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Is This Considered A Cliché? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
edit: Oh, the humiliation! Maybe if I only get a small number of the same people replying, I can justify that mistake.

I often make notes when writing, for other stories I'll be working on next. I'm thinking of re-purposing the voice I use for MotherHUD for use in a children's story, but I'm also working on another voice for a detective story. I wrote this and I know it's based on a well known joke but wondered if it's now common to see it used like this. I've never read detective stories or written one before:


The spanner-eyed starlet shifted her knees smoothly from one side of the chair to the other, like a shark rolling in on a minnow.
 
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EternalGreen

Senior Member
I guess my objection is you should be showing us her sexiness, not telling us about it.

I've never heard the term "spanner-eyed" before, so I'm guessing the answer is no.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I guess my objection is you should be showing us her sexiness, not telling us about it.

I've never heard the term "spanner-eyed" before, so I'm guessing the answer is no.

Well, the joke is 'she had spanner eyes. Every time she looks at you your nuts tighten'.
 
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Llyralen

Senior Member
edit: Oh, the humiliation! Maybe if I only get a small number of the same people replying, I can justify that mistake.

I often make notes when writing, for other stories I'll be working on next. I'm thinking of re-purposing the voice I use for MotherHUD for use in a children's story, but I'm also working on another voice for a detective story. I wrote this and I know it's based on a well known joke but wondered if it's now common to see it used like this. I've never read detective stories or written one before:

i had to look up spanner. It’s a wrench? Wrenching eyes?
I like the shark and the minnow, but having to look up something is a distraction. I don’t know what % of your readership know about tools? It is describing her from a very male perspective, and it might exclude some readers? I mean I feel a bit left out on it. Describing sexy can include everyone, or can be oriented to your main character... like he could feel like his nuts are being tightened and that’s not exclusionary because your MC is just discussing his own experience, so that can even seem sexy to me to hear as a hetero cis-female. But describing someone as doing anything to everyone listening’s nuts means I don’t have that anatomy and am excluded from the general. if it happened a bunch, I’d stop reading the book since I would feel like an interloper, a clear “girls keep out” on the clubhouse.

This kind of thing happens often enough that I think most women just kind of blink. I love the Colbert Late Show and usually love Colbert but often listening to comedians Im expected to all of a sudden apply a joke to myself that assumes that I have certain anatomy. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the joke, but it is an immediate “I don’t have that, am I supposed to be here?” It takes about two blinks to decide that They just didn’t think about it. That I think we women are way too used to and I’m realizing men are not used to this at all and don’t even read books where the main character is a women. And I am finding that men sometimes don’t know what that feels like. I’ve been seeing it a lot lately. The experience of the “two blinks” gives people a lot of understanding.

Not meaning to be harsh, my friend... I just have been thinking about this a lot lately...
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
i had to look up spanner. It’s a wrench? Wrenching eyes?
I like the shark and the minnow, but having to look up something is a distraction. I don’t know what % of your readership know about tools? It is describing her from a very male perspective, and it might exclude some readers? I mean I feel a bit left out on it. Describing sexy can include everyone, or can be oriented to your main character... like he could feel like his nuts are being tightened and that’s not exclusionary because your MC is just discussing his own experience, so that can even seem sexy to me to hear as a hetero cis-female. But describing someone as doing anything to everyone listening’s nuts means I don’t have that anatomy and am excluded from the general. if it happened a bunch, I’d stop reading the book since I would feel like an interloper, a clear “girls keep out” on the clubhouse.

This kind of thing happens often enough that I think most women just kind of blink. I love the Colbert Late Show and usually love Colbert but often listening to comedians Im expected to all of a sudden apply a joke to myself that assumes that I have certain anatomy. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the joke, but it is an immediate “I don’t have that, am I supposed to be here?” It takes about two blinks to decide that They just didn’t think about it. That I think we women are way too used to and I’m realizing men are not used to this at all and don’t even read books where the main character is a women. And I am finding that men sometimes don’t know what that feels like. I’ve been seeing it a lot lately. The experience of the “two blinks” gives people a lot of understanding.

Not meaning to be harsh, my friend... I just have been thinking about this a lot lately...

This is one sentence out of a probable 15 page short story. I'll be sure to add other descriptions too ... It's amazing how you've already got this pegged as a male orientated story from ONE sentence lol

But, if it excludes some people, so be it.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
We don't use the word 'spanner' in the USA, we call it a 'wrench'. You must obviously modify your language accordingly because, as Americans, the entire world revolves around us.

Jokes aside, I don't think it's a cliché but it is kind of corny, kind of a dad-ism. If that's the vibe, it's fine.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
We don't use the word 'spanner' in the USA, we call it a 'wrench'. You must obviously modify your language accordingly because, as Americans, the entire world revolves around us.

Jokes aside, I don't think it's a cliché but it is kind of corny, kind of a dad-ism. If that's the vibe, it's fine.

I don't really know the tone I'm going to set yet. This just got me to wondering whether it's a cliche or not.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
I don't really know the tone I'm going to set yet. This just got me to wondering whether it's a cliche or not.

Okay so, I jest, but the United States = the by far the biggest market for English language fiction so while that does not mean you should write as an American, there's probably better than a 50% chance whoever reads your work wont know what you mean by 'spanner eyed', at least not immediately. It's not the kind of thing you can just suss out from context, like figuring out 'tea' means 'dinner'.

For something to be a cliche it has to be widely used and understood. I googled 'spanner eyes' and found one entry on Urban Dictionary and one on a Reddit page (both alluding to your joke) so nah, I think you're safe regarding cliches. Like I say, a little pervy-old-man-at-the-pub is all.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Okay so, I jest, but the United States = the by far the biggest market for English language fiction so while that does not mean you should write as an American, there's probably better than a 50% chance whoever reads your work wont know what you mean by 'spanner eyed', at least not immediately. It's not the kind of thing you can just suss out from context, like figuring out 'tea' means 'dinner'.

For something to be a cliche it has to be widely used and understood. I googled 'spanner eyes' and found one entry on Urban Dictionary and one on a Reddit page (both alluding to your joke) so nah, I think you're safe regarding cliches. Like I say, a little pervy-old-man-at-the-pub is all.

Guilty!

giphy.gif
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Show and tell is a balancing act. I don't know how women readers would react. But depicting women horribly has turned off some readers that are women. To talk about her sexiness imo might be something a female reader might object to doing. That is they might want if it has a reality (as in her personality as well) since they are the real readership to have good female characters. Most women are the readers of fiction works. Not to mention while it depends on the genre it seems that love and sex novels are devoured by female readers. So I don't know other statistics, but that is how I would depict her. Be sensitive to what other people think. If a romance develops in the story, even better for female readers. Given the fact that I don't know how writers handle women really well. It seems to vary greatly since the opinion is so divided. Men can get it wrong a lot of the time. I do think sexiness is something an audience can handle with maturity if toned down. You don't necessarily need examples but a sex scene in a story I don't think sells a lot of books. The only examples belong to the love genre in the first place or romance.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
99.9% of any UK audience would misunderstand 'spanner-eyed' as some reference to eye shape.

If, god forbid, they had the misfortune to learn your term was an allusion to 'balls tightening' ...it is very offensive, and gross...suggesting 'cliche' is gross also, unless I miss, and I am happy to miss this joke.

St John Tee, vicar.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Isn't spanner also a UK kid's slang for somebody with mental retardation?

I swear I heard it in a TV show at some point? "OI REF WHAT THE FOOK YOU DOING!?! THAT WAS A PENALTY, YOU FOOKIN SPANNER!"
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Isn't spanner also a UK kid's slang for somebody with mental retardation?

I swear I heard it in a TV show at some point? "OI REF WHAT THE FOOK YOU DOING!?! THAT WAS A PENALTY, YOU FOOKIN SPANNER!"

It's just a name that you call someone. "Dave? Great bloke. Total spanner."
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Show and tell is a balancing act. I don't know how women readers would react. But depicting women horribly has turned off some readers that are women. To talk about her sexiness imo might be something a female reader might object to doing. That is they might want if it has a reality (as in her personality as well) since they are the real readership to have good female characters. Most women are the readers of fiction works. Not to mention while it depends on the genre it seems that love and sex novels are devoured by female readers. So I don't know other statistics, but that is how I would depict her. Be sensitive to what other people think. If a romance develops in the story, even better for female readers. Given the fact that I don't know how writers handle women really well. It seems to vary greatly since the opinion is so divided. Men can get it wrong a lot of the time. I do think sexiness is something an audience can handle with maturity if toned down. You don't necessarily need examples but a sex scene in a story I don't think sells a lot of books. The only examples belong to the love genre in the first place or romance.

One thing I will never do is be sensitive to what others think. I write what entertains me. If some people like it, that's great, if they don't, so what? In real life, of course, because you are meeting people. In fiction, no, because you are seeking an audience.

But I have to point out, this is ONE sentence that may or may not appear in a story, a story I haven't even thought up yet. LOL. I was just curious and wondered if it's considered a cliche.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
...for literally no reason?

For the very good reason that Dave is, objectively, a total spanner, and that you love him despite it. In fact you love him because of it.

It's about as close as us English get to actual emot**ns...
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Put into context...in a story...in the words of an evil overlord...'his balls tightening' etc...might save 1000 words of character description, at least.

Saving grace.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
One thing I will never do is be sensitive to what others think.

I will agree to disagree just because if your sensitive in some ways you can gain an audience. This science fiction author's work attracted attention from controversy (not sure if it is the same person who wrote the atrocity exhibition and I read some criticism to balance this of Lovecraft who was doing some good things creatively but seemed to anger critics). There are no rules. I just disagree bv reasoning it. The best-selling entertainment seems to be for the general audience such as harry potter maybe.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Put into context...in a story...in the words of an evil overlord...'his balls tightening' etc...might save 1000 words of character description, at least.

Would it be inappropriate to also point out that no man in history's balls have ever tightened in response to an attractive woman other than one made of actual snow? This is on a par with 'When Dave smiled at her, Dawn felt her nipples immediately harden like bullets'. It's not an actual thing.
 
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