This new trick I’m doing is a savior.
When I can’t figure out how to say something in English, I type in the closest I can get to it in quotations in Google and search in Books. Then I see how other writers use it and adjust it accordingly until I get it right. This is just fantastic.
For example, I’ve been trying to describe a girl looking out the window a particular way. So this is how the process went, the phrase I started with, and the phrase I ended up with:
1. “She cupped her face and pressed it to the window.”
2. “She cupped her face in her hands and pressed them to the window.”
3. “She cupped her hands around her face and leaned close to the window.”
4. “She cupped her hands around her eyes and peered out the window.”
5. “She cupped her eyes and looked out the window.”
So this is the winner, clean and simple: “She cupped her eyes and looked out the window.”
Jesus. This took, like, 10 bloody minutes. The movement mechanics of this in English simply doesn’t fit in my mind. Because in Russian it sounds like, “She planted (!!!) her hands on her face and leaned on the window.”
Yeah. The tribulations of writing in your second language.