What-the-Tuck: Two New Trends

This pedometer geek reader has recently identified what could be new What-the-tuck trends in novels. Because of the predominance of repeated use of particular words and phrases, there are two that I have added to my growing list.

The first is the smirk, which I will credit to another blogger for mentioning the overuse of the word first. What-the-tuck trends is just my term for reoccurring trends in novels. Smirks do, however, appear frequently. One recent romance I read had no less than fifteen uses of the word, and that was after I started flagging them. Okay, I get that people smirk as defined by the dictionary: to smile in an affected, smug, or offensively familiar way. But not every smile has to be a smirk especially if the ‘smirker’ (actually smirk is the noun describing someone who smirks) has just met another person in whom they may be interested.

There are plenty of ways to describe smiles besides smirks, yet smiles and/or grins, pleasant, wry, or otherwise, seem to have disappeared from contemporary novels. Smirks, however, are routinely divvied out by handsome, uber-rich alpha males (Combining many previously identified WTTs here) and drop-dead gorgeous young women wearing pencil skirts in stiletto heels (Again, combining many previously identified WTTs) alike. In other words, it is not all one gender here who is smirking, but generally, the propensity is toward the male character. If the word is used correctly as defined by the dictionary, that is one thing, but more often than not, it isn’t. Frankly, if all I saw from a person were smirks, I would consider this person to be a jerk, and I certainly wouldn’t fall in love with them no matter what.

Of course, there are real people who smirk, and that facial expression is obviously different from a pleasant smile. There is one prominent person who often smirks (and is frequently photographed with a smirk on his face) when he makes snide comments or belittles an opponent, but I digress.

Enough about the smirking trend; the second possible What-the-tuck trend is the waggle of the eyebrows, usually made by the handsome, uber-rich alpha male, who is trying to convince the woman of his dreams into bed. While usually done in a comical manner (I guess just in case she turns him down, he can still retain his dignity by claiming it was a joke, of course), it is a weird turn of phrase. I still am trying to figure out just what a waggle is based on the dictionary definition of a side to side motion. Based on the context I think I know what it means, but authors use it randomly (and frequently) assuming the reader will understand. To me, it seems as if it is an up and down motion, not a side to side motion, but is it? Or is it one brow up while the other is down and then reversing them?

Regardless, several recent novels have had the main character waggling his eyebrows. Is it a new WTT trend? The jury is still out on this one, and this inquiring mind wants to know.




About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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13 Responses to What-the-Tuck: Two New Trends

  1. Jules says:

    Oh such a fun post to read – and maybe inspiration for some mini verses…
    But I shall have to waggle my smirking brain cells.
    I’d try some animated emoj here, but I just don’t know how to do them… a face with at least one eyebrow up and a wonky smile…

    I have not read these new WTT trends most of the books I read are at least ten years old… being gotten from charity shops or the Library book store. I just picked up some fun(?) murder mysteries so I’ll have to look for trends in the writing. At the moment though I’ve found some light reading based on of all things the characters of ‘Little House on The Prairie’ and want to read through them to gift to either my grand-daughter or to her Mother’s school library. I don’t have the whole series.
    But I do have several most being about ‘Half-pints’ daughter. The books are by different authors representing different phases of the ‘Little House’ Years.


    • Well, most of these were written in the last couple years (2012-2016) if I recall correctly. The issue for me that is once I suspect/identify one, then I notice the use even more so. On the other hand, I am not going to stop reading just because of a smirk, eyebrow waggle, green-eyed character, mega-rich billionaire, pencil skirts (used to be flirty skirts, but apparently that has fallen by the wayside), others, and of course, the ubiquitous hair tucking.

      That series you are reading and/or gifting sounds good. I loved reading the Little House on the Prairie series way back when. I know there was a recently published book written by her daughter, grand-daughter, someone who had Laura’s letters, etc.

      Now. to check out your link from your Longer Strands…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jules says:

        I had read an article a bit ago – so no reference to it; but supposedly Rose, Laura’s daughter laid claim to most of all of the Little House books – in regards to the polishing to print. But I’m sure that Laura herself had a voice. But then I guess Rose did have the education that Laura did not.

        Just living in that time period in city or forging out west was an amazing time for all the work that any one person had to do to just survive. Top that with relationship issues… and sometimes you get one big mess.

        I’m sure one does not have to go far to actually access the truth about a writer or character they enjoy. But just like your favorite restaurant… sometimes it is best to stay out of the kitchen. Do we really need to know every detail.

        Authors who come after – often lay disclaimers saying things like ; we are going to try and stay true to the character you love, even if we find some bit that might surprise us.

        The one book I just finished was about Laura’s mother Caroline. I don’t have the whole set/series. But enough to enjoy light reading. 🙂


      • Yes, you are right. You can destroy a book(s) by delving too deep. Even more so, finding a substitute author to continue a (dead) author’s works bothers me also. Some do a decent job, but it is still a little sketchy. I don’t like fan-fics either; I think it is like kidnapping a child to take them on an adventure. The parents might be okay with it, but probably not.
        I think the book about Caroline was the one I was thinking about. I had heard about it, and it is nice to know that it is worth reading.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jules says:

        I finished; Little House in Brookfield about Caroline (by Wilkes), and These Happy Golden Years, by L. I. Wilder, The other three I have are from Rose Wilder’s sort of adopted son/grandson… Little Farm in the Ozarks, On the Other Side of the Hill, and Bachelor Girl; all more about Rose Wilder.

        If you look up Rose Wilder Lane (Laura’s daughter) it is interesting reading as she was a friend of Ayn Rands.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: s 11.30 Lingering Lesson/ Imprompt Nudge 30 / Plus…/ haibun | Jules Longer Strands of Gems

  3. Jules says:

    OK I didn’t abuse the words… but I did use them here:
    Lingering Lesson

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t know eyebrows could waggle! Is it like a dog’s tail, perhaps? My goodness! Live and learn! Love this post!


  5. Jules, Thanks for your update on the Ingalls family (and books). I read the original series as a young girl, but haven’t read any of these. I also had no idea that Ayn Rand and Laura’s daughter were friends. I have read a book of 100 people who knew Ayn Rand and wrote about their interactions and thoughts about her. Most had positive things and reactions to Ayn Rand, but there were some who found her difficult to take. It was an interesting book to read.

    I will have to look up Rose Wilder Lane for myself, thanks. ~nan


  6. I love this because I am always noticing these things and wondering why editors don’t catch them. One book I read overused the word “gently.” A recent read overused “she clenched her teeth,” “she clenched her smile,” “she forced her smile.” Thanks for your astute observations.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. EtM, thanks for your remarks. I will have to look for the clenched smile…teeth I understand, but smile? Recently, I read a book that overused the word primal. Another book (or maybe it was the same one) used the words impossibly blue eyes. I am still trying to figure that one out. What exactly is impossible about blue eyes? To me, overuse is when it is frequent enough that I notice it especially when it is repeated with the exact word placement as the two examples I mentioned. ~nan


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