Characters love to—
* sigh *
and take deep breaths
when they’re not
catching their breath at the back of their throats
They like taking sidelong glances as they
look out the corner of their eyes,
and they’re fond of
through clenched teeth.
They’ll pinch the bridge of their noses
or roll their eyes in frustration
or furrow/cock their brows in confusion.
And their mouths drop open in shock.
In good moods, they’re wild about
chuckle or snicker or giggle
with smug grins.
In tender moments, they’ll
and do everything
softly and gently.
And they absolutely get off on
beginning to do some things
while starting to do others.
These are just some of the things I see characters loving to do all over the place when I edit manuscripts. (I catch ’em with the naked eye, but a tool like “Wordle” might also help authors divide and conquer those tendencies)
What penchants do YOUR characters have?
August 17th, 2011 at 13:35
Characters also love to widened their eyes. And a heart will race, pulse will quicken.
The one that irks me THE MOST is when they “release the breath they didn’t know they were holding.”
I see it often and facepalm every time. REALLY? You had no idea you ceased doing the very thing needed to KEEP YOU ALIVE?
August 17th, 2011 at 13:53
[Gasps! with widened eyes] Those are most obnoxious and priceless ones, Melissa! [sighs and rolls eyes] When will these writers learn… 😉
August 17th, 2011 at 19:13
I suppose I should have self-edited my post before hitting “Submit” – though “widened” made me laugh out loud. Lesson learned: Never changes tenses mid comment. Things get muddled & befuddled.
I think releasing the mysteriously held breath irritates me, while the rest fade to background fuzz. I know my own characters are guilty of all of the above – ACCEPT the whole breath thing.
Preference, right? That’s what makes us better than the animals.
And opposable thumbs.
August 17th, 2011 at 19:19
Oh gosh, Melissa, in reading my response to you over again, I hope you know that I wasn’t *gasping!* at “widened eyes” but with widened eyes—I don’t think I’d even noticed the tense issue. 🙂 OH, and the best was Connor calling me out on my last post in which I went on and on and on b*tching about how people aren’t diligent enough in their editing…and then proceeded to spell “hole” as “whole.” Doh! Talk about slapping the forehead. None of us are immune…
Anyways, I’m really glad you brought up the whole breath thing because now I’m thinking one of my characters may have committed that offense. Egad! I’ll have to do a search.
And, yes. Having opposable thumbs is what makes we monkeys better than other animals, too. 😉
August 17th, 2011 at 14:37
INCONCEIVABLE! My characters would never do such things.
Oh wait. Sometimes they mutter and grumble and growl. And sometimes they shake their heads to clear them. Ewww.
August 17th, 2011 at 19:29
Guilty as charged, Mr. Fowler! But I’ll hold off on cuffing you until I myself am innocent of such an offense—(in the spirit of overused character descriptions) I won’t hold my breath for when that time comes. 😉
August 17th, 2011 at 19:06
sighing an awful lot…but not too much of the others because I’ve learnt to watch out for this, but damn, still too much sighing going on. Mostly from my girl Agatha, who is just smitten with my boy, and she sighs a lot, I’m surprised she’s not swooning and fainting over him, but I have edited novel more than once. At first, she kept on going on about how pretty he was, his pretty long eyelashes, his pretty hair blah blah blah, poor girl, I don’t blame her, he IS pretty 😉
August 17th, 2011 at 19:25
Man, I can’t wait to meet this boy, Alannah. I want to swoon over him, too!
And it’s interesting how many of us do incorporate a lot of “sighing”…and descriptions of breathing in general…though I guess it is a very human quality as people respond to different factors. Our emotions are mirrored in our heart rate and breathing, so I guess there should be some leeway for those descriptions as long as the word choice is varied enough. I just had one of my authors rewrite a lot of her “took a deep breath” instances; not that she had to make that action not happen, just put it in other words. So your Agatha can still dote all she wants—there are plenty of synonyms for “pretty”. 🙂
August 18th, 2011 at 01:01
Ariel grabs the roots of her hair and tugs. She doesn’t do it as much as she used to though.
August 18th, 2011 at 13:46
That’s a cute tendency of Ariel’s! Does she do it when she’s stressed or thinking? It’s good to leave in a reasonable amount of repetition in cases of unique character traits like that; then it’s consistent through the book. I bet you’ve trimmed it down just right. 🙂