Friday, 19 October 2012

Eyebrow Mania


Seeing as it’s Friday, I thought I’d kick off the weekend with something fun.

I think any writer will admit that body language can be tricky to describe and that it’s hard not to fall into the trap of overusing certain descriptions.  Pretty soon all the shrugging, eye rolling, and arm crossing can get out of control. While revising, I’ve definitely come across repetition of certain gestures that I need to omit or change. One of my personal favourites is raising, arching, quirking, pinching, and furrowing eyebrows. Apparently the eyebrows in my story like to bust a move.

Kinda like this:



What can I say? I find eyebrows expressive and in this case weirdly funny.

Have a happy weekend and watch out for breakdancing eyebrows.  :)

10 comments:

  1. Love this. And I so know what you're talking about. My characters crossed their arms and ran their hands through their hair so many times in the first draft of my last WIP!

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    1. Ah yes, running the hands through the hair. I'm guilty of that one too :)

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  2. Hahah I love that Cadbury eyebrow clip. I always notice in books I'm reading there is a lot of talk about eyebrows, I often don't quite understand how a character arches one eyebrow so often, I try and do it but both eyebrows end up being arched....

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    1. I think I raise one eyebrow a lot in real life so maybe that's why I make my characters do it, especially when they're being sarcastic. In Daughter of Smoke & Bone Laini Taylor's main character says her eyebrows don't "function independently of each other" unlike her best friend who is a "master of the eyebrow arch." I thought this was a funny contrast and maybe a tongue in cheek way of pointing out how often eyebrows factor into facial expressions in books.

      Glad you enjoyed the video. I laughed myself silly the first time I saw it :)

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  3. Yes! Such a problem. I can honestly say that my characters don't roll their eyes though, so that's good, right? They do an awful lot of expressing themselves with their quirked eyebrows and crossed arms, though. Might have to comb through my WIP to weed out some of those instances. Funny video, BTW. :D

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    1. I think I used eye rolling a couple times, but not excessively, at least not compared to the eyebrows. I'm going to do a search on some of these to see how often they occur in my WIP. Might have to tackle all the shrugging too. Honestly, with all the shrugging my characters do you'd think they were completely indifferent to everything. :)

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  4. It's so easy to have a physical crutch for characters to fall back on. Love the video! Do you watch 'Supernatural'? Jared Padalecki's character has ridiculously over-emotive eyebrows, and it's half the reason I watch the show (the other half is the soundtrack). Good luck hunting down the quirky eyebrows!

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    1. I don't watch Supernatural but I do know Jared Padalecki from Gilmore Girls. Ian Somerhalder's smarmy eyebrows are practically a character of their own on Vampire Diaries, which totally cracks me up. In my hunt for eyebrows I think I will slay some and let others go, because I do love a good eyebrow quirk. :)

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  5. I wonder if some of our over-use of facial expressions and arm-crossing is because it's an easy way to "show, don't tell"? For example, furrowing the brows is a way of showing concern, confusion, or deep thought, rather than telling "John thought about this." And perhaps the answer is only partly to be found in using other body parts or body motions. Perhaps the answer is to allow ourselves to tell instead of showing--at least now and again. In her book DESCRIPTION, Monica Wood argues well (I think) that "show, don't tell" is often over-applied, and applying this principle too rigidly can be as detrimental to one's story as ignoring the principle altogether.

    Just a thought. Funny video! :)

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    1. That's a really good point. The editing book I'm currently using lists a tonne of rules, but the authors also warn about stripping your story of emotion by following those rules too closely. Like you say, sometimes it might be necessary to tell instead of showing, even if that's breaking one of the biggest rules in writing. I think some of these gestures are also an easy way to avoid dialogue tags, which is why I overuse them. Everything in moderation I guess!

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