By: Melinda Brasher
I've been running into a problem lately: characters I otherwise like are constantly smirking. I'm reading the third book now where this word appears in conjunction with friendly amusement, tenderness, or affection, and if I were sitting down with the authors, I might not be able to resist quoting The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
To Smirk or Not To Smirk
To me, a smirk is
But after so many counterexamples, I thought maybe I had my definition wrong. So I looked it up.
Oxford: "to smile in an irritatingly smug, conceited, or silly way."
Merriam-Webster: "to smile in an unpleasant way because you are pleased with yourself, glad about someone else's trouble, etc."
Apparently back in the day it used to mean simply "to smile," but we're not back in the day, and even if you're writing historical fiction, it's a dangerous game to use an old definition of a word that now has quite a different meaning.
Other Smiling Words
I've come across the same thing with
Synonyms for 'laugh' can cause problems too. If your tough manly man giggles, that's
. . .
To read the rest of the post, click here:
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
On The Move: Your Character's Smirking
...or Is He? Synonym Pitfalls. http://ow.ly/RQLP8
- You Want to Upgrade Your Writing Skills? Use These 10 Online Tools by Julie Petersen | Romance University http://ow.ly/RQLR4
- Stop Grading an Author's Social Media Presence | Digital Book World http://ow.ly/RQLSS
- Write the Book You Don't Expect - Girlfriends Book Club http://ow.ly/RQLU7
- How to Sell More Books and Grow Your Fan Base at Author Events http://ow.ly/RQLVx
- Gordon A. Wilson: The Holy Grail for Authors. 5 Reasons to Self Publish http://ow.ly/RQLWD
- Tighten Your Writing Style by Rayne Hall | Romance University http://ow.ly/RQLY4
- Targeted marketing for indie books | Self-Publishing Advice from The Alliance of Independent Authors http://ow.ly/RQLZg
OrganisedWriting Files | Self-Publishing Advice from The Alliance of Independent Authors http://ow.ly/RQM0D
- Top Five Low-Cost/No-Cost Book Promotion Tips - Girlfriends Book Club http://ow.ly/RQM3U
- This Simple Writing Habit Changed My Life http://ow.ly/RQM6o
- Five Things Painting Taught Me About Writing http://ow.ly/RQM9C
- Creative Writing Exercise: Write About Your Most-Loved Pet | Write to Done http://ow.ly/RQMbj
of a Compulsive Writer (Keillor Retires...
toTake Up Screenwriting) - The Writer Underground http://ow.ly/RQMdz
- No, You Don’t Have to Work 24/7 to Succeed - Michael Hyatt http://ow.ly/RQMig
- How To Get A Great Author Domain Name When YourName.com Is Taken - Where Writers Win http://ow.ly/RQMpw
- Print Book Production for indie authors | Self-Publishing Advice from The Alliance of Independent Authors http://ow.ly/RQMqx
- Social Media Changes Authors Need to Know - Social Media Just for Writers http://ow.ly/RQMsd
- 10 Rules of Writing a Novel | WritersDigest.com http://ow.ly/RQMKB
- Twelve Favorite Podcasts for Authors: Part I - Casts on Craft - Where Writers Win http://ow.ly/RQOs6
Post a Comment