Wednesday, March 5, 2008

To say or not to say.

Warning-potentially adult words.

There seems to be an ongoing discussion these days about language in romances and what should be said or not said. The F___ word seems to be high in contention. First, I wonder if some of the objections come from the older writers/readers who are really not into graphic language. Next would be the born-again generation.

To me, a love scene/sex scene that is rife with words like dick, penis, pussy get boring and take away some of the romance. I want to know what they are feeling, sensual stuff not an anatomical description. There are ways to write a love scene that are lovely, not pornographic. Having said that, hot sex is a turn on for some and seen more and more in romance genre's'.

Next, I go along with Rinda Elliott here. If you have a kick-ass heroine fighting a demon who's blood will burn flesh, and she is splashed with said blood, what do you think she will say--"leapin' lizards?," "Oh poopy?" The language has to fit the scene and she is more likely to scream "oh fuck" than something more mild.

At the same time, for language to be effective, it needs to be used sparingly. If your characters use the f___ word in every sentence, or every other word, they become ineffectual, boring and sound as if their vocabulary went on hold at age ten-or younger. Use your skills as a writer to convey what you want your characters to say with more imagination than say a series on Showtime. Of course, some of the series on Showtime are excellent, but you know what I mean and have seen those reality show where the people become unintelligible because every other word has to be bleeped out.

Trends change-romances have evolved from bodice rippers where the girl falls in love with the man who kidnaps and rapes them (must have been a male fantasy.) Language evolves. As writers we have to decide what's effective for our characters and our readers.

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