Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wandering Body Parts

Be careful not to give body parts autonomy. Body parts cannot do things independent of the body they’re attached to. Eyes are the worst offenders.

Avoid: Her eyes wandered his body.
Try: Her gaze wandered his body.

Avoid: His thumb brushed over her lip.
Try: He brushed his thumb over her lip.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Sometimes phrases are so natural everyone knows what they mean, so changing them can often produce clunky wording.

Example: When their eyes met, the rest of the world slipped away.

Their eyes didn't literally touch. They didn't jump out of their sockets and roll across the room to find each other, but "their eyes met" is such a common, everyday phrase no one questions it.

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