The over-use of looked happened because during an earlier bout of editing I did a global search for the term it seemed when I noticed I had a propensity to include that turn of phrase – too much. Somewhere in the process I must have replaced ‘it seemed’ with ‘looked’. My editor didn’t discover this – he was too busy finding my verbose use of ‘just’. As in “just as she was about to leave….” You can fill in the rest.
My friends told me when they read my book Ephemeral Summer one reason they enjoyed it so much was because I write the way I talk. Which would be fine for this current story if it weren’t for the fact that it’s set in the 1870s. As I mention in an earlier post, I did my homework. I read as many books as I could over the summer written during this time-period - without falling to sleep. But still, my present-day vernacular has a habit of creeping in sometimes. I can’t tell you how many words I had to change when I found out, after researching their etymology, they were not in use during the Victorian era. My editor and I went back and forth on the use of the word ‘snit’. I insisted it was in use in the late 1800s. He had his doubts.
Now ‘it seems’ I must find a suitable replacement for ‘looked’. Appeared, surveyed, gazed, or just simply ‘was’. Instead of something looking like something - she looked crestfallen for instance – she simply was crestfallen. Lets call a spade a spade here. By the way – was that figure of speech popular in the 1800s?