*pinches bridge of nose, sighs*
As a writer, I’m of the firm belief that I should read extensively in my field in order to know what’s popular, what’s not, and how best to entertain my audience when I write a story. (Of course, I also read outside my field so that I’m exposed to new concepts and don’t get boring as fuck, but that will be a topic for another post.). As a result, I’ve got one hell of a big library, both hardcopy and electronic, which includes a wide variety of SF, mystery, and erotic romance novels.
The electronic library is fairly new and is primarily erotic romance, mainly because of two things that happened at the same time — 1) I finally decided to load the Kindle app onto my iPad and 2) I discovered Bookstrand.com. As a result, I wound up buying a lot of ER novels over the last couple of months, both for pleasure and to study the field as I started writing in it. Some of these novels are by amazing writers such as Tymber Dalton (I cheerfully admit that I’ve got about half of her backlist on my iPad right now, and I plan on buying the rest as treats for myself when I hit certain writing goals), and they are a delight to read.
And then there are the ER writers, some of them mightily prolific, who…well, let’s be honest. They really, really need to work on their dialogue. There’s one series in particular that’s a guilty pleasure for me because I happen to enjoy the worldbuilding and the hot man-on-man action, but oh my sweet Fanny Adams the characters’ dialogue literally has me squirming in my seat, and not in the fun tingly way. Look, if you have two gorgeous wranglers ready to tear off their jeans and make with the sweet Alpha/beta man love, you expect them to sound…well, like guys in heat. Which is to say, grunts, moans, and sighed phrases along the lines of, “Oh, fuck, baby, your ass is so tight.” When they sound more like pedantic female English professors, it pours ice water on what should be a smoking hot scene and yanks me right out of the story.
That isn’t to say that a writer needs to be restricted to a certain class of words while writing a sex scene — I’ve read some pyroclastically hot stuff that never once named body parts. If a writer doesn’t want to use terms like cock, cunt, or asshole, that’s fine — different strokes and all that. Nonetheless, I damn well expect said writer to write dialogue appropriate to a character’s gender, social class and educational level, and if that character would say something like, “Get your ass in the air so I can fuck it nice and slow, baby,” then the writer had best pull on their Big Kid panties and use the appropriate words, or start writing in another genre. I mean, really, does anyone think that a big hairy-chested rancher who’s also an Alpha shifter would say, “Present to me — I want to view you”? (No, that’s not a real line of dialogue. Or at least I hope it isn’t.)
Don’t know what your cowboy would say? Rent some Westerns. Hang out at a kicker bar and eavesdrop. Go browse the local gear store and keep an ear out for conversations. That goes for any character — cops don’t talk like construction workers, professors don’t talk like engineers, etc. Do a little research, get a feel for how people talk. Just because characters are fucking like bunnies in Viagra is no reason to get sloppy with their creation and development.
Really, I don’t ask for much in exchange for my $6. Hell, I can even live with the gross overuse of the whole “you are my destined mate” trope if the sex is hot enough and I care about the characters. But please don’t make your cowboys sound like dowager duchesses — it just ain’t right.