Monday, August 17, 2009

Going with the flow

By Jenna Byrnes

Someone once said, "I may not know art, but I know what I like." I feel like that when it comes to discussing the topic of so-called 'bad language' in erotic writing. I don't have a list of do's and don'ts when it comes to words I'll use. I go with the flow, writing what feels natural. Though I must admit, sometimes I'll change wording two or three times before I send it off to my second set of eyes, Jude. What she doesn't fiddle with my editor probably will, so I'm not stuck like glue to any one thing I write.

I agree with Lisabet that we use some words to titillate, but as she said, a skilled author should be able to do that without the reader catching on. One of my editors has a real negative thing about repeated words in the same paragraph (or on the same page, even.) So frankly, sometimes I get creative with language to keep from repeating words.

I don't swear a lot in my every day life, so when it's appropriate I let my characters cuss. One of my favorite expressions is "Well, f*ck me." Not that original or creative, but used in context, (with the proper amount of sarcasm or incredulous-ness), I like it.



And I feel the need to express my thoughts on a comment left on Lisabet's post yesterday- someone (I won't say who *cough* Garce *cough*) said he can't stand the term 'pre-cum'.

Excuse me?

I write m/m erotic romance. We got pre-cum out the ying yang, here, folks. We got pre-cum before we even get out of our jeans. We need the term pre-cum, and use it frequently. I never thought it sounded clinical at all. Honestly, when I started writing I didn't use the spelling 'cum' thinking it sounded porn-ish, but editors have since informed me that 'come' is a verb and 'cum' is the product, or a noun. So we got cum all over the place in my books, folks. I think it's expected when you write m/m sex. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

It's all part of going with the flow.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Jenna,

    Excellent post.

    'pre-cum out the ying yang' Now you really are confusing me with all the clinical terms :-)

    I don't think I've ever used 'cum' in my writing, prefering the traditional spelling of 'come.' Like you, I've always thought cum has 'pornish' connotations.

    I'm not sure I can agree with the editors who argue that it's a difference between the verb form and the noun usage. I think the etymology could probably be traced back to spelling errors.

    Thankfully, I've usually found myself working with editors who are OK with my way of spelling.

    Best,

    Ashley

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  2. Hi, Jenna,

    Actually, I prefer "come" to "cum". But if an editor/publisher wants it the other way, hey, I'm easy.

    As for "pre-cum", well, when I'm writing M/M (which I've been doing lately), I do want to mention it because it's a signal of arousal. I try to write around the need to use the word when I can, describing wetness or slickness or droplets.

    Up the yin/yang, though...that's a body part I'm not familiar with!

    Oh, and how do you feel about prostates?

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  3. Hey Ash,

    All of my editors right now insist on the 'cum' is a noun, 'come' is a verb thing, so maybe things are changing in that direction.

    As far as the ying yang (or yin/yang in more clinical terms...) Sometimes you just have to mix things up!

    Thanks for commenting,

    Jenna

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  4. Hi Lisabet,

    I use wetness, slickness and droplets, too. But sometimes you just gotta call it what it is. *G*

    I seriously did prefer the usage of 'come' until so many editors started correcting me on it, in big epubs and small ones. So now when I see strictly the 'come' usage I think it's either a new, timid author or poor editing. Just my observation!

    Thanks for commenting!

    Jenna

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  5. Oh, and Lisabet- I have no feeling about prostrates one way or the other. That's one area I haven't written into my stories much, if ever. So I guess I can take 'em or leave 'em! heh heh heh

    Jenna

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  6. Hey Jenna,

    I'm with you on the come verses cum spelling. I used come, after being told by a publisher it was more polished. That was a few years ago and it seems it's changed. Sigh!

    Oh, the prostate. I've used the term, many times. Now I'm wondering if I'm the 'only' one. LOL

    Fun post.

    Hugs

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  7. Hey Jenna;

    Shades of Lenny Bruce: "To is a preposition, Come is a verb."

    He got busted for that.

    Garce

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  8. Hey Jude and Garce,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I suspect writing is a subjective thing, and if you can get something past an editor, I say go for it!

    Lenny Bruce was a hoot. I absolutely loved his "Masked Man" cartoon, where the Masked Man wanted Tonto to 'perform an unnatural act' and the people went around screaming "Masked Man's a fag!" It was hilarious.

    Take care,

    Jenna

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