Rude gestures

Okay, that was just to get your attention. ^_^ Let’s talk about any kind of gestures, rude or otherwise, in our manuscripts.

I just finished a slash and burn edit of my current ms, and I couldn’t believe the nodding, head shaking, waving and so on! So many gestures that it seemed like my characters were struck with constant spasms. I know why I was doing it. I was trying to cut down on dialogue tags, but there were entirely too many gestures of the same type. In just one conversation, everyone involved had to nod at least once if not two or three times, and I got to thinking, do people nod that much during real conversations? Even if they do, of course, it doesn’t necessarily make good reading.

I left a few gestures, still mostly as replacements for dialogue tags, or otherwise people would have seemed as stiff as they had twitchy. But now I’m paranoid, thinking of doing a search for nod and seeing how close together they fall. Ah paranoia, it’s one of the last stages of editing, right before grief, fake apathy and then eventual contentment.

And editing is like every other part in writing in that I love it to start with and begin to hate it toward the end, when even the most beloved novel can start to look like a steaming pile.

*waves a languid hand* So, dahlings, do you have to cut gestures out of your manuscripts? And does the cutting of anything that seems so obvious during your edits make you want to pull your hair out?

If you think you have repetitive character nodding syndrome (RCNS) contact your editor immediately. Side effects may include headache, nausea and uncontrollable screaming at your manuscript to Just Get In Shape Already!

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8 thoughts on “Rude gestures

  1. If it helps, sometimes when I find myself in a rut of boring gestures, I watch a movie. The classics are especially good. Those legendary actors were legendary for a reason.

    Sometimes you can follow the movie with the sound off simply by watching their mannerisms.

  2. Oh yikes… the nodding, head shaking, eye rolling, sighing, and other associated gestures are my cliche bag of mannerisms… and then I wonder, “what ELSE could they be doing?” but the usually think “I’ll edit this out later”. Urgh. Apparently I love making for work for myself.

    I think I’ll just write stories about robots from now on. Stiff, metal robots. Of course, then there might just be a lot of arm waving and flashing lights. Sigh. *eye roll* I can’t win. *shakes head*

  3. People nod constantly in real life so I don’t think you can have too many in a manuscript, especially during the dialog. If they’re nodding when they’re alone, you might want to give them something else to do. 😉

    I’m pretty sure I don’t over use gestures. (Actually, I haven’t checked that. Now I’ll have to go look. 😦 )

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