Fixing the grinning bobblehead character - Page 4


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Thread: Fixing the grinning bobblehead character

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    So: Sorry, no smile guys. The inclusion of smiles in no way signifies a bad writing habit ... unless you get up to something like two smiles per thousand words ... then the Smile Police MUST visit you!
    Okay, thanks for digging into this but let me clarify:

    I feel like the OP is perhaps being restated as a strange all-or-nothing campaign against writing smiles. This is not the case though is easy to have happen in a forum setting.

    This is in "Hints and Tips" because I'm mentioning something that, when it is done badly, makes for weak and awkward writing. The article that I've linked to in the OP did a pretty good job of explaining some ways to improve.

  2. #32
    Member JBF's Avatar
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    No. Mirth. Whatsoever. Beatings to continue until morale improves.

    But on a serious note, the misuse of smile or grin or what-have-you isn't so much that the expression itself is bad. More that it's on par with writers who throw in physical cues that don't actually do anything. A major example would be those (usually new-ish) who fill space on the page by constantly describing what a character is doing with their hands.

    If a character cracks their knuckles, it needs to signify something. Same as if they rub their eyes, or cross their arms, or any number of minor shifts and movements that people make all the time. This is a rookie mistake because it takes up real estate without forwarding the story. It's action that doesn't move. Of course people do it, but we're ideally following some kind of narrative thread as opposed to transcribing the details of someone's day.

    Supposing a character is shown grinning all the time I'm going to assume this is an authorial cue that said character is lacking confidence, slightly dim, or fixing to brain somebody with a folding chair.
    Last edited by JBF; February 12th, 2021 at 02:40 AM.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    A I-just-landed-a-sweet-deal-and-although-I'm-your-friend-I'm glad-it-was-me-and-not-you shit-eating grin.
    I may have had this in the back of my mind when I wrote in my last scene:

    I smiled. Not one of your 'I just got an unexpected check in the mail' smiles, but more like a 'that neighbor I've never liked just dropped a paving stone on his foot' smiles.

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