November 29th, 2008

Paul Neyron rose 2

thoughts on proofreading erotica


     With all the proofreading I've been doing, I couldn't stand not being able to explain exactly which grammatical rules an author was breaking.  Sometime I really need to read all of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.  I've skimmed bits of that one, but haven't read it straight through.  However, I did pick up a shorter grammar book today: Nitty-Gritty Grammar.  And I read that one through.  Among other things, it explains about misplaced modifiers and dangling participles.  So much of what the book said, I just knew automatically, from reading as much as I do.  But I feel better being able to turn to a rule to explain why something is an error.  I took particular interest in the rules for when you use hyphens.  Not as often as I'd like to, apparently.  You do use them with compound adjectives before a noun, but not if compound modifiers follow the noun.  I have to remember that one.

     Other resources mentioned included: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, & the Doomed and Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, A Beastly Guide Through the Writer's Labyrinth.  How are those for cool titles?  Thinking about cool titles, a general book I have about romance is Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.  Some of the essays in that book are more persuasive to me than others, but they're generally fairly thought-provoking.  I have a mini-collection of books about writing.  More about character creation and genres, though, as they're subjects I'm more interested in.

     There are some word usage questions which really only do come up in erotica, though.  Should it be "blow job" or "blowjob"?  "Cockhead" or "cock head"?  I think that as long as you pick one way and stick with it, you should be all right.  Then there's the extreme pronoun challenge of m/m/m sexual interaction.  You really have to be very alert as to who is doing what to whom.

     I have to admit that when I read about certain sex acts, I just think, "Ouch, ouch, ouch."  Then I remind myself that what I'm reading is fiction.  I've come to realize that m/f BDSM scenes bother me notably more than m/m BDSM scenes.  I suppose part of it is that I think there's an inherent power imbalance in m/f relations anyway.  It doesn't seem like the characters get to know each other well enough first, or negotiate very much -- or at all.  I admit that I have been reading shorter pieces, but there should be some ground rules.  I don't know if that would really make it seem better to me as far as m/f stories.  M/m stories just seem to start with much more of an initial feeling of equality, for me.  Although in m/m D/s fiction, the Dom is usually a big, muscular man, and the sub is little and pretty, and that cliche is getting a bit tired for me.  It can be well done, but I'd definitely like to see more variation in there.  Overall, I generally like m/m stories in which the guys switch.  Not that they need to take turns every single time, but just so it's not that one guy seems to always have one particular role in every act.  That seems limiting to me.  I know some men might genuinely prefer always taking one role -- this is just my feeling about it in what I'm reading.

More later...