Burly Detective Syndrome YKTTW Discussion

Burly Detective Syndrome
Referring to a named character by their description, not name
Better Name Needs Examples Needs Examples Up For Grabs
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-27 17:55:07 sponsor: chihuahua0 edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2015-03-12 06:05:11)

Add Tag:
[Stratadrake thinks this has been collecting dust long enough; Up for Grabs. May still need a better title though.]

Glancing upward, the alluring complexion noted the stalwart giant as he rapidly approached. A faint glimmer sparked from the pair of deep blue ovals of the amorous female as she motioned toward Grignr, enticing him to join her. The barbarian seated himself upon a stool at the wenches side...

A form of Purple Prose where a writer replaces a characterís name not with a pronoun but a descriptor, usually in the form "the [adjective] [noun]," such as "the burly detective" (as the Turkey City Lexicon calls it, in a nod to the Mike Shayne series).

It's often done by an author to avoid a sense of redundancy when having to refer to the same character repeatedly; an occasional change of address can break up a potentially endless stream of "Bob said"s ("Bob did", "Bob was", etc.) and provide some variety. However, it must be used sparingly -- an author who never refers to the character the same way twice is doing the audience no favors. Addressing a character in too many different ways at once distracts from the flow of reading, and at worst, the audience might think these labels refer to different characters rather than the same one.

The naming equivalent of Said Bookism. Also known (in the MLP:FiM fandom) as "Lavender Unicorn Syndrome", after the series's protagonist lavender unicorn Twilight Sparkle.


Since this is considered Bad Writing, please avoid using it to complain about fanfics you donít like or their authors.


Replies: 67