Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finding the Right Word

I love words.  Obviously, since I'm a writer.  I like to test words out, find out how they feel in my mouth, and see how they look written down.

My novel manuscript is with the line editor right now, but I realized that I was unhappy with a term I had used and wanted to change it.  I'll be able to when I get the manuscript back and it shouldn't make any difference in terms of the line editor's comments.

So I posted a question on Facebook to ask for suggestions for a term for a room containing bondage furniture/equipment dedicated to the pursuit of sexual pleasure.  I was using 'playroom' but since that is the term used by E.L. James in the infamous Fifty Shades trilogy, I'd like to find something else.  Also, the room used in my novel is, contrary to the usual depiction of such a room, as in the photo above, a sunlit room with big windows (since it backs onto fields) and a skylight.

I was offered many wonderful suggestions.  I searched and replaced 'playroom' with a couple of them, to see how they sounded and looked.  One that seemed just perfect, ended up sounding too pretentious and too lengthy to repeat as often as needed.  Then I came up with a really good term that fit and sounded good but seemed oddly familiar.  I looked up on of my favourite BDSM stories and realized that the author had used that word - that's probably why it seemed appropriate.

Finally, I was talking to my husband about it and saying that I had found the perfect word but realized I'd 'taken' it from another story I'd read (even though she only used the word a few times, so technically I could still use it, but I didn't really want to).  So my husband says, what about **** which means the same thing as the word I wanted to use and actually sounds better, and contains a very subtle reference to some of the themes in the novel.  And it's perfect!  I've replaced 'playroom' with this word through the entire manuscript (the latest version, but I'll have to change it in the line edited version when I receive it) and it works beautifully!  It just sounds right, in reference to the room itself and to what is being done up there.  It's a simple word and I wonder that I didn't think of it, but I'm so glad my husband did.

It's really amazing the difference that one word can make in the feel of a narrative, and how things are perceived.

Thanks, Babe!  I owe you one ;)

~ Liz

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