DownNDirty

Use this forum to discuss the June 2018 Book of the Month"The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami
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thaservices1
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Post by thaservices1 » 06 Jun 2018, 19:24

So, my take overall take on this book was that it is foremost a Romance novel. That being said, one of the key elements are the sex scenes. I'm sure any fan of the genre would agree that while relatable characters and interesting plots are desirable, without the 'hot' element, it's just not 'Romance'

What's your opinion on the author's writing style of those scenes? We're they believable? Did they do it for you?

I personally was very disappointed in the author's use of the word 'cock' in the key first love scene between the main characters. She only uses that word two other times in the book, both times referring to the unsavory characters' privates. It was a distinct departure from the rest of the writing in that scene.

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Post by Sushan » 07 Jun 2018, 05:45

Sex scenes can be described in many ways in books. Here the author has chosen a set of words that she prefer. Some might feel it palatable while some might not. Nobody can make everyone happy
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Post by NRoach » 07 Jun 2018, 12:42

Such language is very common in steamier romances, and I don't think it should be surprising that it crops up here. That said, I generally find that it damages the tone of the book a little. I swear like a sailor in person, and my characters are pretty similar in that respect, but when it's used in narrative, it always stands out to me.

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Post by CommMayo » 07 Jun 2018, 12:44

I was recently listening to an audiobook while I commuted to work. There was a sex scene and the author used the word penis. It was actually kind of strange to hear the medically accurate term in the middle of a steamy scene. I think it can be really hard to authors to avoid cliche terms during scenes like that.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 07 Jun 2018, 13:28

I think part of what makes the steamy scenes so steamy is the language that is used. Cliched terms and slang terms contribute are such because they are associated with certain actions, feelings, events, etc.

I’m not personally a huge fan of the steamy romance genre, but I have read enough of it to say that this book is definitely romance. The sex scenes seem to be par for the course in my opinion. I think whether or not these scenes are realistic might be too subjective for me to cast an opinion on, since this is so private for everyone and I only have my own experiences to judge by.

I remember once hearing from an actor talking about doing sex scenes for a movie. He commented that it was always so awkward, since there is that element of “this is how it goes for me, it’s the same for everyone else in this room, right?”

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Post by Libs_Books » 07 Jun 2018, 13:35

The problem of how to describe sexual activity, including references to people's private parts is arguably more difficult in English than in other languages. The only words available are either medical, crude or childish... or crude and childish. D.H. Lawrence tried to address that problem in Lady Chatterley's Lover. He chose to use the everyday language of the ordinary working man, and the result was that the work was banned under the Obscene Publications Act until 1963. Seems like that problem is still with us, particularly when it comes to women's private parts.

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Post by strawberrysab » 07 Jun 2018, 16:08

Libs_Books wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 13:35
D.H. Lawrence tried to address that problem in Lady Chatterley's Lover. He chose to use the everyday language of the ordinary working man, and the result was that the work was banned under the Obscene Publications Act until 1963.
Not to mention it was released in three different versions of steaminess.
Libs_Books wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 13:35
Seems like that problem is still with us, particularly when it comes to women's private parts.
Yep. I read recently a book where the owner of a magazine was dealing with the impossibility of using the word vagina in her letters to the readers.
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Post by ChrisChatfield » 07 Jun 2018, 21:10

Its a hard balance between writing one that is too long and writing one that doesn't get the author's point across. The most important thing, however, is there is some kind of point to the description...it can't be shown just for its own sake...then its not really literature.

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Post by SereneCharles » 08 Jun 2018, 02:17

I think it degrades a book, romance or not. There are better word choices to choose from. Unless the book is a crappy romance.
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Post by NRoach » 08 Jun 2018, 09:01

Libs_Books wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 13:35
The problem of how to describe sexual activity, including references to people's private parts is arguably more difficult in English than in other languages. The only words available are either medical, crude or childish... or crude and childish. D.H. Lawrence tried to address that problem in Lady Chatterley's Lover. He chose to use the everyday language of the ordinary working man, and the result was that the work was banned under the Obscene Publications Act until 1963. Seems like that problem is still with us, particularly when it comes to women's private parts.
I can't imagine it being any easier in any language. You're right in that there's a clear trifecta of medical, crude, and childish, and I sense that's probably pretty universal.

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Zain A Blade
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Post by Zain A Blade » 08 Jun 2018, 14:31

For one, I don't believe that the romance genre translates to "hot sex scenes". Romance is about love, l'amour as the French would say. But I agree, the word "cock" is just so raw and improper language for the educated class.

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Post by katiesquilts » 09 Jun 2018, 03:21

Hmm...I think I'm in the rare boat of "there are words I think should be used to describe the body parts, and other words that should be said out loud."
Basically, the medical terms should be used for third person narrative, and the vulgar terms should be used in dialogue.

The one thing I can't stand though is when the author tries to substitute everyday words for the body parts...things like sausages and love sticks.
Once I even read a sci-fi book where it took me two whole pages to realize the characters were having sex because I thought the guy was literally just "polishing his sword"...as you do.

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Post by starshipsaga » 09 Jun 2018, 16:20

Word choice is everything, and where one term might feel right at home in a sex scene from a book taking place in a specific historical period or from a certain genre, when the same is used in a completely different context, it can pull the reader right out of their immersion. I'm kind of with you on the author's style here, some of it feels more suited to a contemporary steamy romance - which is not how I think of this book.

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Post by elivia05 » 10 Jun 2018, 22:19

The problem with sex scenes in romance novels is that everyone has different preferences. Almost everyone uses different terms and it is impossible to make everyone happy with the terminology. I agree that it did sound out of place, but to others, and to the author, it may have sounded more natural.

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Post by Bookmermaid » 11 Jun 2018, 07:41

Perhaps the diction fits the erotic element of the pulp fiction genre.

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