One writing cliché that has been appearing repeatedly in the manuscripts I’ve been editing lately is eye rolling. I did some research into eye rolling and learned some interesting things. First, 100 years ago eye rolling meant you wanted to have sex. Women and men Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece all rolled their eyes to show sexual desires. It wasn’t until the last few decades that eye rolling became associated with passive-aggressive behavior. Forrest Wickman wrote an informative article for Slate magazine that tells more about the history of eye rolling and its impact on communication.
Even though it is common for people to use their eyes to say things words cannot, there are better ways to show your character’s displeasure or impatience. Seriously, try rolling your eyes once or twice. Hurts, doesn’t it? Now imagine forcing your characters doing the same action every time they want to show annoyance, boredom, or contempt. They’re going to need a lot of painkillers for those migraines before the end of the chapter! Furthermore, a literal reading suggests that your character’s eyeballs are popping out of their sockets and rolling across the floor! Consider showing your character crossing their arms, tapping their feet, or have them say something sarcastic instead.
Progress on my YA urban fantasy novel continues. I recently joined Scribophile to post my chapters and get feedback from other readers and writers. So far, I’m happy with their services and would recommend it to other writers. Earlier this week I put up the first chapter of the novel and was happy get critical feedback from four different readers. Yay! Each reader pointed out different areas that need improvement and the challenge is to consider which advice to follow and which to ignore. It reminds me of the writing advice I heard a long time ago when it comes to receiving feedback from other readers: “Reader A will think one thing, Reader B will think another, and Reader C will think somebody farted.”
One thing I noticed was that many of my sentences sound alike and are repetitive. I’m glad someone caught onto this so that gives me a goal to work towards. I also need to focus on pacing and adding more sensory details to paint a stronger image for my reader.
In addition, I’m also starting an epic fantasy series that I hope will last at least three books or longer. I’m excited about starting this story because the characters and plot have been floating around in my head ever since high school. These ideas have evolved and changed over time, but the essence has remained the same. I’m happy to have finished a rough plot diagram for the first book and to have started writing the first chapter.
Looking forward to sharing more of my writing progress next month!