Phrases authors should stop using part II

As I continue my Shadowhunters re-read, I have come across a few more weird phrases that should just not happen. I will say, the writing is much better as the books progress, but I’m still in murky waters for now. You can check out part 1 if you want as well, but without further ado, here are some more phrases that should just stop.


*Blank* didn’t realise they’d spoken out loud

Never, not even once in my 23 years of life have I ever spoken out loud without realising it, nor have I ever met anyone who spoke out loud without realising it. Not when drunk, not when tired, it just does not happen except I suppose if you talk in your sleep. I’ve said stupid things, I’ve spoken nonsense, I’ve spoken to myself out loud. But at no point was I taken by surprise by the fact that I had audibly uttered those words. Like I get it’s meant to show how absorbed the character is by their thoughts, but it just makes them sound like they have some kind of mental issue. So stop.

no sheldon gif

They clenched their fists so hard they drew blood

Or some variation of that. This one doesn’t bother me so much in terms of writing, but it’s just so unrealistic. Like, how sharp are their nails? I have never clenched my fist so hard I drew blood. And I practice mixed martial arts. I clench my fists a lot. Like, are they all Wolverine or something?

People reading each other’s facial expression across the room

Not so much a phrase specifically, but it happens all the time that the POV character is across the room from someone and can read their every micro-expression. And not just like a small room, but big, big rooms. So big, they can’t hear what the other person is saying but they can read their facial expression. I mean, I know I don’t have perfect eyesight, but I doubt anyone can see that well. And not only that, but they detect super specific expressions and can deduce what the thoughts behind them are. And of course, as we saw in the previous post, their shoulders are incredibly expressive as well and have their own set of emotions that can be read in them. Do they all have Superman eyes or something?

She felt/returned the pressure of his hand on hers

Or variations of that. I know what it’s trying to say and technically… it’s correct. We do detect pressure when we are touched even if it’s light pressure. But to me it just sounds like they’re all very aggressive about holding each other’s hands. I would not describe the sensation of someone else touching me as pressure unless it was forceful enough to be uncomfortable. Surely, there are better words to describe the sensation of touch.

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