As a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, I get the opportunity to read a lot of book serieses*. Often I’ll read them back-to-back-to-back, which may not have been how the author originally intended them when they released the books one every 6-12 months. When that happens, it’s easier to forget that authors will often use the same words/phrases/actions in consecutive books.
Let’s go back to the “dumb sword and sorcery” series I mentioned last Thursday. In it, the main character has a series of consensual liaisons with one of the female leads, who is described pretty much the same way every time she shows up on the page: expressionless face, tomboyish good looks, and when she takes her clothes off, she has curves. The way she’s written, they’re not, like, centerfold curves, but “normal” size for a woman. (Whatever “normal” means.)
Also, whenever she takes her clothes off to have sex with the main character, she’s always just wearing a cotton shift/shirt when she approaches him, just before the lights dim.
Look, I get it, when you live in a fantasy world, sometimes you have to wear the same clothes a lot, and maybe this character is just really comfortable wearing a cotton shift under her weapons and armor. But at least find a way to describe it without using the same words over and over in every sex scene.
This is also kind of a pet peeve of mine with Chuck Tingle’s books. I love Chuck Tingle; I think he’s a super-cool dude who does his very best to be inclusive for all buckaroos**, and most of his stories have a pretty hilarious setup… which then leads into the same sex scene, pretty much. To be fair, I’ve only read his stories where someone gets pounded in the butt, and he’s now writing bisexual, trans*, and platonic stories, as well as genre horror fiction, and maybe some of his charm is that the sex scenes are repetitive. I guess when you write that many stories you’re bound to reuse at least some things.
But there’s a difference between doing something to hang a lampshade on it, which I choose to believe is why Tingle does what he does, and just repeating yourself, which is the first scenario I described. And the sword and sorcery series isn’t the only series I’ve read where it happens.
In 1989, there were 171,000+ words in the Oxford English Dictionary. I have to believe that, more than twenty years later, that number has grown somewhat. Use some different words, or put them in a different order, especially if you’re writing a series, especially especially if you offer that series on Kindle Unlimited where it’s possible to read the entire thing in one go more-or-less for free.
And if you see me making this mistake, please let me know, so I can correct it in future stories.
* Yes, serieses. Deal with it.
** Fans of Tingle’s work.
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