This week I’m reading through my novel before starting a new draft. I’ve already filled a notebook with notes of things to change and I haven’t even gotten to the end yet.

I’m still amazed by my tendency to repeat myself. Although I don’t repeat major events or metaphors without meaning to, I do repeat small things within the scene. Thus, I have learned that my characters:

Love to smile. Oh how they smile. They beam. They grin. They smile slowly. Their smiles fall off their faces. Their smiles bloom. Their smiles turn their faces from plain to beautiful. They smile deliberately, with calculation. It is a book filled with smiles, and it will make you smile when you read it.

Cry easily. Yes, as much as my characters love to smile, they also love to cry. Fortunately, they do not cry as easily as they smile–that would be quite a rollercoaster–but they sure do burst into tears when provoked. In my characters’ defense, most of the crying is manipulative or after a great tragedy, so it is somewhat understandable.

Look people up and down. You might think that with all these emotional outbursts, my characters lack analytical skills, but you would be wrong. They are good at sizing people up. They look along people’s bodies, sometimes suspiciously, sometimes sexually. Nothing gets past them, boy howdy.

Are well-dressed. At least, that’s the best I can figure what with all the description of clothes in this novel. There are entire wardrobes of clothes in this novel. Very little of it is relevant to the plot, but it helps you to know that the main character is wearing a pink dress, right?

In light of this, I am considering the possible title: All Smiles: The Story of Crying, Well-Dressed People Who Will Look You Up and Down by Joy Lanzendorfer.

4 thoughts on “All Smiles by Joy Lanzendorfer

  1. marcia

    My characters (or myself, if it’s a first-person essay) always “decide” to do something or “decide” something is a certain way. To make up an examples, “she decided to find his arrogance charming rather than annoying” and “I decided this was going to be the last time we spoke.”

    They never just DO something. No! They decide to do something. I guess I like decisiveness.

  2. Grogged

    As for the characters in my novel, they lack any outward sign of emotion whatsoever. They act and respond, but never provide a hint of whether they enjoy or detest what they are doing.

    Oh, and they’re all apparently naked, because I can’t find reference to a single article of clothing.

  3. Leona

    Man, I had a smile after reading this! If you go with that title, I will do everything I can to help your novel get the kind of blog buzz that Snakes on a Plane did. What do you say?

  4. Kate

    This is hilarious! It’s also very cool that you were able to find this yourself. I just read through someone’s novel ms. and found a lot of “grins.” She hadn’t realized and was astonished at how many there were.

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