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Writing No-no's

There’s a lot of writing advice around that is bad — well-intentioned, but misleading. It usually results from people simply repeating what they’ve heard, and turning it into “a rule” that they then share with (or impose on) other new writers.

For instance how often have I seen new writers warned off this kind of thing:

Her eyes dropped to the floor.

No, no, the ‘expert’ instructs  gleefully. If you write this your reader will imagine eyeballs popping out of someone’s head and landing on the floor. You should write:

She lowered her gaze to the floor.

Nonsense, say I. It’s a metaphor. No reader with half a brain is going to think her eyes dropped out of her skull and landed on the floor — because clearly this happens all the time in real life! 

It’s just like saying “She flew to the window” or “He froze” or “He approached the door with leaden footsteps.”

They’re all metaphors! She didn’t literally fly — she hurried; he didn’t literally freeze, he went abruptly still; and his feet weren’t made of lead, it’s a metaphor to show how reluctant he was to approach the door.

So when you’re given writing advice — mine included— think about it, and decide for yourself whether to adopt it or not.

A new bride? Oh, the joy!

Here’s another snippet of my new book, Mary in Haste. It’s where the haughty and terribly fashionable aunt of my hero, Cal, expresses her great joy in his choice of (convenient) bride.

“Now explain to me, Ashendon, if you please, the reason for this disgracefully hasty marriage to a complete and utter nobody! Did you give any consideration to what you owe your name? Obviously not!”

“I beg your pardon?” said Cal, outraged by this description of his wife.

“Apology accepted,” Aunt Agatha said regally, “but you still haven’t explained yourself.”

“My wife,” he began stiffly, “is not a nobody. She is—”

“Oh, pish tosh, of course she is. Nobody has ever heard of her, and those that have know nothing good of her. A governess, Ashendon! Could you find anyone less distinguished? A washerwoman, perhaps, or a milkmaid? Milkmaids have good skin, or so I’ve heard—does she have good skin, at least?”

Cal leashed his temper. “My wife is well educated, well born and—”

“Well born? Nonsense! According to my sources she is a nobody, a spinster long past her prime with neither background nor looks to recommend her.”

“Rubbish!” snapped Cal. “She is the daughter of a baronet—”

“Exactly—not even a member of the nobility!”

* * * * *
If you’re an e-book reader, you can buy Marry in Haste via this universal link
Or if you prefer paperbacks, go to your favorite local bookstore, or try The Book Depository which sends books anywhere in the world free of postage. 
There are more links on my website.