By Kirsten Scott
A few weeks ago, I sent a draft of a short story I was working on to my critique partner. It was my first attempt at erotica, so I was curious what she'd thought of my efforts. Overall, she was enthusiastic, but she had a really strong reaction to a particular word I'd used. It started with "c" and ended with "t" and she absolutely hated it. Couldn't I use a different word? Something that started with "p" perhaps?
Now unfortunately, my reaction to the "p" word was almost as strong as her reaction to the "c" word. It completely turns me off. To me, that word sounds silly and adolescent boy-ish. Not a bit sexy. I'm not entirely happy with the "c" word-I understand there are those, like my CP, who find it jarring and violent, something a man would use but a woman would not. But I like it better than some of my alternatives.
Of course, we've all got our little turn-ons and turn-offs, from individual words to overall story-lines. I love stories about the "last of the line," the orphan who must be found because s/he alone can save the world. My favorite of this kind is Dragonflight, the fabulous Anne McCaffery book. I love a good romance where the heroine is mistreated by the hero, who will later have to make it up to her in any number of ways (try Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesean, if you're like me!)
As for turn-offs...well, I tried to think of some, but the truth is, I can enjoy almost any tried and true plot line, if it's written well. Amnesia, twins, Cinderella, marriage of convenience, you name it, I've enjoyed it. Oh wait--I thought of one! Unhappy endings. I absolutely refuse to read them. I guess that's why I stick to the romance section. ;-)
So what about you? What are your turn-ons and turn-offs? It can be a word or an entire genre--dish the dirt!