Booking Through Thursday 10-4: “Decorum”

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Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I don’t have a problem with either as long as they serve the story and are in character. If they’re being used for no real purpose other than shock value, then I’m not too interested.

I’ve heard it said that excessive use of profanity is an indicator of a poor vocabulary, and to some extent I agree. There can be far more creative ways to express things than the same old seven words you can’t say on television. At the same time, when you’re putting words in a character’s mouth, they have to suit that character’s situation and circumstances – and sometimes the expletives are what will sound right, rather than sweet surrogates like “sugar” and “fudge.”

I don’t seek out books with a lot of explicitly sexy parts – and if that’s most of the book, it’s probably not for me – but again, it depends how well it serves the story and characters. For the most part, I prefer a little more euphemism in this area; but having said that, I don’t really enjoy a romantic scene that’s all metaphor, either. But I can imagine that it’s tough for an author to determine just how to mix the description and the metaphor, and when and if to fade out on the scene – which is why I doubt I’ll ever write one!

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  1. One of the reasons I appreciate Nora Roberts as a romance author is her ability to focus on the EMOTION in a sex scene instead of the same old “insert tab A into Slot B” mentality.

    And, profanity? Okay in moderation if it stays true to the character. But I hate when it’s peppered throughout for shock value.

    Happy BTT!

  2. So—many years ago I took a creative writing class in college. Our assignment one week: to write a sex scene. I complied. A week later I received my paper back. The teacher had neatly written on the top, “Nice try.”

    I have never tried to write a sex scene since.

    That being said, I am far more offended by books that waste my time by being poorly written and conceived than by sex or profanity. If it’s just there to shock, well, that is poor conception and thus offensive! If well done (rare), then it doesn’t bother me.