Here are some comments people (mostly writers) made when I asked the DorothyL group:
As a reader, do you find repetitious words and phrases in books drive you up a wall?
And as a writer, have you discovered you've fallen victim to using something that worked great one time over and over?
Here are some of the responses:
- padded barefoot
- shrugged shoulders (what other body part can be shrugged?) Well, darn it, I have some ideas. . . .
- eyes following and bouncing around
- body parts doing independent things . . . feet carried him, moved him, or otherwise shifted his position
- frisson of fear, or frisson of delight
- repetitive use of "gaze"
- getting peeved over this literary device. It's called metonymy and it's meant to be used. I admit I kind of like this position . . .
- shrugging in and out of garments
- tossing of garments and footwear
- clenched jaws, teeth and fists
The concept of floating body parts took on a life of its own.
So, I'm thinking that one of the things we want our early readers to watch for is overuse of our own pet words and phrases, and blatant, morbid positioning of body parts. Although I don't have a huge problem with some of these ("eyes cutting to the door", for example), I wouldn't want to use that description more than once in a manuscript.
CR: Urgent Care by CJ Lyons.
It's all better with friends.