Gazes Galore!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

One of my writing bugaboos is 'gazing'. Somebody, somewhere, on each page is gazing at another, drowning in that gaze or being scorched by it. Gazes are mysterious, smoldering, dark, or icy. They are felt and avoided, or met head on. They smolder with passion, or hint at vulnerabilities.

Heck, there are whole herds of gazes grazing on my pages. Inevitably, they are culled.

My hero(ine)'s gazes also have superpowers, they can size up the opposite sex, within a millisecond (Warning: objects on the page may take longer to assess than in real life)-- not only age, height, and weight, but also the turquoise and gold flecks floating in the depths of emerald 'gazes'. Streaks of rich auburn in glossy chestnut tresses are pin-pointed, and confidence aquired that waists could be spanned with one hand. The hardness (iron) of biceps, chest and thighs is judged, along with other other, a-hem, iron-like accoutrements (ie: hero's hung like a horse) in the thigh area. Lips are pronounced soft, cruelly thin, or colored like cherries. All this knowledge acquired from just....one....gaze (and 5 paragraphs).

Example from the current wip:

“Why not execute me here?” she snapped, control breaking, and looked at him for the first time.

She already knew he was a large man, overwhelming in breadth and height, but now she saw the heavy jaw and crooked nose. He wore his hair extremely short; yet even in the dimness it shone golden, lighter by several shades than his brows and neatly trimmed beard and moustache.

His shirt was rough-spun cambric. His long coat made of thick supple leather that swept down to where his pants tucked into a pair battered boots.

From a sheath strapped to one powerful thigh, the handle of a dagger stuck out, while the hilt of his sword rose at a slant behind his broad shoulders.

But it was his gaze that cautioned her from further outbursts: Light in hue, dark in contemplation.


Honestly? I rather like that example. But the dreaded romance novel 'inventory gaze' can go horrible, horrible wrong, setting one's teeth on edge in a frothing backwash of cliché after cliché.

Over on the Jennifer Crusie/Bob Meyer's blog-- He Said, She Said-- JC makes a very good argument for keeping those 'looks' to a minimum and how to use them in the most effective way to reveal character. Take a gander. (yuk,yuk,yuk)
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3 comments:

Amie Stuart said...

>>Light in hue, dark in contemplation.

You have such a way with words =)

LOL@Cruises gazing post. that was a riot but scary in the degree of truthfullness to it. Ok I have some contest entries to judge *shudder*

raine said...

Ditto on your descriptions, Jaye, which are always good. :-)

Why, my gaze had barely swept over the triumphant word 'GALORE!', lingered on the weeping writer cartoon, followed the chiaroscura figures on the film of one penguin sucker-punching another before I knew this would be a well-hung post, and...

Okay, okay I'm going... *ggg*

Jaye said...

Thanks, hon. You're not to shabby yourself, Ms Newly Contracted. ;-)

LOL. Leave it to you, Raine.

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