grammar and spelling / writers resources / writers tips / writing

Writer’s Tip #3: Watch Out For Bouncing Eyes

When you read your story, does it sound off? Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong?

Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. I’ll point them out. They’ll come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments. Add comments with your favorite editing fixes.

This is a pet peeve of most agents I chat with. Some of them will throw an excerpt into the trash the moment they discover one of these. What is this deadly mistake?

Bouncing eyes.

  • He dropped his eyes to the floor.
  • His eyes roved the room

No. No. No. Eyes don’t drop or rove. A gaze might. When you think you’re finished with your novel, search your ms for ‘eye’ and replace as many as possible with ‘gaze’.

While you’re at it, check for other body parts doing things they shouldn’t.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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