Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let's Talk About...

Well, here I am again. It’s the second week and therefore this is my second post. There have been some excellent thought provoking posts by my fellow bloggers so far. It’s great to be in such company. I feel so humbled.

Will you get such intellectual content with me?

You can be the judge of that. Let me just say I’m going to get down and dirty this week. So if you’re offended by naughty words and ‘erotic’ content, then perhaps you shouldn’t read on…

Okay…now that I have the attention of those that can handle a bit of spice, this week I’m gonna talk about the words writers use to describe certain body parts that cost a fortune to cover up (I really think underwear shops are way too pricey for the little bit of cloth you end up getting for your money).

Over the years romantic writers have been accused of being way too creative when it comes to describing male and female genitalia. So what do you call your characters bits and pieces in your own writing? What’s acceptable? What’s not?

Remember, each character will have their own language, background and culture, so the descriptions you use will naturally have to fit in with the characters and what the prose style can handle. What I talk about here in this article is a generalization only.

So let’s start with the male, shall we?

First there’s the correct term ‘penis’. Yep, penis. Sounds okay? Well, say it three times and see. There. Now you know it’s a terrible word, isn’t it? It sounds so nasally and quite frankly…wimpy.

Imagine (if you’ll bear with me for a moment) that your perfect lover has come into your bedroom late at night. He’s naked and ready to give you his undivided attention *nudge nudge wink wink* He’s a man that’s all rippling muscles and no talk, just the way you like it. As he looks down at you, his smile is inviting and his eyes are deep and soulful. He reaches out to grab you with his strong hands. You’re all his, utterly and completely…Then you look down. There it is, magnificent and oh, so ready…his penis. Say what? What a silly little word to be putting in such a deeply emotional moment. Surely, there’s got to be a better word?

So how about ‘prick’ then? Well, following that logic, you’ll probably be writing something like: “He pierced me with his prick.” No. Not romantic at all. Sure it’s animalistic and may be appropriate for some scenes. But not for the one I’ve created above.

We need a word that’s powerful and masculine, yet not corny or makes you want to burst out in laughter. Laughing at your man who’s in the mood for love is not good for his ego or other parts of him…trust me on that one. Also, words like ‘wang’ or ‘schlong’ or ‘love stick’ are to be avoided at all costs, especially in a romantic scene. They evoke all the wrong things. Period. I mean, it’s almost like when a man names his own dick and then says so at an intimate moment. Imagine him saying: “My big Johnny wants to get all wet and warm, Baby.” LOL That’s seriously wrong and not exactly a turn on, is it?

I think in this case ‘cock’ would fit as the word to describe his penis. It’s short, sharp, sexy and describes exactly what you want without being overly so.

So how about the ladies then?

You know, I really feel it’s more difficult to find the right word for the vagina. To find a word that sounds sensual, sexy, feminine and again doesn’t make you want to roar with laughter as soon as they are spoken isn’t easy. Nothing makes me giggle more than a woman saying “Oh give it to me right in my snatch.” Besides sounding absolutely crass it would really make me laugh and therefore kill any mood that may have been built up at that point in time.

The real word ‘Vagina’ is too clinical, in my opinion. It’s the word you whisper to your doctor when you need to tell him/her something personal about ‘down there.’ In fact, it’s a word that’s only ever been used if it’s absolutely necessary.

So how about ‘pussy’? Well, that could work. It’s a word that’s used more often than not in most cases. I mean, it does conjure up warmth and softness and is quite feminine, which is what’s required for sensual scenes between lovers.

But is it the right word? Are any of the words I have mentioned right? Sometimes finding the right word is a matter of discovering which one works for your writing at the time of it being written. An 18th century lord/lady would use different terminology than a 21st century blue collar worker for example. Just remember, avoid purple prose if you can.

So whether you like to write about the naughty bits or not, one day you’re going to have to describe them, especially in the romance genre. In my opinion that’s when the fun begins. Experiment. Have fun. That’s what it’s all about anyway.

Thanks for listening to me dribble on. I’ll talk to you all next time.


Mark Alders.


Sierra Wolfe said...

Excellent post, Mark! I don't know how many times I've heard authors discussing this very topic. If I had a nickel... well, you know what I mean.

You did a wonderful job explaining it and not making it sound silly. Thanks for sharing!

Mark Alders said...

Thank you, Sierra!

I got my times confused. I needed to post a little week I will be on time :-)

Sierra Wolfe said...

It doesn't matter, Mark. There is no set time. You can post when you feel up to it.

Alisha Paige said...

Great blog, Mark! That's one of the most difficult things about writing erotica. Thank goodness my first erotica was critiqued by my good friend, Regina Carlysle (an amazing erotica author) who would gently tell me...say ass, honey...take rump out.....snicker...and you know, she's sounded like a roast.

Mark Alders said...

Why thank you, Alisha! That made my day :-)

I think I'll have some chocolate now *giggle*

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