Browsing through novels while I waited in line at a local store, I happened on this line:
Her eyes exploded with merriment.
Now where do we even start with a sentence like that? The author wants to … what? Show us this woman is in a playful mood, I suppose. The author (this is an author; the book is in print) chooses to focus on the expression in the character’s eyes to establish her mood.
I put the book down immediately, but now I wonder, who in the heck had the point of view? Who was watching her eyes explode? The man she was talking to? Is this an omnicient narrator, seeing and knowing all things?
Eyes are hard. My advice? Stay away from them. Faces in themselves are hard — every face is basically the same, and eternally different — but eyes are the hardest. Mouths do contort, but eyes? None I have ever seen, thank dog. Eyebrows, wrinkles at the corners of the eyes, yes. But not the eyes themselves.
Now I have this urge to go look for prose about eyes that works. I wonder if I’ll find any.
PS There are other things wrong with this sentence, but I don’t think I can go on.