Let’s have another wee chat …

By now I’m sure you know what that means. If you guessed that I’m reading another book that could do with help, you’re correct. You win. Your prize is a blog post about characterisation and creating different characters. More specifially how characters view the world differently. Let’s look at that, shall we?
Yeah, that’s right, we’re going to.

I’m reading this book (I just sighed, I didn’t even mean to sigh). It wouldn’t be half bad if the characters had their own take on the world.
The first time I saw this particular descriptive phrasing I thought, nope. But, maybe the author could get away with it, once. “Honey haired, denim eyed.”
I did not expect every character to saunter in and use the same description for these three girls. I especially did not expect men to use that phrasing in relation to, well, anyone. (Sexist? No, realist in this case. The men in question are welders, and steel workers.)
Now the other problem with that description. What does it bloody mean? What the actual fuck is honey when it comes to hair?
Is their hair sticky? Is it a particular colour? If so, what colour? Honey comes in many colours – which one are we talking about here? (Creamed clover, runny, Manuka, that strange dark bush honey?) The word honey tells me nothing.
I’m going out on a limb and saying the author means a shade of blonde. Then why not just say blonde?
Did you know, it’s perfectly fine to say blonde or even give a shade of blonde? My grandfather described Marilyn Munroe as a Suicide Blonde – nice. He was a cop with a wicked sense of humour.
Now that brings us to the poor women and their sticky hair potenially getting into their stiff hard-wearing denim eyes.
Denim is a fabric. It comes in many shades of blue plus grey and black. Are their eyes indigo, stone-washed, acid-washed, dirty like mechanic’s jeans, light blue, chambray? Whatever the colour, denim is a hard-wearing cotton fabric.
Now we have sticky hair wrapped around some non-descript shade of stiff-cotton eye-balls.
Appealing? Not really!
But the most annoying thing for me, is the number of times that partiular descriptive (is it though?) phrase is used in this book. All the bloody time. Every character that popped up used the same descriptor for these sticky-haired hard-fabric-eyed women.

If just one of them had said something about blonde hair and blue-eyes, it would’ve made more sense. And I would’ve gone, ah, there we go, this character has a partial brain. But no. They could be strawberry blonde with indigo eyes, or auburn haired with grey eyes. I don’t know. I have to guess from the honey and the denim.

My rating: Could try harder.

Don’t be the person who get’s stuck with a weird description thinking they’re being cute or clever or whatever that up there is. It’s not. It’s strange nonsense. Every character in your story does NOT use the same word choices or view life the same way. They sure as hell do not randomly come up with the same weird description for people they’ve just met.
That’s all you. Stop it.


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