Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book Rant #8 - Adjective Police

After a string of really good books, I read quite a few in a bunch that were bad. They didn't speak to me, didn't grab me. And let me tell you, the only thing worse than waiting over twenty minutes for a bus, is waiting over twenty minutes while trying to pass the time reading a really bad book.
And while it seems more noticeable in romances, it happens everywhere - adjective abuse. My personal pet peeve is the word masculine. It is a great word, but it gets over used - heroes often have masculine features, masculine scents, masculine clothes, and masculine furniture. All of which would be fine if that one little adjective wasn't left all by itself to do all the work. Unless this is a mad lib of some sort, I need the author to tell me what the furniture looks like - masculine is not enough. Tell me what he's wearing, or just skip it. Masculine just tells me he's not cross-dressing.
It happens with the heroines too, although a larger bucket of adjectives are misused. Without even talking about all the honeyed this and the creamy that, there are heroines walking around with evocative butts (evocative of what, I ask, no one ever answers me) and diamond tipped breasts (ouch) and they are often sleek. Sleek of hair, sleek of build, sleek, sleek, sleek.
And eyes. Don't even get me started on the eyes. Perhaps I am unobservant or something, but I have never been able to see many of the myriad things that people in books supposedly find in other people's eyes. I get it that people look at each other's eyes to try to gauge things, I do that too, but it's an inexact science and if these folks keep finding stuff buried in other people's irises I start to wonder if they are deluded or if we are in a paranormal and someone forgot to tell me. And I am resigned to the looking deeply (although have you really thought about that, doesn't it sound like it should hurt?) and people's eyes sparkling with intelligence or happiness or tears, but that's it. Again, unless we are in a paranormal, people's eyes should not be glittering, especially in the dark.

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