Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm All Ears (and Eyes and Shoulders)

Tip of the Day: Win a copy of ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr and THE ESPRESSOLOGIST by Kristina Springer in Tabitha Olson's cool contest here.

What is it with me, first drafts, and body parts? I'm hoping this is a common problem and you can all chime in and say, sure, Kate, we all do that, you're not totally insane. But all my first drafts sound like this to me while I'm writing them:

Their eyes locked. He tapped her hand. She hoisted the backpack on her shoulder and brushed her hair behind her ear. Their arms brushed against each other and she felt a shiver up her spine. He couldn't meet her eyes anymore and stared at his feet. Her back was against the wall. She banged her elbow. Pain shot up her forearm and she opened her mouth to yelp in surprise.

Alright, I'm exaggerating a tiny bit, but that's what it feels like. I mean, obviously I've got some dialogue and stuff sprinkled in there in real life. But man, my characters are extremely fidgety while they're talking.

Did you ever run Wordle ( over your manuscript to see which words you've used most often? I keep expecting to get back EYES in 38 point font. (Actually I usually end up with LOOK or some variation of it in 38 point font, which is close enough. You'd be surprised how many meanings I think that word has.)

So ... common problem? How does one edit out the body parts?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Shannon Messenger said...

Okay, that is so weird! On my blog I posted a wordle of my first chapter early this morning and "eyes" was big (but I was happy because eye color is pretty important in that chapter.) But I love wordles--I thought I was the only one! You learn so much from them!

In my draft, the biggest issue is usually "sighed." Apparently my characters have breathing issues, because they *sigh* like crazy. I'm working in it--but it's not easy. :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

I had never heard of wordles. Must try it!!! Thanks for the tip!

DeenaML said...

I couldn't believe how many instances of "back" I had in my last novel. Holy crap, it was like "stepped back, said back, looked back, sweaty back, backhanded, backwards, backyard, ACK!" But yes, I have the problem with looking, eyes, and SMILES!