It’s All In The Eyes – What NOT To Do With A Character’s Eyes If You Don’t Want Your Readers To Piss Themselves Laughing

 

As a reader, I’m going to give you some examples of what NOT to do with your character’s eyes because I’M SICK OF SEEING THIS SORT OF SHITE – if I’m reading a book, or a short story, or a fictional blog post, and you’ve drawn me into the story and I like your characters and I’m reading on because I want to know what happens next, I DON’T WANT TO END UP LAUGHING AT YOU BECAUSE YOU DID SOMETHING STUPID WITH YOUR CHARACTER’S EYES. And that’s what I DO, I laugh at you – then I get MAD and I throw your book/story at the bin after I’ve jumped on it a few times, or I shut down the window that has your blog in it WITH A VERY HARD CLICK OF THE BUTTON. And why do I do that?  BECAUSE YOU’VE TURNED YOUR STORY INTO BOLLOCKS WITH YOUR BAD WRITING. And then I go away and I NEVER read anything of yours EVER, EVER AGAIN.

 

So what do I mean by “what NOT to do with your character’s eyes”?

THIS is what I mean –

“… she rolled her eyes at him.” — We all know this one, it’s a standing joke. You should NEVER roll your character’s eyes because the immediate response of the reader is to laugh and think ‘HE ROLLED THEM BACK.’  — AND THE READER STOPS READING BECAUSE THEY THINK THE REST OF YOUR STORY WILL BE A LOAD OF WANK EVEN IF THEY’VE ENJOYED IT UP TO THAT POINT.

 

More examples (with the additional info of what the reader thinks) –

 

“She fell into his deep blue eyes” — never to be seen again, even after the MISSING posters went up around town and the police got 3 phone calls on the first day.

“Her eyes fell to the mess on the floor” — never to be seen again because without her eyes she couldn’t see to clean up.  

“Her eyes danced around the room” — The Waltz? The Lambada? The Funky Chicken?

“His eyes burned into her” — FIRE! FIRE! HELP!

“Her eyes widened” — Get yourself to Casualty, pet, that sounds serious.

“She ran her eyes across his chest” — Brrmm, brrmm.

“Her eyes were deep pools of fresh, clear water” — Do you need a fishing licence? I’ve heard tales of a MASSIVE KILLER PIKE in there.

“Her eyes pierced into him” — her miraculous stabby eyes.

“Her eyes darted round the room.” — Come here, you little fuckers!!

“He pinned her to the bed with his eyes” — He’d have been better off using a Black & Decker Nail Gun, £39.99 at B&Q

“Her eyes landed on his face” — Aaarrggh, get them off, get them off!!!

“He felt her eyes on his back” — I told you, get them off me! Stop it, you sick bitch!!

“She cast her eyes to the floor” — Ooops, you’ve lost them now – they’ve rolled under the fridge. 

 

And there are LOADS more but I can’t be bothered thinking of them right now. 

 

 

Oh, and another couple of things that make me SEETHE AND WANT TO BATTER YOU TO DEATH WITH YOUR BOOK even though they have nothing to do with eyes –

 

“She subsided onto the floor/chair/bed” – It might be TECHNICALLY CORRECT regarding definition of the word ‘subside’ but it sounds FUCKING STUPID. Don’t do it.

 

AND

 

“He fell onto the plate of chicken and ate it all within seconds.” — written when a character is overly hungry and someone presents him with a plate of chicken. NO HE DIDN’T FALL ONTO THE PLATE OF CHICKEN or the second part of the sentence would read something like “…and ended up with four stitches on his chin and a wing jammed up his left nostril.”

 

 

Eliminate all the SHITE from your work. It’s not creative, it’s not a clever use of language, it’s SHITE. Plain and simple SHITE.

STOP IT.

 

 

Leave a comment

73 Comments

  1. Dear Dotty,
    My top favorite: the nailgun bit. I spit out my coffee, no lie.
    I promise not to roll my eyes anymore. I will stick to blinking. :)
    Love, Lis
    xoxooxox

    Reply
  2. Thanks for is tidbit of information, I can see clearly now like you removed blinders from my eyes!

    Reply
  3. Dear Dotty,
    Hilarious!
    Grumpy x

    Reply
  4. Dorothy

     /  August 4, 2012

    Dear Dotty,
    I love how I know the book that all of these come from :-)
    Let me fall into my plate of potatoes now!
    Love Dorothy

    Reply
  5. Good morning, Dotty,

    These are all great reminders — I’m going to print this page, so I can cast my eyes on it, or wrap my brain around it, or pound it into my head. 8-)

    Love,

    Judith

    Reply
    • Dear Judith,

      They bring up great images in my head – I just said to Dorothy I wish I’d taken note of all the books I’d seen them in over the years but I think I’ll start now. :-)

      Love Dotty xxx

      Reply
  6. Dear Dotty,
    Oh dear, I know exactly what you mean. Something like;
    ‘His eyes wandered across the room and landed on the buffet’ Pickled onion anyone?.
    Your posts are so funny I cried my eyes out….”£$$%%^&^&&*&*+__^&$$””!¬^%$££”!!!+__)((*&%$£”!”!!****(&&%^&$$%”!”£$%^&*()_(*&^%$£”!”£$%^&*()_++_)(*&^%$£”!QWERTYUIOKGTF
    OOPs, that’s better I managed to get Steve to put them back in for me.
    From Chris
    x

    Reply
    • Dear Christine,

      Wandered! Cried! Yes! I need a little book of verbs to go through. :-)

      Love Dotty xxx

      Reply
      • Dear Dotty,
        Why?
        From Christine xxx

      • Dear Christine,

        To find all the verbs they make the eyes do. You came up with two I hadn’t thought of. :-)

        Love Dotty xxx

      • Dear Dotty,
        That’s OK then. Verbs are good sometimes. What you did come up with, however, was excellent. I take my hat off to you. (I’ll get a hat first) There.I Salute you dear Dotty. Blinking marvellous.
        Love from Christine xxx

      • Dear Christine,

        What did you think I meant?

        Love Dotty xxx

      • Dear Dotty,
        Well, it’s like this. I always find it hard to read txts and comments without first thinking how it was written. By that I mean, I can’t tell if was written as in a jokey way or serious. It’s my own fault because people always say they think I’m being sarcastic when I’m not. It’s the way I am. (Dopey) I thought I might have come across as being sarky but you made me realise that I didn’t. Thanks Dotty. Love from Christine. xx

      • Dear Christine,

        No, not at all.
        I thought I’D said something wrong. :-)

        Love Dotty xxx

      • Dear Dotty,
        You could never do that and if you did, I would know you didn’t mean to.
        It’s all cool.
        Love from Chris
        xxx

      • Dear Christine,
        :-)

        Love Dotty xxx

  7. Dotty, if I could have a super-power it would be miraculous stabby eyes.

    Reply
  8. Dear Dotty,
    This is how my brain reads things all the time. Maybe I’m just reading the wrong shite.
    Love HS xox

    Reply
  9. Dear Dotty,
    My favorite is “her eyes landed on his face” – pure brilliance!
    Love,
    -the howler and me

    Reply
  10. Dear Dotty,

    So basically, you’re saying that Fifty Shades of Grey was poorly written.

    xoxo Mme Weebles

    Reply
  11. Dear Dotty,

    This post has just made my day! I too am fed up of the ridiculous eye gestures…”Hie eyes popped out of his head” … Well pop them back in then!

    T x

    Reply
  12. Oh damn Dotty, I think I’ve used these: “His eyes burned into her” — “Her eyes widened” — but really you got me thinking on this one!

    Reply
  13. Aye Aye Dotty!

    Reply
  14. Brilliance. I can feel my eyes getting misty…

    Reply
  15. As if I didn’t have enough editorial problems with most books…now I have eyes to look at too…or is that “eyes to look at with”? “Eyes to look with at”? Eye, eye, eye! Thanks for the laughs and snorts…my morning needed them. It may become Electra, but not me.

    Reply
  16. Now when I read this earlier a thought dawned on me…..Or rather my eyes did notice as I grazed the page….

    This rant comes from a woman with a baby with whacked eyes, and nun with whacked eyes, and some bloke with whacked eyes all staring at me as I read the post done the right side…

    Hmmmmmmm

    Reply
  17. My pet “writer is a wanker” words are “sated” and “satiated”. Also, People always seem to describe things as being “Cerulean” blue. Really? And if you ever want to describe (and I know there’s not much call for this these days, but) a workhouse – please, do not call it “Dickensian”

    Reply
  18. Um, well, I think I had someone dart their eyes between two people in my adventure blog post just now . . . Does that make it shite?I think there were a couple of other things done with eyes too . . . but no one subsided (that’s dumb) or fell onto any plates of food.

    Reply
  19. Brilliant, as always, Dotty :D

    Reply
  20. I’ve been looking for a fictional blog post, but still can’t find one.

    Reply
  21. I’ll “give them a hairy eyeball” if they do any of those things ;)

    Reply
  22. G’day Dotty,

    If eyes were replaced with gaze, it would all be better?

    I love when you see someone attempting to perform a facial expression described in the books, a snarl, a crooked smile, scrunched up face with rolling eyes and tongue partially out… It makes me realize so many people are fucking hilarious when they go into their own.little world.

    John.

    Reply
  23. Dear Dotty,

    Gods, yes. Also, you should hear the things some yoga teachers say. “Invite your hips forward.”

    NOT ME, just so you know.

    Love,
    Owl

    Reply
    • Dear owl,

      INVITE your hips? What if they decline? Imbeciles.

      Love Dotty xxx

      Reply
      • Dear Dotty,

        I think that’s why those people use the (incredibly touchy-feely and perverty-sounding) verb “invite,” so as not to further anger the potentially already-angered hips. Which can tend to not only decline, but also violently lash out and say, “FUCK YOU, I WILL NOT GO FORWARD.” Some teachers I think maybe a little timid about that?

        Namaste,
        Owl

      • Dear owl,

        I wonder how many hip inviters have been punched in the face for saying it? :-)

        Love Dotty xxx

  24. kzackuslheureux

     /  September 9, 2012

    Dear Dotty,
    I knew I was hanging onto this title in my email for a reason. Funny, funny stuff! Is it okay if I write something like “he followed his mother’s gaze to the trail below.” ??? Gaze is okay, right? hee hee, I’m such an aweful writer, but I do enjoy reading about someone with flaws all their own.
    Best, Alphabet

    Reply
    • Dear Alphabet,

      Hmm. Gaze is better but it’s still iffy because it implies he literally followed her gaze and left her standing at the top. Maybe “…he saw his mother look at / gaze at the trail below. He looked down and saw…” or something like that. Stick to being boring when it comes to eyes and you’ll never go wrong. ;-)

      Love Dotty xxx

      Reply

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