Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Want to know what NOT to do when writing an erotic romance? Check out this post by Samhain (and my) editor Tera Kleinfelter. I'll warn you, you might want to put down any beverage, unless you want to either choke on it or spew it through your nose.

Seriously, there are some really hideous phrases to be found in romance novels of all stripes, not just erotic. Especially earlier romances (and by that, I mean anything published in the 1970s or 1980s - which is as far back as I've gotten with them.)

There was one historical I read back in either 1988 or 1989 (but I think the actual publication date was early 1970s. I'd have to go back and look for the book, which is gathering dust on a shelf in my office) that actually used the term "ramrod" to describe the hero's penis. Ramrod. Seriously. And not once, but several times in the entire book. A ramrod. A mighty ramrod, if memory serves. **insert headslap here**

I remember it made me laugh out loud when I first read it and I had to reread it to make sure I hadn't misread it the first time. Now, of course it's kind of a rule in romance that the hero's at least kind of well-endowed, but that doesn't mean an author has to be flowery or silly about it. And don't even get me started on the word "manhood". Ugh.

So please, let's just leave out all the ramrods, and manhoods, and any other flowery (or just plain stupid) euphemisms. If you can't use the actual anatomical word, perhaps you're writing the wrong stuff, especially nowadays, when it's perfectly acceptable to use the actual words (or slang derivatives.) The last thing you want is for your readers to laugh at you, instead of with you.

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