Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Story - words

Today I want to talk about words and word choices. You see, I'm doing edits, so words are on my mind.

I'm a repetitive bugger. 90% of my edits are for repetition of words or phrases. I get a word in my head and nothing will change it. I use it over and over and over again. Do I notice? Nope! But it would drive a reader demented!

So I sit with my thesaurus and use new words. Sometimes I don't even need a thesaurus because different ways of phrasing, or different word choices are there, as soon as it's pointed out - which is rather embarrassing!

But there are some words I just can't use. Mostly the 'sex' words.

For me, 'pussy' is a cat. I really can't use that word for other purposes. And that leads to a problem - there aren't a lot of choices. I usually go with 'cunt' but I know a lot of readers find that crude and derogatory...I don't. Out of the two, I will always go with 'cunt'. I quite like 'quim' but that's so historical, I don't think it has a place in contemporary stories. I have used 'lady parts', 'mons', 'labia', and 'nether lips' because I've run out of other choice. Often I try to imply rather than be explicit, but sometimes you need a body part for clarity.

And then the male bits. 'Balls' is okay, I can use that. I'm not a fan of 'dick'. To me it's a boy's name, or a 'limp dick' and not something masculine and impaling. 'Cock' and 'penis' are my choices. I have used 'shaft' but to me that's not the entire organ.

I write erotica so I can describe the sexual action and body parts, so I try to keep away from the purple prose and flowery descriptions. But my background is science and I'm often drawn to the scientific descriptions, but then I worry that people might need an anatomical chart to decode the scene! I don't want that!

So...edits are fun but they're not easy. They really show up my laziness, and my pig-headedness in not using the words I don't like. But I do like seeing my story becoming all gleaming and polished. I love how smooth the reading becomes. I particularly love the little comments this editor has put in the text - times when she's shocked, or when she likes something, or when she sees a deeper meaning in a scene. It's special.

So, do you have any words you hate to read/use?

Are you fond of edits?


  1. Hi Cate
    I like editing. I think of it like 'haircuts'... You start by hacking off a whole heap of dead-ends... and gradually you start snipping here or there, shaping etc... and by the end you have a beautiful shiny new cut.
    The biggest word I found that could be cut out of my writing were two easy ones: "down" and "back"... so many times you can drop that word all together and you never knew it was there. Like: "She sat back down." "She sat down." "She sat."
    Enjoy your edits. I'm glad your editor is enjoying the story.

    1. Nice analogy, Lily :)

      Oh, yeah, those words are good ones. I'm a big fan of "just" and "that". I write heaps of them and take most of them out! Now they jar me when I read them! LOL

      Cate xox