Welcome to week 9 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge. Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?
This week’s prompt: Words that make me go ick!
For me, that would be purple prose.
Do not use purple prose, euphemisms, words or phrases that make you uncomfortable. Use words that are appropriate, even if you are a little uncomfortable with them. Do not let your characters get so involved in the physical act that it becomes, quite disappointingly, mere sex. Readers do not want to hear all those cotton-soft euphemisms any more than they want to hear anything inappropriate to the scene. They want a sensual experience — seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Do not neglect the “jarring” senses either, like talking, moving, thinking, — because that is where the sense of reality enters in.
Here is a good test of whether a word is worth using in a love scene. Say it aloud while you are in the midst of the love scene you are writing. Does it make you hot? Hotter? Alternatively, does it make you laugh aloud? If you laugh out loud, that is a pretty solid indication that it’s not a word you should use because your readers will probably do the same. Unless you are going for the humorous bit and then use it.
I have been stopped dead in my tracks many times while reading love scenes by words and phrases like “his manhood waved at me like a flagpole”, “his rod of pleasure”, “her honey pot” or “they soared on the wings of love and exploded into infinity.” “He stood over me, his eyes partially closed, his lips slightly parted, the hot breath hitching as his magnificent sword waved before me.” (Excuse me? His sword? Is he going to slice her head off?)
I cringe or laugh, sometimes both. Along the same lines, certain words may be too crude, rude or shocking to use in your romance novel. This will depend on the subgenre. If you are writing a steeple hills sweet romance where they close the doors and turn the lights off, use of the words vulva, vagina, penis may be considered too vulgar. On the flip side if you are writing a BDSM erotica, using “his man-sword” instead of “cock” will leave your reader in a fit of giggles. OR maybe that’s your preferred method of masochism. If it is, good luck with that.
If, as a writer, you are too uncomfortable to describe the scene, maybe you should choose a different genre. Know your genre, know your audience, and don’t be surprised that someone will complain regardless.
Don’t forget this is a blog hop. Anyone can join at any point in the MFRW 52 week challenge… Click here. Make sure you check out some of the other authors below.
Write on my friends, write on!