Anarchic Hand

Posted: 27 August 2011 in Uncategorized

Anarchic hand, also known as Alien Hand Syndrome, is a neurological condition where the hand seems to take on a mind of its own.

Wikipedia Article

I use the term anarchic hand in my critiques for other writers to describe a particular first-person narrative style where the author does something like this:

My hand reached for the phone.

My eyes shifted toward the door.

Instead of just saying:  I reached for the phone or I looked toward the door.

I don’t guess there’s really anything wrong with it–we know what the author means–but it’s one of those things that I personally find distracting.  In first-person, someone saying “my hand (did something)” sounds like they have no control over it.  Ultimately, it’s the writers’ choices on how they want to word their narrative, but I always point this one out just in case they didn’t realize how it sounds to others (or at least me).


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