WaBoPs (Wandering Body Parts)
One of my favorite examples is: His eyes fell to her cleavage. ~Or~ His eyes dropped to her cleavage.
I’m sure most of you will agree we don’t want our hero’s eyes rolling around in anyone’s cleavage. Unless, of course, you are a horror writer and you like zombies, then you can have his eyes falling/dropping anywhere you’d like.
As for romance, you don’t want your readers envisioning his eyes falling out of his head before a hot sex scene, or even a light make-out scene. His gaze can fall to her cleavage, or even drop to it, but his eyes falling is a scary thought.
Granted, most readers will understand what you mean when you say, his eyes fell or dropped, but the visual readers (those that see exactly what is written) may put your book down if the WaBoPs are numerous. And let’s face it, the more they put it down the less likely they will be to pick it up again. We don’t want that, we want them so into the story they can’t put it down even once.
Here are a few more examples:
The other hand slipped down to caress his thigh. (I instantly think of Thing T. Thing from the Addams Family.) She needs to perform the action: She slipped the other hand down to caress his thigh. Now, if the scene is in his point of view he would feel her other hand slip down and caress his thigh, but that is an entirely different blog article.
His feet raced to the finish line. (Okay, so which foot won?) His feet didn’t actually race to the finish line, he did. The character has to perform the action, not the body part. Without the character, the body part is incapable of motion.
Her eyes flew across the dance floor. Did they grow wings or did she throw them? Her gaze can dart or fly across the room, but not her eyes.
So go forth good writer, let your imagination wander but make sure you keep a firm grasp on where those loose body parts are traveling.
~ Ariana Gaynor
Secret Cravings Publishing