Packing Heat 112: Late Additions
Listener FeedbackNobilis Reed asked me to add a word to my "please don't" list: lave.
The primary definition:
verb [ trans. ] poetic/literary
wash : she ran cold water in the basin, laving her face and hands.
It had never occurred to me that the primary definition of the word "lave" was to wash. But if that's the case, why is it commonly used in erotica as a synonym of "lick?"
-Many erotic romance writers read primarily in their own genre. All it takes is one writer to say "lave" rather than "lick," someone else to repeat the weird usage, and so on. Pretty soon, much of the genre thinks it's a great synonym.
-It sounds writerly. Even the piddly dictionary on my computer marks it as poetic/literary!
I challenge you to get in touch with the reality of something, your own shoes, and to observe and describe them multiple times in plain, honest words. Don't try to sound like a writer. Look, and analyze. Look, and analyze. Feel, and analyze.
Try to break the habit of going through multiple filters, of describing what you think something is like rather than observing it, and then saying it in a way you think a writer would say it, instead of just using honest language.
Late AdditionsSpoilers ahead for the TV show Heroes!
As I'm working my way through the final season of Heroes, I'm shocked that I don't like one of the story lines more. It's a carnival. I love carnivals! I think the main guy is hot! So why don't I like it?
Because it's dropped in out of nowhere, as if they hope the coolness, the spectacle of it, will be enough to carry the story.
Another new element was a flashback to a 1960's interment camp that featured teenaged versions of many of the show's past and present older generation characters being rounded up and experimented on. I LOVED IT. It felt like it was seething under the surface of the show for the past three years.
I think we can use this as writers. If we need to introduce a new element toward the end of the book, we can do so—but only if we tie it in to something that happened early on in the story and make it seem as if we've been hinting toward it all along.
Your AssignmentTake your longest work in progress and re-read the first few chapters, focusing on what sorts of promises you made. How can you fulfill them—maybe with a twist—in a way that will satisfy your readers?
Also, I'd welcome comments or questions I can use on the show!
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