It’s been all about memes lately. Whatsa Meme anyway? AKA Another Lesson in Writing Without Looking — Oh! And we have a winner!

Well let’s start out with the winner of the Make Believe Anthology.

Of course, we can only have one winner, but for everyone else, the Make Believe Anthology releases December third, and you may be able to pick up another free copy during the MASSIVE blog tour in December.

Drumroll Please!

By YOUR VOTES The winner is:   Vanessa Chapman

Congratulations!  And Thanks for everyone who pleaded with the Little Blue Lady to set me free.

Do you think we’ve seen the last of her yet?  I don’t know… She sais she’s sorry, but still seems to want an interview.


It’s been all about memes lately.  I keep getting slapped with one meme or another.  It got me thinking… What the frig is a meme anyway?  (Except being something like a blog chain letter)

Definition time (Off Wikki):

A Meme (pronounced Meem, as in dream), is generally defined as anything that can be transferred from one mind to another. Glenn Grant defines a meme as “A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds…

Ummm… Okay…  Anyway…  In the blog world, a Meme is something you have to do, and then tag others to do it also.  I have to pass on a lot of these, unless I think they are valuable.  The one I was tagged in today was a good one that every author should do anyway.  Soooo… here we go!

This is the “Look” Meme.

The rules are to run a search on your current work in progress, and count how many times “Look” appears.  Why look?  Well, Look is one of those nasty telly words that get editor’s britches all in a bother, and (even worse) can get your manuscript rejected by a publisher or agent.

I’d like to pass a special thanks to ultra-cool author Claire Gillian (From “The Pure” fame (Yes!  She actually remembers me!)) For tagging me with a constructive meme.

So, the WIP I have chosen is my Single Short Romance, A Test of Faith.  It is 5,902 words.

Searching for…. “look”

There we have it.  “Look” appears 13 times.  Hmmm.  That’s not so bad.  Now, what I need to do, is show a few examples.  Let me page through them.

Okay… so, it seems that out of the thirteen, eight of them are “good looks”, which means they are in dialog, as in:  “Don’t look at me like that!”  Those don’t count.  They are legal.

Here are the five that remain (Hey, only five?  Statistically, that’s pretty good!)

Anyway… here they are:

1.       She ran up the steps, stopped mid-way, and looked down toward us.

2.       I looked up into the warmth of his eyes.

3.       He ran his finger under my chin. I looked away self-consciously.

4.       The redness in his face cut a hole into my heart, severing the arteries and forcing it into my throat. I looked away.

5.       He looked to the side, pursed his lips and walked into the kitchen.

Now, you are supposed to give a little bit of the paragraphs around the “look” as well, but I want these to really stick out.  ERRRRR.  They don’t look as good here as they do in the manuscript.  My inner editor is screaming.

So, what do you think?  Are these too telly?  How would you change them to Write Without Looking?

I’m gonna tag EVERYBODY on this one, because I think it’s a great exercise.  If you don’t strive to make your writing better, ignore it.  If you want to be the best writer you can be, give it a try.   Wether or not you post it is up to you.  🙂


17 responses to “It’s been all about memes lately. Whatsa Meme anyway? AKA Another Lesson in Writing Without Looking — Oh! And we have a winner!

  1. always learn something from you – meme and look today

  2. Pingback: News about your ticket! | Vanessa-Jane Chapman

  3. Oh, and The Little Blue Lady is always welcome on my blog, by the way. She’s kinda nice when she lets her guard down and stops obsessing about blowing things up.

  4. Well deserved! Congrats, Vanessa!

  5. I’ll be more careful about “look”ing after this post. Thanks!

  6. Congratulations, Vanessa! That was a great poem, and you deserve the win!

    As for “look,” hmm. Yes, I have over 100 that aren’t in dialogue. But Tristan raises a good point about the appropriate use of the word.

    What I find interesting, is that there are some words we are supposed to avoid overusing, like “look.” So we need to rephrase to avoid them or hit the thesaurus for an alternative. And yet, we’re told keep it simple when it comes to dialogue tags. Some writers, editors, and agents go so far as to say we should ONLY use said and ask—no replies, retorts, responds….

    Sometimes, the “rules” seem a bit contradictory to my mind! 🙂

  7. Yay, Vanessa. Nice for YOU! Congratulations for winning.

    I’m not aware (duh) of overusing the word ‘look’. I’m almost afraid to look. Good point.

  8. Hmm. It seems my other comment, in which I deliberately over-used “look” in jest, is closely rivalled by the look-count in my draft. Of 60,280 words, the stats are as follows:
    Look – 71
    Looks – 5
    Looked – 73
    Looking – 63
    overlooking – 1
    Total – 213
    Ratio = 0.35%
    FYI Widdershins’ ratio was 0.24% (based on 100k words) so if that’s my benchmark, I’ve got work to do. 🙂
    This has been a real eye opener. I’ll add look to my list of other words to use sparingly such as that, was and somehow.

  9. Thank you Jennifer! And thank you to those who voted for me! 🙂

    Can’t wait to read it! I bet I notice all the instances of ‘look’ in there now 😉

  10. WTG Vanessa … couldn’t’ve happened to a nicer human!

    … Well, the ‘look’ search was unbelievably depressing:
    looks – 1
    overlooked – 1
    unlooked-for – 3
    looking 27
    look – 52
    looked – 157

    … however …
    I’m not going to go out and shoot myself. This was an early draft of a 100,000 word MS.and a goodly portion of the numbers above are in context, but still … it’s another word to add to my ‘Beware the passive Words’ list – was, is, were, are, words ending in ‘ly’ or ‘ing’.

    Thanks for the tip, O recently Rescued One.

  11. Firstly Congratulations to Vanessa for winning the comp! Well done. As soon as I saw her poetry in there I was sure it would be winner. 🙂

    As for the Look Meme, look here. It looks like I’ve been overlooking something I should be looking into right now. So I will take a look at the Look Meme a little later in the week. Look out for it then. 😉

    Claire does have a point, doesn’t she?

  12. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the word ‘look’ if you’re using the word correctly (as you are in all of the instances where you are using it.) It’s when a writer (through sloppiness, inexperience, or ignorance) uses the word “look” when they are referring to how something or someone looked, as in appearance, like…

    “The expression on her face made her LOOK as though she had eaten a bug”.

    I think THOSE uses of the word ‘look’ are what drive good editors crazy and an editor that simply scans for every use of the word ‘look’ and considers it to be ‘bad’ is probably not a very good editor.

  13. Hmmm, I never realized that the word ‘look’ is indicative of a poor manuscript. I might just have to go through mine and see how they fare.

    And a big congratulations to Vanessa! Her poem was very creative. 🙂