You know how sometimes the premise of a novel seems intriguing, but something tells you to take a look at the available sample before clicking the BUY button?
I saw this phrase on the first page of a science fiction/near-future medical techno-thriller novel: forehead furled with concern.
No, dear author, I think you mean furrowed.
Seriously, forehead furled? I think that’s anatomically impossible for a human.
Writing advice seen on a blog:
Don’t ever have your POV character know what other characters are thinking. She’s not a mind reader!
You seem… very certain of that, O dispenser of writing wisdom. Too bad you’re wrong, at least in some cases.
I don’t think head hopping is good, either. I was prepared to agree with you. If you’d stopped with the basic “Don’t head hop” advice, all would have been well. Then you went and declared — as if it were an irrefutable fact for every character, all the time, in every story — that the POV character lacks the ability to read minds. That, O dispenser of writing wisdom, shows that you’re a muggle, or as we said back in my day, a mundane. You’re assuming fictional people cannot have abilities real people in the world you inhabit don’t possess. You’re clearly not a frequent reader of speculative fiction, because SFF readers are at least aware of the possibility that some characters, in some stories, some of the time, are telepaths. Y’know, mind readers.
Better general advice would be, Don’t allow your POV characters to know things they cannot know. Don’t let them know what the inside of someone’s house looks like if they’ve never been there and have never been told about it, either. Don’t let them be an expert on a topic they’ve never even heard of before the scene when they have to repair the jumbo jet’s engine or bake a perfect torte to save the Prime Minister’s nephew’s wedding reception. And, unless they have some ability to read thoughts, don’t let them know what the other characters are thinking.
Now, let me tell you about synonyms…
First of all, synonyms are not words that mean the same thing; those are homonyms. Synonyms are words that mean almost the same thing. (Similar vs. same — it’s right there in the terms themselves.) The English language is rife with synonyms, but true homonyms turn up far less often.
Occasionally, when you want to use a common expression without it coming across as a cliché, you may be tempted to replace one word or another with a synonym, just to change things up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with this. You’ve got to pay attention to what those words mean, though.
Some words have more than one meaning, and you shouldn’t
cross streams pick a synonym from one meaning to replace one from the other. (Yes, there are occasions when doing this deliberately works; I am not denying the possibility of clever plays on words. I do love a good pun.) Context matters.