Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Timeless Prose for the Romance Writer

by Raelene Gorlinsky

I enjoy the website Awful Library Books. "This site is a collection of public library holdings that we find amusing and maybe questionable for public libraries trying to maintain a current and relevant collection. Contained in this site are actual library holdings." Librarians post about books they are weeding out of the library. Many are old and no longer relevant - and hysterical.

Given I work in romance publishing, I was, umm, entranced by the 1984 Romance Writers' Phrase Book by Jean Kent and Candace Shelton. Yep, over 3000 phrases you can use to enliven your romance writing and bring variety to your prose. The section on sex scenes includes such unusually creative suggestions as:

his glance slid rapidly to her bathing suit and his mouth softened
she noticed he was watching her intently
his gaze traveled over her face and searched her eyes
there was a tingling in the pit of her stomach
he was as eager and erratic as a summer storm
her body ached for his touch
she was powerless to resist
And for a really super-graphic sex scene in 1984:
she was pleased with their initial intimacy (Oh, boy, doesn't that just turn you on!)

You can find many other helpful suggestions in the book pages displayed.

At the end of the post, it mentioned the book was for sale on eBay. Don't bother trying for it - I rushed right over and bought it. I must have this for my collection!


anny cook said...

Wow. If I'd known... I have that book somewhere on my shelves. Most likely it's next to the complete encyclopedia of romance author's pen-names.

Fran Lee said...

Oh, Anny! You little devil, you! Snort! And I thought my copy of "Racy words and sexy expressions" was the big winner.

Annabel Joseph said...

I own that book too. *blush*

But then I love those purple prose bodice rippers of the 70's and 80's. I much prefer them to modern romance.

Barbara Elsborg said...

We should try not to laugh too much. These phrases were probably pushing the boundaries at one time. You never know, someone might be laughing at us, fifty years from now.
I really do want to use that swimsuit one.......

anny cook said...

When I bought it, it was cutting edge. And Annabel, I still have a lot of the original bodice rippers on my shelf, too.