No she didn’t!

Last week we talked to you about avoiding cliché phrases and common idioms in your writing. Today, I want to talk about cliché gestures and descriptions. These are the mannerisms that every character has, the physical actions that crop up in every chapter. Another plug for The Emotion Thesaurus. Each emotion entry will give you fresh ways to express the emotion as well as clichés to avoid.
Have you ever read a book where it felt like all the characters did was sit around and smile at each other? He smiled. She smiled back. Everyone grinned until their cheeks hurt, and you, the reader, came away with a migraine. To read more, visit A Little Red Ink.

About Bethany Kaczmarek

Author. Fan of Story. Family girl. EO nerd. Transplanted missionary. Indie music connoisseur. Grammar ninja.

10 comments on “No she didn’t!

  1. Thank you guys so much for the nice things you’ve said about The Emotion Thesaurus! The struggle with cliche, overused gestures is EXACTLY why Becca and I put this book together. Our characters were always frowning, shrugging, rolling their eyes (we write kidlit & YA, lol) and whatnot. We KNEW there had to be better ways to show emotion, so we started making lists. Crazy how that one simply idea has turned itself into a book used by so many–that still boggles my mind some days!

    Have a great weekend, ladies! You rock!


    • Thanks for dropping by, Angela. And thanks for CREATING such an amazing resource. I recommend it to all my clients and always keep it by my side when I’m editing.

  2. Sorry, you’re having problems with trolls. I just had to say that this entry made me smile. Like all writers I’ve been guilty of nearly all of those early in my career…wait, my last chapter…oh, dear. I have to go check something. Have a great day, ladies!

  3. I swear by the Emotion Thesaurus. As a matter of fact, I’m writing a first draft right now and it’s packed with “smiled” and “turned” and…ugh! But I worry about slashing those later. Anyway, I also write in my first drafts (see ET). That way I can add those details later. First drafts are the hardest part for me, so I need to power through and pretty it up later 🙂

  4. I’ve always hated hooded eyes. I could never figure out if it was an emotional description or the poor woman was dating a neanderthal (literally, not the common American male neanderthal). It ranks right up there with chocolate eyes, which I know is not an emotional description, but I have nightmares about my wife describing my eyes as chocolate…and then waking up blind. Great post. Love the Emotional Thesaurus.

    • Thanks for this. Now I’m going to picture a Neanderthal Man every time I see that phrase. =) I read something recently where a character had chocolate pudding eyes. It’s probably best not to compare body parts to gelatinous foods.

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