the whole human body, so a particular part can't be the subject of a sentence.

However, it is obvious from some of the books published today, every editor has his or her own ideas about this particular subject. Romance books are full of these awful cliches, which is why I prefer not to read them, so there are probably editors for every genre, not just romance, who don't care if you use a body part as an independent actor. I would just be careful if you are going to use them, and not be surprised if an editor comes down on you because of it.

 30 
 on: April 13, 2014, 09:25:04 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jojocookie
You could also twist the cliche'.

Perhaps give a juicier word instead. Her eyes captured mine.

Just a miniscule thought from someone who doesn't know a whole lot.

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