Tuesday, 12 February 2008
The Green Eye Rule
Most rules are made to be broken...
...though not, of course, rules about apostrophes, or spelling, where if you do not get it right, you are getting it WRONG, and there are no excuses.
No, I'm referring to the rules you will learn at a writing class, which you can see an excellent summary of at my friend Norm's blog. Don't misunderstand me, these are all useful points to bear in mind when writing, but like The Pirates' Code, they are really more what you'd call 'guidelines'.
There is one rule, however, that I've been fretting over lately. It was made up by another friend, Alan Hutcheson, and is called The Green Eye Rule. It goes:
'Thou shalt not give thy characters green eyes to make them seem special, intriguing, sexy, mysterious or otherwise memorable. If all the fictional characters with green eyes were stacked together they would reach halfway to Mars. Placed feet to shoulders the monolith would extend well past Uranus. Either arrangement would interfere with weather satellites and likely raise an objection from fringe human rights groups'.
Now before I knew Alan, I wrote Trav Zander, and the heroine, Isolda, is a bewitching blonde with green eyes. I did some low-level worrying about this, then when I went in for ABNA, I became aware that green-eyed heroines were not just two a penny in unpublished fantasy, they appeared to be mandatory.
So, teeth gritted, I went through the novel and changed Isolda's eyes to a smokey grey. I was not happy about this; I see her with green eyes. And she has a matching emerald necklace - emeralds, said to be unlucky - which played a minor part in the story. Star sapphires just don't work so well.
In the end, I changed her eyes back to green.
But not before I'd sent the typescript out to an agent, with, I realized too late, passages where the match between her grey eyes and her emerald necklace were remarked on.
Posted by Lexi at Tuesday, February 12, 2008