So, a good friend of mine, Alicia, was one of my beta testers for my debut novel. When she finished she asked me just how many times I use the word "eyebrow" in the book. MSWord says I used it 37 times. (Not in a row.) Considering the novel is 111,000 words, I'm not too concerned about over-use. In fact, it's become something of an in-joke. Like tonight... I was working on the sequel and on page 14 used "eyebrow" for the first time. I had to text Alicia to tell her about it. Her: Did it pop? Me: No. It raised. Slowly. Her: So it was an eyebrow erection? Me: No, eyebrow erections are reserved for Spock, Sylar and Zachary Quinto (because he is both).
I have to laugh at this because, I admit, I am somewhat afraid I will fall into some habits that I mock (lovingly) in other writers. The eyebrow thing strikes a chord because of Dean Koontz.
When I was in junior high and high school I read a ton of Koontz. My mom and I would trade books sometimes and compare notes on long drives and such. So, one day we're in the car talking about the latest book and I said "Is it me or is everything 'malevolent'?"
"I KNOW!" Mom said.
And we got into this conversation of how Koontz always described something as malevolent. And in every book bougainvillea is mentioned at least a dozen times. Then it became a ritual.... we would both start a different Koontz book before bed and call out between bedrooms "Page 8" or "page 2" for the first use of the words. Soon we began talking about writing a spoof of Koontz called Malevolent Bougainvillea. That never happened, but I still threaten to do so upon occasion.
I'm wondering if I should add the eyebrows to that one.
In my defense, though, the eyebrows are among the most expressive parts of the human face. Seriously, they can say so much with something as simple as a quirk or a pop. I love eyebrows and expressions with the eyes. Maybe part of the reason I write about eyebrow movement so much is that I write what I see in my head and they mostly play out like movies... Tight close ups that show what's going on with a character.
The word count on the sequel is slowly building. I say slowly because I'm used to 5k days. I'm used to seeing things sparkle and give me chills (yay revision). But right now this is all rough. It's still covered in its amniotic juices and a little amorphous. Doctorow was right when he said writing is like driving on a dark street with your headlights on. You see a bit at a time.
At least I do.
The back hurts and I want to go play with this character a bit before getting the kidlet to bed.