Four words that strike a nerve

20 Feb

You know how there are words out there that set your teeth on edge? Because that’s what I’m writing about, so if the title of this post led you to expect some kind of rallying cry, I’m going to bitterly and profoundly disappoint you. This is a rant.

Here’s word #1 on my hit parade—meaning words I’d like to put a hit out on, not words I think should hit the top of the charts because they’re so fabulous. Ready?


Hate it. Don’t know why. But mark my words (pun intended), you’ll never see it in my novels unless a character insists on saying it and there’s nothing I can do to stop him/her. I hate when characters munch a sandwich or whatever. It sounds…dumb? Why can’t they just chew? Eat? Masticate? I’m not even sure why I hate it, as there wasn’t a particularly heinous episode in my life involving munch. Not that I recall, anyway. Maybe it was so horrendous, I’ve blocked it out. If you love this word and have a compelling reason why I should rethink my munch prejudice, I’m all ears.

Next is the phrase “strong woman.” Hate it. This probably makes me sound like some kind of antiquated thinker or disavower of women’s accomplishments, but that’s not at all true. I’m simply sick of this phrase. It’s overused, and to my mind, a qualifier. Why not just describe a woman as a strong person, or as plain old strong? A strong woman immediately makes me think whoever called this woman a strong woman thinks the woman is strong…for a woman.

Last on my list for this rant is…lover. I put it last because I don’t hate it anymore, but I used to hate it with the white-hot heat of 7,000 suns. Used to. Used to think it sounded affected and bizarre, an unwelcome leftover from the ’70s and its notions of free love. But as I keep reading romance novels to catch up to my (potential/future) readers and learn who’s writing what (must know your genre!), I’ve become used to it. I no longer think it’s weird, but simply means the person one has sex with. And since most of my exposure to “lover” is courtesy of romance novels, whenever the characters have sex, you can be sure they’re either in love, on the way to falling in love, or will be in love shortly. So the sex isn’t cheap or temporary or purely physical—lovers in romance novels always end up with the whole shootin’ match. Which is nice.

Surely there are more words I hate, and as I remember/come across them (I know ‘em when I see ‘em because I inwardly—and sometimes outwardly—cringe), I’ll let you know.

I’ll also let you know when I hear from Gail-the-Literary-Agent-Extraordinaire. Nothing yet, but as the saying goes, no news is good news. My fingers are becoming more flexible by the hour as I keep them crossed.

Thanks again for your support!!

Add comments: