Monday, April 25, 2011

What's in a Dirty Word? A LOT, Apparently.

Anybody ever read a story that started with the line, "I never thought it would happen to me..."??  Just wondering. 

I've talked before about how important it is for me to have an emotional connection to a character before the sexy stuff gets started, and now I want to talk about what happens after I am in love with the hero.

For some reason, this weekend, my Twitter Feed was being blown up with pet peeves about erotic writing (maybe because I follow a lot of erotic writers?).  Now, let me just say here (in case my mom has discovered by pen name and is reading this) that my goal as a writer is not necessarily to write smut.  I was kind of aiming for the romantic suspense road, but seem to keep getting sucked into (so to speak) stories that just lend themselves to going down (so to speak) a lustier path. 
I don't know where I'll end up, but while I am on this little literary detour, I'm thinking about what works for me and what doesn't when I read a sex scene.  And it doesn't matter if it's classified as "Erotic" or "Contemporary" or "Paranormal", there is a lot of great sexy stuff out there.  There is also a lot of stuff that sounds icky or takes me out of the story, or just plain doesn't work for me.

There is a great series of posts at the Dirty Birdies blog about this kind of stuff (I'm not linking you to any specific post, because today's isn't specifically about this topic; it's written by my pal Tiffany Reisz about her upcoming release, The Siren, so I'm doing some pimpage while I'm ranting). 

My freshman year of college, when we all realized we were old enough to BUY P#*N, many of us subscribed to Playgirl Magazine.  I can honestly tell you that there is not a single nekkid photo that I remember from those magazines (mostly, probably, because there was some rule about the guys having to be, um, floppy, and how boring is that?), but I do remember the stories. We would howl with laughter and highlight the alliteration (we were in college, and we knew words like "alliteration" and how what it means).  My favorite was "Rock hard rod."  Fortunately I don't run across "rod" as a euphemism any more.  But as bad as some of that writing was, I read it.  And I started sorting the good from the bad. 

Some of the issues that crop up for readers is body position.  As in:  How on earth does he get his mouth THERE when his YOU KNOW WHAT is THERE?

Other people hate first person point of view.  I have to admit, it takes some skill to write first person POV in a sex scene, but I've seen it done. 

Many of us have "ick" words.  "Cream", "Seed", "moist" and "Channel" were mentioned on Twitter last night.  I guess maybe it depends on your genre, because those words don't bother me so much when used in historical love scenes; but in contemporary ones, I keep thinking about how cream has a white, thickened consistency, and that, in certain body areas, is an indication that a trip to one's gynecologist is in order.  Just sayin'. 

My personal "Bleh" word is "erotic" when used to describe something, well, erotic.  "His kiss was the most erotic kiss ever."  BZZZZZZ.  Sorry.  Word fail.  "His kiss scorched her from the inside out" might work better for me.  "Erotic" is a total "tell" word for me.  If you are telling me I'm supposed to be turned on, you might as well unlock the door and make some popcorn, because my obstinate nature will shut you down. 

Okay, I'm going to stop here and ask you all:  Who do you think writes really hot love scenes?  Not necessarily specifically erotic writers, although I love those, too...but who would you recommend as a model of a writer who does "it" right? 


  1. Sarah Mayberry does it right. So does Heidi Betts.

  2. And my captcha word was "unswil" - which is now one of my "ick" words. ;-)

  3. LMAO over the GYNO comment - and um, ICK!
    I have a problem when a writer doesn't commit. You know, when you read a scene and it's going great. Dirty, gritty and real and then one of those little purple words intrudes and I'm like: nuh,uh, she didn't. It ruins it for me. But I write raw - so maybe I'm not a good one to judge. :)

    Murphy - who frequently makes her CP blush