Sunday, January 15, 2012


I am in the throes of a major rewrite. What started as tweaking has turned into an entirely different story. Didn't intend for it to turn out that way, but it has. While writing and reviewing I've noticed something. I have an affinity for certain phrases and they pop up on every few pages. I call them Purple Phrases.

Purple phrases even happen to the best known authors. Authors who have a bazillion books in print. I recently read a book by a well-known writer and she used a phrase that repeatedly glared at me and spit out an annoying repetition in reference to the heroine's eyes. The phrase was "cornflower blue eyes."
Her eyes were a cornflower blue. Tears welled up in her cornflower blue eyes. She glared at him with cornflower blue eyes. 

All right! All right! I get it! Her eyes were cornflower blue! Sheeze.

But then, I find I'm just as guilty. The phrases that keep finding their way in my novel are:
A sigh escaped her. A sly grin stole over his face. His puppy-dog eyes. And another thing. I have found that my characters are constantly drinking coffee. Hmmmm, maybe because I am drinking coffee while writing?

I knew I had to do something in order to keep from aggravating my reader, so I made a "Purple Phrase" list and taped it to my computer screen. This helps to remind me to keep escaping sighs and sly grins in check. And when I discover a new PP, I add it to the list.

What about you? Do you have any purple phrases? What are they? And what do you do to avoid them while writing?