February 04, 2010

STOP: Don't do it. [Egregious Eyes]

Things Eyes CAN do:
Squint. Twitch. Shut. Open. Widen. Water. Narrow. Focus. Adjust. Blink. Glance.
Things Only Scary Bad Fiction Eyes Can Do:
Pop. Scythe. Raze. Flame. Flash. Freeze. Bug. Laser. Drill. Undress. Flicker. Glow. Dim.

(Feel free to add to either list in the comments!)

    -- from SB Sarah:

Seriously. Can we stop with the flicker of fear, the fleeting hint of desire, the flash of rage? COME ON. Couldn’t a hero have tension between his eyebrows, a wrinkle near his eyes that indicated rage that smooths out before she gets a good look? Something other than an emotion floating in his eyeballs that she gets a glimpse of?

Oh, see, I really have nothing to add to this. Nothing.

-- except to say: unless you have an x-ray machine and/or are a doctor of psychology and fairly certain about your patient, the human body can only tell the reader what anyone would be able to see from the outside. Unless you've got an ophthalmology license, there's just not too much you can read in someone's eyes. And if they're flashing? Just think POLTERGEIST. Or, very angry djinn. And run.

BONUS: Freebie short story by Sherwood Smith at Book View Cafe!

Awesome eyes courtesy of Webweaver Free Clipart. Thanks, guys!


david elzey said...

in my recent WIP i have a young boy who believes girls shoot goofball rays out of their eyes that makes boys act all loopy. does that count?

tanita davis said...

Only if their eyes flash whilst shooting the goofballs. Otherwise, that's just girls for you.

a. fortis said...

Oh man, I love those SBTBs. And that graphic. Oh, and goofball rays.

I think the only egregious one I'm pretty sure of using (well, in recent memory) is flashing. Otherwise...whew. Think I'm safe.

Kelly Fineman said...

Love the flashing eyes. I'm not so certain that eyes can't undress you - it's in so many Harlequin romances that . . . oh. I see. Point taken.

Charlotte said...

and, of course, the devouring eyes.

Not to mention the eyes that fly around the room and land on the mantlepiece.

tanita davis said...


adrienne said...

I am never going to be able to read about flashing eyes without seeing that picture, Tanita.