That is disgusting

I know this is a post from a long while ago. Since I’m on vacation, I decided to sail through today and share one of my old favourites.  Don’t worry I’ll get back to new and fun posts shortly.

That is disgusting

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.

For example:

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.

“Good coffee?”

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.

-Sheryl

Other related posts.

My Posts From The Start

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Sail

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A Hairy Subject

Back to descriptions I go. I was reading something and the writer described the woman’s hair colour. I’m not going to share that because it’s not mine to share. However, I’ve come up with something similar to illuminate: Shiny as the mane of a Paso Fino.

Um no.  For a couple of reasons. One the image that comes to mind is not flattering for a human description, two not everyone knows what a Paso Fino is. It’s a horse, lovely creature but not the best colour comparison out there for an attractive woman.  I get it everyone wants to be super creative, but sometimes I think the over used ‘black as ebony’ or ‘golden as the summer sun’ get a little cliché, overused, or boring if you will.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with just using the actual hair colour and if you need to make it more interesting pick a hairstyle or make it move.  I went to Wikipedia to pilfer these terms for natural hair colour.

Black 
Natural black 
Deepest brunette
Dark brown
Medium brown 
Lightest brown 
Natural brown 
Light brown 
Chestnut brown 
Light chestnut-brown 
Auburn 
Copper 
Red 
Titian hair (Brown orange/red)
Strawberry blonde 
Dark blonde 
Golden blonde 
Medium blonde 
Light blonde 
Very light blonde 
Grey 
White 

Maybe it’s just me but I find keeping the physical descriptions basic, understandable and relate-able a much better method of visualization than getting grotesquely over creative. I do like to incorporate the description of the person to the environment around them.

Let’s see if I can come up with some examples of over doing it to describe someone’s hair.

Her hair shimmered like the setting sun on the surface of a dark springtime puddle.
I kinda want to stomp on her face for fun…

The strands of hair moved across her neck in the gentle breeze like a field of golden wheat on a summer day. 
She is not an expanse of pre-processed bread ingredient.

His short hair shone in the moonlight like a newly picked soft yellow booger. 
Mmm well, I did that just to be gross, because I can.  😉

See what I mean? The subject matter used to describe can make or break the image. Okay how about I try again.

The light of the setting sun reflected on her dark blonde hair; framing her face in a kaleidoscope of radiant warmth.
Who fingers through that hair now?

Her golden blonde hair brushed softly across her neck from the gentle summer breeze.
Fewer crops and more jaw drops.

His short light blond hair shone in the bright moonlight.
A touch more romantic and a whole lot less gross.

Perhaps it is just me and I prefer a simple approach to how I’m going to imagine a person’s appearance. I do sometimes find too many specifics and flowery over description can trip me up when I’m reading.

For example:

She slowly ran her slender elegant fingers through her long satiny tresses that glittered in the sun like a veil of rubies and garnets. She flicked the alluring molten locks of crimson fire to rest gently behind her shapely curved ivory shoulder, like scorching flames licking a shapely sculpture of fragile porcelain.”

That’s an automatic eye roll for me. The poor woman is burning up in flames. I would much prefer a word-savvy description like this:

“Her slender fingers ran through her long dark red hair slowly. She flicked the Cabernet coloured tresses to rest behind her pale smooth shoulder.”

I would appreciate the small colour reference detail that wasn’t over the top with flowery descriptions.  A simple approach works best IMO.  It’s okay to say someone has dark brown hair without referencing dark chocolate or dark coffee. I don’t mind some creative colour descriptions in moderation and as long they fit the character and situation without giving an odd mental image. There are always exceptions and sometimes a little extra visual reference is good. But not if it’s over the top and over done I can be poetic without being cheesy. If I read

My advice about describing hair colour.
Keep the imagery appropriate and flattering. It’s not a good idea to pester the reader with too much. The only time I might suggest going overboard on a description of hair colour, is if it’s like the bright summer blue of a freshly washed Smurfs back-side. 

-Sheryl

Other posts I enjoyed writing

That is disgusting

Hold your tongue!

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 Automatic

Pest

Don’t plague me

I adore reading. I read a lot and enjoy various formats. There is one thing I don’t enjoy reading no matter what or who writes it. Plague. Widespread illness out of control unfurling upon the masses to bring about misery and death. This is totally a personal thing, maybe it’s my inner hypochondriac coming out to play or whatever. I just don’t enjoy reading about pustules, open oozing sores, swollen lymph nodes, the last gabbled breath of the many, over and over… yuck.

I was reading a super awesome book series and they went plague quite a few books in. I haven’t finished it and haven’t moved on in the series either. That was about two years ago. I probably won’t. Everybody has that something, that taboo subject they won’t read or write about. For me, its sex implied or explicit. Some it’s disease, illness or plagues. For others, it’s racial repression. For others, it’s violence against women or children, especially sexual.  It could be how graphically someone writes about the tattered pungent rotting green hued skin, falling off the corpse in chunks as it lands in thick wet plops on the cold hard ground. Like I said, everyone has the one thing they won’t write or read. That’s totally okay, I can’t please everyone. I should, however, be pleasing someone. Boring writing is right up there with plagues for me. If the story is going nowhere for too long I get bored. I don’t want to read a chapter describing the grass in detail either.

I find it’s a fine balance. Toss in a little of everything and keep it interesting. All good recipes require an assortment of ingredients. The more you put in the better it tastes, right? In moderation. If a plague must happen for story development or it is part of that era then fine, but less is more IMO.  I read a book that had the black plague happen smack dab in the middle. Sure the author described the misery and filth, but he did something far more amazing. He showed the good, the silver-lining and what the survivors with vigor were doing to help. He focused on the emotional and surrounding and fascinating factoids that let me get through a subject I’m uncomfortable with. That stuck with me. If it has to be there, and it must be horrifying. Why not temper it with the bright side too?

I don’t have an example of this because I don’t want to. I can be super gross, and write violence and gore. I just don’t like plagues or uncontrollable diseases.

I cannot take credit for the following since I’m not a great joke teller. *Sources unknown.

Two bacteria walk into a bar and the bartender says, “Leave! We don’t serve any bacteria in this bar.”
The two bacteria reply, “Hey, but we work here. We’re staph.”

Why did all the bacteria fail the math test?
They thought division is the same as multiplication.

A parasite walks into Jim’s party. Jim says, “Get out! No parasite are welcome at my party.”
The parasite says, “Well, you’re not a very good host.”

I need to go wash my hands a few times now.

My advice about Plagues.
When you write about something uncomfortable, there will be some who love it, and those that hate it. How you write it will make all the difference.

-Sheryl

Other gross posts

That is disgusting

Blood

Spit it out!

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 Vigor
Unfurl

That is disgusting

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.

For example:

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.

“Good coffee?”

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.

-Sheryl

Other related posts.

Show and tell

Tag! You’re it.

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved