Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Language

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

On Being a Published Writer
April 13, 2012
Day 12
A to Z Blogging 2012

The use of sexy language in erotic romance can be tricky. When you get to the sex, how “blue” do you go? How “purple” do you go? At what point is down and dirty too much and over the top?

“Purple prose” is often used to describe paragraphs that are more sensual than sexual in nature. No one today uses this term as a compliment. It’s generally considered to be too flowery or ornate by those who think they’re in the know.

“Blue prose” is more straightforward. Instead of writing “He pulled Joe to his knees and took him,” the sentence would be closer to, “He pulled Joe to his knees and fucked his ass.”

Hmm. Creates a dilemma, doesn’t it?

No. I don’t think it does. There’s room for both purple and blue prose in your story. Each style reflects the emotions of your characters at that moment. Let’s face it - sex isn’t the same every time it happens. So why describe it the same all the time and bore your readers?

Yes, there certainly are publishers who want nothing but sex, sex, sex, sex. They’re publishers. They are not writers. They want to sell, sell, sell, sell. So do you, but your first concern needs to be staying true to the characters and the story - and YOUR readers. If all you’re doing is going for the money, it will show. (Check back to the “E” entry for why it’s good for your book to sound like you wrote it.)

Here’s a review from Joyfully Reviewed for Seducing Light, which is my all-time best selling book.

Seducing Light is an emotional tsunami that takes you to such incredible places; from tender moments to heart breaking misery as well as red hot encounters. Asher Myles and Nick Light are complete opposites – their personalities clash, they have vastly different backgrounds and social standings yet together they are magic. Seducing Light is a story readers will remember long after the last page is finished.

You can’t get from tender to heartbreak to red hot without reflecting the emotions of your characters, and you can’t get the emotions without making the language work for you. Language sets the tone and creates the mood. I didn’t get those “tender moments” with blue prose. Nor did I get those “red hot encounters” with purple prose. I mixed it up to suit my needs, and you know what? My readers were more than smart enough to keep up.

It’s your book. You’re the author. So use language for the tool it is and to hell with the snarky comments from reviewers who got your book for free.

KC Kendricks
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Jenni Steel said...

Wow!I really like this post as it's an avenue I would like to go down and write about it myself.

I read "O" last year. I liked the way it was written and felt that it left a little to the imagination which I liked.

Perhaps the book is to dated and I should read something more recent like yours!

M. J. Joachim said...

So true...language is extremely important, as is choice of words and emotional tone. Stopping by from the A - Z Challenge. Have a nice weekend.