People can be gross, I mean really gross. They do things that make me cringe.
When a character does something disgusting and it’s shown and not told, I will be disgusted too. And that is the entire point of reading a book. I want to be in the story. I want to feel it.
Billy sat in the back corner of the coffee shop. In one hand, he held his book. With the other, he carefully dislodged a decent clump of moist mucus from his nose. After examining his generous prize, he rolled it between his thumb and forefinger as he continued to read. Without a thought, he flicked the carefully constructed ball. He happened to see it plunk into the cup of coffee on the table next to his.
He glanced around quickly, nobody was looking. Nobody Witnessed the once in a lifetime accidental shot. Feigning interest in his book, the devil in his head urged him to silence. He watched the snotty woman in a pale green sweater sip her coffee-surprise. Had she not been so incredibly rude to him earlier he might have spoken up. Then again, he might not have.
When the woman finished her present, Billy got up to leave, pausing at her table.
She looked up from her tablet, her face morphed into a sneer and she tutted. “It’s a latte, and I’m still not interested in someone,” she looked him up and down, “like you.” She dismissed him completely giving her tablet her attention.
Billy walked away, a slow satisfied smile creeping to his lips.
I loved writing this because Billy the bad-guy is as much a victim as the woman who is horrible in her own way.
Billy has a habit. He likes to pick his nose. It’s called rhinotillexis. If he eats it, it’s called Mucophagy. Does the reader need to know the specific detail of what the act is called? Maybe. If it’s relevant to the story. Otherwise, leave it as a quirk or bad habit.
Cringe worthy things happen all the time. Like when someone hands you money that was carefully tucked away in her sweaty cleavage. What bothers you might not bother someone else.
My advice about grossing out your readers.
If it gives you the heebie-jeebies or turns your stomach, it’s safe to use. My example was a very long way to say, – He picked his nose, flicked it into the shrew’s drink and watched as she drank it. – Blech.
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