Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm eyeing you

My husband and I were doing a little bedtime reading last night. He’s not a big reader, so this was a joyful occasion for me. A free pass to read without the ‘when are you going to turn that damned light off’ vibe wafting at me. He’s been working his way through a book he borrowed from a coworker. I have no idea what she said to entice him to read it, but I need to find out so I can have more in bed reading time.

Mr. Not-a-big-reader lies next to me, flipping pages. I’m snickering over the current chapter of Grammar Sucks (which I can’t recommend enough.). He turns to me and says, “What the heck does this mean? She cut her eyes to the other people in the room.”

The first thing that came to mind was the MC plucking out her eyeballs, chopping them in mid-air hibachi chef style and aiming the pieces at everyone else in the room. Mmm. Caught one in my mouth! Tastes like shrimp.

Maybe she plucked out her eyeballs, shuffled and cut them and dealt them like cards? Hey, I’ve got a pair!

Visually, really, what the hell does that look like? How about, she glanced at the other people in the room? No sharp objects needed.

I laughed, shrugged and went back to reading. Two minutes later, I’m interrupted by, “Does this seem excessive to you?” He goes on to read a three sentence paragraph that included all of the following: I glanced around, looked at, looked back at me, I caught his eye (Good catch! I hate when people drop my eyes when I throw them. Or cut them. Eek!), shifted his gaze, and looked away.

Holy excessive eyeball usage, Batman! Back away from the eyes. No, really. Put them down and walk away. And don’t look back!

Just below that, there’s another paragraph. Four short sentences this time, including: I looked, He did look, I gazed, glanced at me, I quickly looked.

AH!!!!! Make it stop! Turns out every single movement is being over described in an attempt to add tension. The MCs are watching everyone in the room, people in the room are watching them but everyone is looking away and no one is meeting any one’s gaze (Hello, right eyeball. Nice to meet you.).

We all have crutches we fall back on when writing scenes. But please, for the love of your eyeballs, don’t put them on crutches… er… I mean, overuse them. They need a rest too. No one likes dry, tired eyes.


  1. Oh lordy. I can just see a cheesy film scene where it keeps switching to people's eyeballs, over and over again. :O

  2. Sadly, this is from a book that has now been made into a movie. At least the actors had plenty of direction to work with. :/


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