Avoid Eyes That Crawl and Other Wandering Body Parts in Your Writing

I’m excited to be a guest over at Write Divas today. If you haven’t visited their site yet, you’re in for a treat! The Divas were kind enough to invite me to blog about a topic of my choice, so I decided to share some thoughts on a common problem I see in fiction: Wandering Body Parts. Here’s a preview:

“Her eyes crawled around the room.”
“His eyes combed her face.”
“Her eyes became demented.”

Those eyes, those eyes, those beautiful eyes! The windows to the soul, and all that . . . unless writers unintentionally give them the ability to do things eyes just cannot do.

Wandering body parts are usually the result of a writer getting carried away while trying to construct engaging and descriptive prose. I see it frequently while editing fiction, and it’s sooooo easy to do—and is almost always unintentional.


Please visit Write Divas here to read the rest–and don’t forget to come back here and share your examples of cringe-worthy wandering body parts!

Happy Writing,


17 thoughts on “Avoid Eyes That Crawl and Other Wandering Body Parts in Your Writing”

    1. There’s room for a bit more license in cartoons and romance novels–shooting eyeballs and wandering hands are certainly more prevalent in each respectively. Thanks for stopping by, Dylan, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  1. How about a guy with an unsightly proboscis at a plastic surgeon’s office, looking through a catalog: “He carefully picked his nose with his eyes…”

    One of my favorites, and I see this from time to time in published fiction: “You look great today,” he smiled.

  2. Great reminders here, and sins I’ve certainly been guilty of committing. I just finished a novel that I devoured in 2 days. It was a great read, bu my only complaint was the author’s overuse of 2 gestures. The protagonist chewed the inside of her cheek when she worried about something, and rolled her eyes to express annoyance. And that’s it! Over and over throughout the whole novel. I started wondering if I should send this author a copy of the Emotion Thesaurus!

  3. Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
    This post was actually November but came to mind when I was reading an old book from the shelves yesterday. There was a line about eyes wandering around the room and then up and down her body and then coming to rest on her bosom.. Well travelled and in need of eye drops by that point I think – anyway I know how easy it is to be guilty of this one….

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