Writing tics, and the tale of a Comparison that slipped its leash

Recently I was reading a book — okay, a tome, rather, because even in ebook form it is gigantic, by a well-known author. I’ve read previous books (which may also have been tomes) by this author and I enjoyed them. However, as I continued through this one, I began to notice an intriguing trend. There was a substantial amount of eyebrowing going on.

To be clear, this wasn’t that deal where everyone in the book world can raise a single eyebrow. No, this book was set in a land where other gestures of disbelief, query or gentle mockery had ceased to exist due to societal pressure, and furthermore it was required that every nonverbal communication must be accompanied by an eyebrow raise. Such as:

he raised his brows

raised her brows slightly

cocked a brow at him

one eyebrow arched

she raised her brows

I raised my brows

cocked an amused brow

I know, ha ha ha, let’s laugh at the writerly tics. My commas alone single me out for general disdain. But the brows in this book, they did not merely stop at the raising. Oh, no — there was furrowing, and frown lines between them, and oh my god, the knittings and the wrinklings and the anointings. I felt exhausted for them.  And the descriptions! Burnished copper! Reddish gold! Perfectly feathered! There was a brow obsession going on and I was determined to get to the bottom of it. And then I read about someone’s bronze brows lifting in the moonlight and I said, hey, life is too short.

So I returned that ebook and started a different one: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It’s great so far! It’s exactly what I like — a nice new meaty world…to chomp down on with my slavering book predator jaws? By that overblown whateverphor I mean that there’s some lovely worldbuilding. The feel of it — the world building, not the actual plot/story type — reminds me of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. Lovely nice meaty chunks tossed to me, the reader, with each chapter, enough to make me think there is a whole field of world-cows chewing their cud, but not too much. Not the whole herd at once! Certainly not an Old ’96er. Since I’m in South Dakota, we could call these nice meaty plot bits chislic, perhaps?

See, writerly tics like that “eyebrow” shit? Totally beneath me. Yep.

 

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