Hi, Contemporary Romance Café! I’m happy to have new friends to chat with today.
If you don’t remember me from the last I blogged with you (and why should you?) I wrote Harlequin American Romances and Superromances from 1983 to 2004, temporarily lost my way, then returned to write for Harlequin Heartwarming in 2012. I love being back.
I’m never controversial, but I’d like to take a poll on how you feel about the language in women’s fiction these days and why. I’m just wondering if our publishers are rightly keeping up with the times and the state of our language, or if going to publication with words that have been on the mustn’t-speak list in romance and even most homes is a mistake.
In the Eighties, getting beyond the bedroom door in category romance was something new. But the language we used was always respectful of the beauty and wonder of making love.
One of my favorite mainstream authors still writes wonderful stories, but has the heroine talking like a longshoreman. (and that may be a disservice to longshoremen.) Even more surprising to me, I recently read a piece of category fiction that was beautifully done – except for the language in the love scenes. Crass words for body parts took me completely by surprise and broke the cardinal rule for story-spinning – Never do anything to break the spell you’ve cast over the reader. If big words the reader has to look up does that, then words the author has to live down really does it big time.
I grew up in New England with parents who were first generation American. Our home was a pretty gentle environment, so my experience may be unusual – or not. Even my father never swore except once when he closed his hand in the car door. At about eight years old, I was both shocked and impressed.
It’s entirely possible I’m just behind the times. We’re so determined to live without limits or restraints of any kind, that it’s just a sign of progress. But shouldn’t progress be an improvement? What’s going to become of the language, those who speak it – and those of us who write it – if we don’t use it to treat each other with grace and care?
That’s how I feel, but please, please, tell me if you disagree. I really want to know. Maybe we’ll all learn something.
Muriel lives with her husband, Ron, in an old foursquare Victorian looking
down on the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon. They share their home with Cheyenne, a neurotic husky mix, and a tabby horde (there are only two, but they come in screaming, and she imagines them wearing armor and wielding swords as they eat everything in sight and take hostages for evening TV watching). They have three children, eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and a collection of the most interesting and generous friends and neighbors. They feel truly blessed!
Muriel has sold more than 70 books and novellas, and has had such a great time it’s almost embarrassing.