Thursday, July 28, 2011

Word Whirlpool

So, I've fallen and I can't seem to get up. I've been cranking out my latest re-write to my critique partners and I find myself falling into a bit of a Word Whirlpool, if you will. Just a couple of days ago, I thought, 'I'll have my main character wink at this girl.' It was perfect. Just the right amount of heart pounding, tension building flirtation. Then two chapters later, I thought, 'It would be awesome if this bad guy gave a wink to the girl. Because that just cements his super creepiness.' Right? So, I inserted a 'wink' scene there as well. A chapter later, two of my characters shared an inside joke and before I finished writing the paragraph--voila, there was another wink.

Am I the only one that does this?

I call it the word or phrase whirlpool and it's just as annoying as getting two lines of a song (usually the only two lines that I know) stuck in your head. It rotates through your mind over and over again; surfacing while your in line at the grocery store, or watching Dora the Explorer with your daughter or Googling something on the computer. You start humming and then the two lines pop in your head and whoosh! You're in the whirlpool.

With my writing, I discover or create something really great: an idea, a description, a word...and then I cannot get it out of my head. Before I know it I am using the same word or phrase to describe a cascade of water, a ray of sunshine trickling through the open window, as well as my main characters hair falling on her shoulders--all within a few chapters. I don't care how brilliant the word is...three times in a row is too much!

Apologies to Angie and Amy who are no doubt tripping over all of my 'winking scenes'! I know that re-writes and line edits are in my future, but any other suggestions?



Angie Cothran said...

This is hilarious Sara :) I'm only at the first winking scene, but I'm excited for the rest.

I do the same thing all the time. My characters smile A LOT at each other. I'm getting very sick of their cheerfulness.

Donna K. Weaver said...

No, you're not the only one to do this. I think the find feature is powerful so we can see how many times we do some things.

julie fedderson said...

I notice this all the time, in my own work and others. Especially brows arching. There's so much brow arching going on in novels now, makes you wonder if Botox is losing its popularity.

amber said...

I totally do this -- only I do it across books. I can't tell you how many of my female characters (MC and passers-by) have "black hair the color and sheen of liquid licorice" or some other iteration of the same idea :) Maybe I'm just hungry? hehehe

I don't think it's THAT bad -- it's almost as if you're reacquainting the readers with a particular character through the description. Imagine us saying, 'Oh yeah -- she's the one with the white-gold blonde hair!' and 'Another wink?! Wow, this girl must be something!'

You know who does this a lot? JK Rowling. So, at least we're in good company.

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