As I mentioned in a previous post, I am taking an online course all about self-editing with Angela James of Carina Press. Many of her posts are insightful and thought-provoking, to say the least, but one idea has been mullin' around in my brain since I read about it on Saturday (playing catch up).
Ms. James brought up a writer's tendency to repeat character actions. For instance, do your character shrug their shoulders (what else are they going to shrug?) all the time or raise their eyebrows, right and left in the story? I caught a few instances of that in my short story Into the Fire, but I'm sure I have certain "writer's tics" as Angela James calls them.
But for me, it brought up a point I've wondered about. Two authors, who I highly respect, use a particular action in every book. At some point in one author's books, the hero and heroine will kiss so passionately, their teeth will bang together, and in the other author's books, the heroine's heart will "pinch" with feeling at some time in the story. So, my question is this: is this repetition on purpose? Is it a "writer's tic?" Or is it something like a trademark?
I don't have the answers, but to be honest with you, I always look for that action and get a little excited when I find it, so I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I have to admit I was thrown off a little at first when the action popped up in another book by the author, but I wasn't disappointed in the author's lack of variety. Matter of fact, the strange thing was, I felt a certain kinship with the author, like there was a secret between the author and her regular readers.
So, IMHO, repetition of actions isn't always that bad, if done in the right way. What do you think?