Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vomit of the Hands

Someone once told my mother-in-law she has diarrhea of the mouth. I believe it was one of her elementary or middle school teachers. While this is true and often hilarious (sometimes it gets her into trouble) it made me thing of something writing related (of course!)

You're working on a scene and trying to find the perfect way to describe a room or a clever/ hilarious way to say 'I don't like you' (Here's what I came up with: I loathe you, you are repugnant, you make me want to punch you in the face) and you end up repeating yourself in many well written (more often just plain awful) ways, and you can't decide which you like best. Either you hate all of them, or you like a few of them a little too much and decide to work them ALL in, because the idea of cutting your cleverness out just tears you apart. This is, my friend, is what I like to refer to as vomit of the hands.

It's a disease all authors face. Especially during that painful first draft. And I've found that even the best of us tend to get redundant in published form. There are only so many ways of letting someone know how beautiful a boy or girl is. Seriously, I've noticed this A LOT when it comes to the description of love interests (yes, we get the male lead is chiseled with abs the even Captain America would envy, yes the girl is so beautiful she defies all laws of  humanity). I'm guilty doing this, there I admit it.

Just because it happens doesn't mean all hope is lost. We can beat this thing. Together. Let's lend support to one another, either by critiquing or beta reading. Tell someone when it's happening. They might deny deny deny, but sooner or later they'll realize that using the terms radiant and luminous within the same paragraph to describe a room is a bit repetitive. But most important of all, we need to learn to let go. Pick a word and cut the rest. Admitting you have a problem is the first step. I bid you good luck as you fight the good fight against this insidious disease.


  1. Okay, hilarious post title and first line :D

    I don't think I have a problem with word vomit in people descriptions (it might help that I don't write much romance), but I admit to having it for other kinds of description.

    Often (in first drafts) if I want to describe something but don't want to slow down/take the time at that particular moment, I literally just list about 20 descriptive words, all run-together in a non-sentence-format, then move on with the story and go back to it later.

    ...which looks like my thesaurus threw up on the screen...

    We all have our different kinds of word-vomit ;)

    Good post ;)

  2. Ha, so true! It's hard to cut out description when you think it's clever, but finding that perfect word and cutting out all the rest is definitely the way to go. :)

  3. Vomit of the Hands LOL!! I love it! Great description, and very apt. Speaking of abs, I really liked how they made it funny in Crazy, Stupid, Love by having Emma Stone's character tell Ryan Gosling's that he looked "photoshopped" :D
    Cracks me up every time!
    Great post,
    Ninja Girl

  4. Love this post! I sometimes do this. I love witty dialogue, and often it isn't necessary for the story. It's painful to cut.

  5. LOL! Prerna, this post couldn't have come at a better time. I can now recommend this to one of my writer friends who doesn't believe me when I say "burned out," "tired," and "burned out" together in one paragraph is repetitive. Love this post so much! I'll definitely be using it for future reference because "Admitting you have a problem is the first step." Haha!

    Lots of love,