1. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    I'd rather you didn't...

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Nicki_G, Apr 30, 2013.

    Do you have any words (or phrases) that you simply can't use in your writing, not because they don't fit but because they're unsettling?
     
  2. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    There are few words more unsettling than "moist," in any context.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think there are any words I wouldn't use because I find them unsettling, but there may be some I'd be careful with because I'm worried that readers would find them so. For example, when I chose my forum name here, I wasn't aware that "minstrel" has a racist connotation in the USA. The main character in my novel is a minstrel (in an alternate-history Earth), and the word appears in the manuscript many times. Sometimes I worry about that, but not enough to change it.

    There are political words I'd be careful using. The word "conservative" doesn't mean in the USA what it meant in Canada when I was growing up there, and its meaning seems to change depending on what part of the country it's used in. Same with "socialism," "fascism," and others words. I want to be understood, and that means that, given better options, I'll steer clear of politically-charged words.
     
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  4. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    I know so many people who find that word more than unsettling and I don't understand it. I'd use it before I use damp or something similar.
     
  5. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I stay away from the hardcore racial epithets, even with my most despicable of characters.
     
  6. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    I think it's just the way it sounds - it's a bit like the sound you get when you squish something really over-saturated with something wet and sticky. It's just got this gross, clammy feeling to it, at least to a lot of people. When I see it used to describe that's supposed to be pleasant, like cake or ladybits, suddenly it just sounds really unappealing.
     
  7. jeepea
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    jeepea Member

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    Interesting. I know the connotation, but it wouldn't come to mind while reading any modern novel. When I see the word, I visualize a medieval entertainer.
     
  8. billywhizz100
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    billywhizz100 Member

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    As a business writer covering digital media, I always slip into the habit of talking about "penetration." For example, smartphone penetration in the UK is.... etc. If that doesn't sound inappropriate enough, I was recently persuaded to drop all references to penetration in a report I was writing about digital media use among teenagers!!
     
  9. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    what's the world coming to when you can't talk about penetrating teenagers.
     
  10. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I was looking for a insult that a female would say to another female the other day, and my girlfriend told me that she once called someone a cum guzzling gutter slut. After careful consideration I decided there was no possible way I would put that in a novel. not hating on her creativity, but some things are better not put into literature.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    can't say i do... i'm sure there's a plausible reason for using any word in any language... even the 'baddest' ones might be normal for a character to use in dialog...
     
  12. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    That's a pretty rough insult; but your anecdote could be fictionalized and used in a story, no? I can imagine a story about bullying, or teenage girls, where that language is used by a character.

    But, like you, I'd rather leave it to other authors to write that number.
     
  13. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    i don't think anything is off the table so long as there's a warning somewhere - over 18s mild to strong language contained, explicit sex scenes etc

    I have a character, a horrible little bleep and I can't think of enough horrid slurs for him.

    Interesting some people don't like the word moist... I have only one meaning for it and its already been alluded to. And minstrel is racist? Some people need to get a grip if we can't use everyday words like minstrel in case someone takes offence... There was a whole PC movement going on where they couldn't use manhole (sexist) blackmail (racist) and so on... it got really stupid.
     
  14. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    well then I guess I can't go around blackmailing minstrels with the threat of putting them down manhole. now I'm going to have to find something else to do this weekend.
     
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  15. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    To be fair, the racist connotation that minstrel has in the United States has to do with its connection to "Blackface", a racist vaudeville act.
     
  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't really have hate-words as such, but sometimes when the writer is really in love with some word, it starts to annoy the hell out of me. Such words have been, lemme think, 'acrid', 'sycophant', and 'gingerly', at least.

    Then there's a variety of vulgar words/expressions that partly put me off, partly crack me up. Like dick cheese.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Armpit. It's such a horrible word. I can't even use it in daily conversations.

    I also sometimes find it a little odd when the word "nostril" is used. "He flared his nostrils" or "The acrid smell attacked her nostrils". *shudders*

    And for some reason, snort. Whether it's a girl or guy, but especially a girl, it just feels wrong.

    Funnily enough, I used to use both "nostril" and "snort" without problems lol.
     
  18. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That word has romantic connotations in my native tongue. It's kainalo. We say tulehan kainaloon = come to my armpit (a direct translation).

    As in I want to put my arms around you, honey.
    So... yeah.
     
  19. BUDDY GORGEOUS
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    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

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    Its going to sound stupid but two come to mind for me after reading what KaTrian's post here about authors using words they have obviously fallen in love with. I went through a mahoooooosive Shaun Hutson phase once and thinking back I cringe when he uses the phrase 'crimson liquid' EVERY time blood appears in the story. It used to grip my sheesh every time, haha. The other I have to mention is Lee Child 'Killing floor'. I read it a few months ago and couldn't put it down, enjoyed it muchly. But every piece, and I mean EVERY piece of dialogue would end with 'right' or 'OK'. Doesn't seem bad right? maybe I should lighten up right? Ok, I will, I mean, like, who am I to pick at a super selling author right? AAAARGH!!! ...I know it's strange, not as if they are offensive in any way but God they seriously bugged me something stupid. I find, when reading, that words and phrases have a hard time making me recoil or flinch and thats not meant to be bravado or ego talking. I remember though reading alot of James Ellroy when I was a teenager and when the word 'n***er' would pop up (and it often would) I would think, dude, you cant use that! ..but now so many years on, I think Im a little too far gone (not that Im racist or condone it in any way!). When my missus reads she hates the word 'C**t' popping up.
     

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