Maggie Wells · Margaret Ethridge

Jumping out at me

I was reading a book the other day (and let me say straight off that it was AWESOME and the following commentary is not meant to convey anything less than pure enjoyment of the book as a whole) and something jumped out at me.

“He (she) tasted of….”

Fill in the blank with whatever seemingly contradictory flavors the author can cook up at that moment: vanilla and dreams, boysenberries and swamp water, honeyed droplets of sunlight, mint swirled with ginger and tinged with the faint misty memory of peaches, sweat socks washed in the aforementioned swamp water….

You get the picture.

It seems I’m catching this phrase in every book I read lately, but let me tell you, it stopped me on a dime this time.

Why? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve typed it a few times myself.

But I won’t do it again. At least, not without something in my brain going PING! I’m in the process of going through all manuscripts that haven’t passed through the official pipeline to be sure I hunt it down and eradicate it from my lexicon.

This is a good example of why writers must be readers. Not only do we have to be aware of what’s new and current in our chosen genres, but we have to know what’s being overkilled.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad phrase. It’s a nice way to work some sensory information into the manuscript. I get it.

But I don’t want my writing to blend in with the crowd. I want it to stand out.  

How about you? Any key words or phrases you’re seeing used and abused? Please let me know. I’ve become quite adept with the find and replace function.

Margaret

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2 thoughts on “Jumping out at me

  1. This post tastes of peppermint and shattered illusions (my own, that is). 😀 I think you’re absolutely right. I don’t want to blend in with the crowd either. *runs to read*

  2. You are SO right about finding phrases in others’ writing that jump out and you realize you do that too. That’s one reason I advise new writers to get into contest judging. It’s a great way to learn more, find things that jump out, etc.

    I’ll be going through my WIP for “(s)he tasted like… 🙂

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