Editor-in-Chief Kelli Collins’ rant-o-rama continues…
We’ve all seen lists upon lists of words/phrases that should be banished from the romance writers’ lexicon (see the Smart Bitches’ scathingly witty post on lave/lathe).
You don't think I'm gonna be left out, do you? I'm a child of the '80s, after all...sorta...and if there's one thing I love, it's a good list (I tried to get Hal Sparks to narrate, but it seems VH1 owns him).
Most of these aren’t new, just particularly vexing to yours truly. Call me a word Nazi, but if you’ve had to beg authors to take these words out of a couple hundred books, you’d be a bit uppity too. And there are so many more, but frequency of use was the criteria here. Just seeing any of the words below makes me shudder. They should be rounded up, blindfolded and put in front of a firing squad of sharpshooting grammar enthusiasts.
That whole freedom of speech thing requires I mention these words are, of course, still allowed in our books. So by all means, continue using them if you’d like to see a grown woman cry.
Dance: In any form. List Classic. (See my recent Annoy-o-Meter.)
Mine: Mine! MineMineMine! MINE! Okay, we get it. You’re alpha. And monosyllabic.
Little one: Common nickname for heroines, particularly those starring in BDSM novels (WTF?). If a guy called me this, I’m juuust feminist enough to punch him in the crotch.
Like never before: Some characters lead very sheltered lives.
Velvet fist (F)/Velvet rod (M): Actually, pretty much velvet anything is cliché. And coupled with the vampire genre, well...you might as well stick a long black cape in there too.
Fire/inferno/blaze: Almost impossible not to use, or so I’m told; used most often to describe the body, and specific parts thereof. If you’re going to use fire references, perhaps be kind enough to include a list of the sexiest ways I can incinerate myself.
Womb: Stop it. Just…stop.
“You’re wearing too many clothes.” Well, they are the reason we're allowed in public. Oh, were that we were all wizards who could magically make our clothes disappear when the mood strikes. Where's our alpha Harry Potter when we need him?
Water references: wave after wave, crashing waves, cresting waves, tsunami (in reference to any emotion), etc.
Cliff references: Per Meghan: "You know what happens when you fall off a cliff? You die!"
“looked through his/her lashes”: Um…don’t we all?
Anything that pierces “straight to his/her soul”: Maybe I’m a heartless wench, but I’ve never felt a damn thing “straight to my soul”, including anyone’s gaze (most frequent use). Does anybody think/talk like this? Do they admit it?
References to heroines who can (finally!) “take his length”: Can’t believe how often I see this in the hero’s POV. Not only am I uninterested in the specific size of your character’s tool, thoughts like this make him sound like one.