Monday, August 9, 2010

This Is Almost a Disgusting Post

Tip of the Day: How is revising a novel like a toilet? Check out Carmella's post at MigWriters.

As a general rule, I don't like to write that my main character almost did something. She shouldn't almost trip up the front step; she should slam into the front door. But I make an exception for a couple of things.

We all know what it's like to nearly vomit, and I don't want to read about that. Really. "She almost threw up" is good enough for me.

Strange things come in threes, and by coincidence, I think the last three books I've read have had characters--well, to be kindergarten polite about it, pee their pants in fear. They were secondary characters, so I couldn't get in their heads to hear that they almost peed. No, I had to see it. I would rather not have.

I'm all for realism, but if it should go in the toilet, can we almost see it instead of actually see it? Unless your main character is flushing her ex-boyfriend's love letters down the toilet. That I want to see.

Anyone disagree with me? Or feel free to add something to the "let's almost and not actually see it" list. (I'll refrain from adding a picture to this post!)

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Liviania said...

Masturbation. I don't mind if characters do it (in fact, it makes them seem real), but I prefer a subtle, "I had to spend extra time in the shower today," to an actual description. It feels too intimate to read about it actually happening. So almost, but not quite show it.

Anonymous said...

As with anything, the arbiter is what we actually need to show. Sometimes we need to "go there" (wherever it is); sometimes, we don't. I haven't seen a lot of gratuitous stuff in books--at least, nothing that leaps to mind right now. But there are things I never need to see/hear again on TV:

people crunching food loudly (apples, chips, candy bars)

people vomiting (at some point, it became OK to show upchucking on TV, and now it seems obligatory for them to show it in full color and sound. Oh, for the days of the hand-clap over the mouth and the run offstage!)

DeenaML said...

Liviania, I'm with you.

Kate, my MC pukes twice so far in my book...and I worried the 2nd time that it was too much but 2 of the Helper Monkeys didn't mind.... I don't DESCRIBE the vomit, though, lol!

Kate Fall said...

Oh Liviania, I am so in agreement. And Deena, you write your vomit scenes very tastefully. You know, not drawn out over a page or anything. :)

Kate Fall said...

Ha, anonymous, my daughter and I have a running joke about commercials (Twix I'm looking at you) where all you see and hear is people chewing. Who thought that would sell food? Gross!