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21 March 2004 @ 05:00 pm
Rant: Why the Thesaurus Was Invented  
Fan fiction is a genre of memes, and not just idea-memes and plot-memes and pairing-memes. Words and phrases also spread through the fan fiction community. (For that matter, so do unrealistic ideas about sex in general and gay sex in particular, but that's a rant for another day.)

Warning: my rants are mean, petty, and bitter. If you can't get into that, don't look behind the cut.



Lave. Is there some kind of rule that says every third story must feature laving? It's a good word, people, a fine word, but it's become a trifle overused, in the same way that, say, Los Angeles freeways are a trifle overcrowded. It's OK to use "lick" occasionally. You won't be expelled from Fangirlia or anything.

Weeping Cock. I mean, yes, fine, if you must, but some stories contain so much cock-weeping that I find myself wanting to put the cock on suicide watch and search it for sharp implements. And the associations with "weep" aren't good. Sores weep. The heroines of three-volume Victorian novels weep. Cocks, especially ones engaging in sexual activity, should probably keep their weeping to a minimum.

Arching. This is a fine word that nicely conveys a common body movement during sex, and I certainly wouldn't want writers to stop using it altogether. But overuse of it leaves every story sounding like a manual for aqueduct manufacture and every character sounding like a patient with tetanus.

Pale Cock. Cocks are not pale, especially not in a sexual situation, so this phrase should not occur in fan fiction nearly as much as it does. The only time I can really see that phrase being useful is maybe, maybe, in the aftermath of an Anne Rice-type vampire attack, and even then it's probably - no, make that certainly - better not to go there.

Wailing, Howling, Shrieking et al. Words like this fit in the category of "We know what you mean, but we wish you would come up with a better way to describe it." I don't associate wailing, howling, and shrieking with ecstasy; I associate them with werewolf attacks. (This, of course, is not a problem for those fandoms in which sex and werewolf attacks are almost indistinguishable from each other.) Yes, anguished noises are a necessary and wonderful part of sex, but if my sex partner started wailing I would not construe this as a positive comment on my sexual prowess. It consistently surprises me that I'm invited to see it that way in fan fiction.

Nasty. I find this one annoying when it's used as a positive adjective when describing sexual activity, particuarly kissing. I know it's a slang term. I know descriptive words tend to acquire opposite meanings in colloquial usage. Doesn't change the fact that my first thought, upon reading this term, is of garbage left out overnight in the summer, and my second thought is of Janet Jackson. Neither of these images should ever be remotely connected with sex, and no human being should be forced to consider sex, garbage, and Janet Jackson all at the same time.

Male Sex when used to mean "gay sex." One does not have male sex. One is of the male sex (or one is not). And there is no reason at all to invent a new term for men having sex with men, not when we already have so many at our disposal.
Tags: [rant]
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on April 1st, 2004 09:09 am (UTC)
Fellow Fametracker
Don't forget ghost and card my dear. Ghost and card the most overused so-called creative verbs in fandom.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on April 1st, 2004 09:47 am (UTC)
Re: Fellow Fametracker
Oh, good god. Thank you for reminding me - I can't think how I managed to forget. So let's just add those to the list:

Ghost. Very evocative, no doubt, of a sort of gentle, shivery, not-quite touch. But you can have too much of ghosting in a sex scene; we've reached a point where in some cases it seems to be not so much, say, Kowalski/Fraser as Kowalski/Fraser/Unusually Frisky Legions of the Undead.

Card. Again, a term that describes a certain behavior clearly, and we could all use clearer descriptions when it comes to FF. But, really, this one only works if one of the partners has long hair. Even then there should probably be a two-card limit in any given story. And please, folks, let us have no more of "carding" of chest hair. This is only appropriate if one of the partners is a sheep. And no one should take that as an invitation to write sheepslash.
Daegaer: searle by brandnewgundaegaer on June 23rd, 2004 04:15 am (UTC)
Re: Fellow Fametracker
Hey! I'm at work, I shouldn't be laughing quite this loud.

Kowalski/Fraser/Unusually Frisky Legions of the Undead

Is it wrong of me to want to read this? Is it wrong of me to want to write it?
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvinethefourthvine on June 23rd, 2004 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Fellow Fametracker
I'm not sure that this will be any comfort to you, but - if it's wrong, we're wrong together. Except that I don't want to write it. I want you to write it.
Innocent Bystanderfiresprite1105 on May 18th, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)
Personally, if I never see the phrase " shell of an ear" again, I would be thrilled.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 18th, 2004 09:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, god, yes. I think it's time to do another one of these, and if you don't mind, I'll use this one.
Innocent Bystanderfiresprite1105 on May 19th, 2004 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, go right ahead. I'm sure I'm not the only one who groans "not again!" and rolls my eyes heavenward after yet another somewhat promising story has yet another "shell of an ear" mention. It's like smut-by-numbers.

Hmm. Perhaps overuse of the very non-sexy noun "flesh" is a required smut-by-numbers componant as well. I know you can only use "cock" so many times, but "flesh" reminds me of something graphic and surgical on one of those "viewer discretion advised" cable shows. Or of making dinner, which I am loathe do do at this very moment, because I am a lazy wench. And god knows how raw meat gets me all hot, bay-bee!

Heh.

*is amused*
keerawakeerawa on September 3rd, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
This is not exclusive to FF. Profic can be just as bad.

I spent about two weeks of a road trip listening to volumes of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series on Audiobook. And I enjoyed it. But, for God's sake, that woman needs to STOP using the phrase, "arched his/her back." I mean, please. Just ... PLEASE. Every SINGLE sex scene. Sometimes more than once per sex scene.

Her editor needs to go through the rough draft with a red pen and cross that shit out. For all our sakes.