Just curious

We are writers here for the most part, and between us all, we write pretty much everything. I write on the sweet side, only write love scenes if I’m forced (although they’re fun once I get started), and am not a fan of either violence or what I called—sternly—“language” during my child-raising years. This doesn’t mean either I or other writers are lesser—it means we’re different. So, anyway, the kind of writing I do means there are words I don’t say and actions I don’t describe.

But I could. I think I’m enough of a grownup that I could write about violence and use whatever words were demanded by the sub-genre I was working on. By the same token, I’m pretty sure any of you could write a sweet story with no problem at all. We would both be bored, we would both be unhappy, but we could do it. Since we are all writers here, we’d probably do a fine job of it, too. But this brings me to what I’m curious about.

Do you have self-imposed lines you absolutely will not cross? Personally, I won’t write about the death of a child or about drowning, I suppose because they are the worst fears I’ve ever…er…feared. I won’t use the word “quip” because I absolutely despise the word. Are there subjects you won’t write about, words you won’t say, or actions you won’t even consider in your mind, much less give page space to?

If you like box sets–and who doesn’t?–keep an eye out for Small Town Summer, coming up in June. I have a story in it and am excited because the box set (and indie-anything) is a new adventure for me and I always love an adventure–as long as I don’t have to say “quip”.

Small Town Summer Intro Graphic edited-2



Just curious — 23 Comments

  1. Funny, but there are words I have no issue with–words I even told my kid that it was okay to use if he used them with discrimination and paid attention to whose company he was in. When I write, I have no problem using “language” if it fits the scene or the character, but I hate absolutely hate, hate, hate the word “mewl” or any form thereof! Ugh!! If see that word in a story, it’s an automatic shut the book and move on. I also hate “moist,” but I have no idea why. As far as things I don’t want to write, I would agree with the death of a child, although that theme is in my next book, but not the actual scene. And I’m not that fond of writing sex scenes–I’ve done it and I’ll do it again, but it makes me uncomfortable. I absolutely won’t write bondage or any kind of BDSM–nope, can’t go there. And horror–can’t go there either.

    • I’ll never write those things, either, because they don’t interest me, but I think I could if I had to. Whereas if I have to hang my story on a child being killed or, worse yet, tortured, I’m not doing it.

  2. There are several words I never use, but it doesn’t bother me to read them. As far as off color language, yes, I may have a character with a potty mouth. He’s usually the bad guy. The hardest, for me, is sex scenes. I don’t know the words to describe some things without sounding clinical. I’m just not comfortable with it.

    • I should add – no violence toward children. They may be threatened, but they won’t come to any harm.
      In my last book, the family pet gets killed. I still hate that scene.

    • Yeah, I’m good with reading them, unless there is so much of it (the “language”) I can’t find the story anymore. With sex scenes, I probably err to the side of too many euphemisms.

  3. Congrats on the boxed set, Liz! That’s a great way to venture into indie publishing. Wish I had the chance to just stick a toe in like that. :-) I write steamy romance, and the love scenes are sometimes pretty detailed. Yet, there are certain terms I don’t incorporate. If I try to use one of those words, I usually end up editing it out later b/c it just doesn’t feel right for me. Yet, I read romances that use similar language and it doesn’t bother me at all. Odd, I know.

  4. Congrats on the boxed set, Liz. I wish you many sales! There are several words, especially in love-making scenes, that I hate to use. Like Reese, I might put them in during a first draft, but I take them out later. They just aren’t me!

  5. Hey, Liz! I’ve written many a steamy love scene, but never EVER use ugly words. It bothers me, too, if I’m reading someone else’s book with those words in it. I’ll keep reading, but the spell is broken. If they’re in a love scene, I think it takes the action down in style. Congratulations on the boxed set. That’s very exciting!

  6. Hmm, good question. I’m not sure there’s anything I wouldn’t write about because of my own boundaries. I’ve done a story about a couple whose baby had died because it’s such a great minefield of conflict and I have several friends who have gone through it that I just couldn’t NOT write about it. (But I was aware that the mention of a baby dying scares off some readers.) I will kill off an animal or a person if the story calls for it, though not in a romance that I want to sell, LOL. But I’d definitely do it in a regular suspense/thriller type story.

    If I avoid any words it’s more because I know readers don’t like them — like people have commented about their dislike of the word “moist” — which I don’t understand at all. It’s a word, and a very good descriptive at that. Moist is different from wet, it’s different from dry. I wish I could use it but I don’t because I’m aware it makes some people squirm.

    I’m going to have to think about this — I’m not sure I have any boundaries when it comes to writing.

    • I should clarify ‘I will kill off an animal or a person if the story calls for it’ — the protagonist would not be the one to kill the animal, but if an animal or person needs to die as part of the story, well, it’s tough to write a murder mystery without killing someone off.

      • LOL. I must admit, I used to like it on TV murder mysteries when it turned out that the victim (who was always the good guy/girl) wasn’t dead after all. I guess I truly am Pollyanna to the end. :-)

        I don’t think there’s usually much rhyme or reason for dislike of a word. I certainly have no reason to hate the word quip, but hate it I do. However, I recognize the foible as my own and don’t expect other people not to use it.

  7. Well, I never say never because I’ve lived long enough to realize that never is a looonnng-assed (oops, language) time. I’ve said I won’t write about the death of a child and won’t knowingly start a book that includes the death of a child (either before the book begins or during the story), because I’ve been there, done that and am still struggling with it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t someday decide to torture myself and write that very story. I doubt I will, but never? I just don’t know. As for the sex level in a story, I don’t think I’d be bored writing a sweet romance. I certainly don’t get bored when I read one. And language is just a part of character. Some characters use it based on life experiences. Some don’t.

    • I was hesitant when I wrote the post because I remembered you’d lost your daughter and I felt as though I was adding pain where it wasn’t necessary. I’m not quite sweet enough to think of long-assed as “language” :-) You’re definitley right on target with the “never say never” part!

      I have been surprised that more people who’ve responded haven’t had trigger words like quip is with me. I think it’s cool that our triggers are different–it emphasizes that WE are different as well.

  8. Great topic! I can’t write graphic sex scenes because I just start laughing at the words that must be used. (Yes, I’m probably twelve at heart.) I won’t write about a child’s death either (I have a young son and so couldn’t possible stomach it) or rape. Fortunately, I write comedies, so this is never an issue. As for specific words, I am ALL about the profanity, no apologies, but I will not, not, NOT use the word “fist” as a verb (“he fisted his hands in her hair”) because I first learned the word’s highly pornographic meaning and can’t get past that (shudder). All the best on the box set!

    • LOL. I’ve used that! But I’m nerdy and naive enough not to know the pornographic meaning (but I think I can guess–so don’t tell me!)

      I did write a rape once, or the telling-about of a rape. It wasn’t a long scene, really, nor particularly descriptive, but it’s in the top five of the hardest scenes I’ve ever written.

  9. I’ve promised myself I will never write about the death of a child, as in blow-by-blow account, or torture against children/young people.

    But I have another line I won’t cross – and that’s sci-fi. I will never write sci-fi! Love the genre in movies but I am too much of a science zero to attempt that :)

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