When I first started in this writing business (for real), I was in a critique group with a wonderful well-published author who wrote in a completely different genre than I. When she’d come across some of my phrases, like “Her eyes dropped to the floor,” Barb would waggle her finger at me and say, “No moving body parts!” I guess I did it often enough for the phrase to stick in my head.
Today I came across a critique from someone in my critique group, of someone else’s writing. The critiquer had highlighted that the submitter used the phrase “her eyes darted around the room” twice in as many paragraphs. It was the repetition which she’d pointed out. But for a flash, I remembered Barb’s words and imagined the heroine eyes floating from the body and moving quickly around.
So, here is my question concerning this phrase: Can eyes dart (they do within sockets), or should they not dart (detached from the body)?
I read books with this very saying…and honestly, I picture what the author meant – I envision her eyes doing the darting without her moving…like she’s frozen in place and her eyes are taking in the scene…really fast. She’s panicked, fear-ridden and her eyes are doing all the work. And I don’t picture them leaving her head to do it.
But it gives me thought…and perhaps I must consider this, especially since I’m an abuser. (tee-hee)
I’m not sure what the right answer is, but I have to admit that I giggled when I saw the sentence out of context, “Her eyes dropped to the floor.” I’ve never noticed this while reading, but I will definitely be on the look-out for dropping and darting eyeballs, now! Thanks for the chuckle!
So… so far it’s sort of agreed: eyes darting is okay; eyes dropping is not.