Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Naked truth

Did you ever notice how the characters in books almost always look good when they're naked? Even when they're injured? Or sick? What's up with that? In the last few months I've had reason to be in the company of people both sick and injured and believe me, they aren't sexy.

For starters most people in the category have gone several days without a shower. When I was in the hospital, they refused to let me shower, though I was ambulatory, because of my IV. I tried to point out the IV could be unhooked from my port long enough for me to clean up.


Instead, a lovely nurse's aid came and washed me as though I was a two year old. You haven't lived until your private parts have been washed by a total stranger while you stand next to the bathroom sink. Like I said, she was a lovely woman, but...

Secondly, people who have been injured, especially around the head, may end up with dried blood in their hair that doesn't get washed out until they get that shower. Very off-putting, you know?

And people that hurt are not sparkling conversationalists. They're in pain! If they're not in pain, they're brain fogged with drugs so they're even less coherent.

When I read scenes where the hero/heroine is supposed to suffer some major injury and there's no mention of blood, pain, or other visible signs AND the injured character is engaging in sparkling repartee with other characters, I want to throw the book at the wall.

When the love interest is also thinking sexy thoughts about how attractive the injured character is, I want to throw them against the wall! Let's think about this. I've been shot. I'm bleeding. I'm in excruciating pain. The last thing I'm interested in at this point is sex. Likely, sex will be the last thing I'll be interested in for a long time. Do I really want a lover who's thinking, "Wow, she has great boobs?" while I'm suffering?

I don't think so.



  1. Hmmm. May need to go back and double-check the WIP...

  2. So very true.

    On the flip side are people who like causing or feeling pain. Or those who use the sick and unattractive moments to prove how much the character cares about their friend/lover. It's all in how a writer spins it. I agree though, a lot of writers drop the ball when it comes down to it.

    which is a pity, because writing dialogue for concussed or feverish people is fun as horses! They can say almost anything that comes to mind, whether they want to or not. Good for humor or revelation of hidden feelings and all sorts of other things.

  3. My mind immediately went to Rosemary Roger's, "The Wildest Heart". I read the book 30 years ago, but one scene remains with me for all the reasons you've mentioned. Lucas has been shot and ridden on a horse for hours up a mountain in a raging storm. Rowena follows. He talks her through removing the bullet from his side with a knife and then they make love?? REALLY???

  4. Oh, yes! I remember that scene. But I sure loved me some Lucas!!!

  5. I consider Lucas Cord one of the all-time best heroes ever written!!

  6. Yes, I too remember that scene. At least my heroes and heroines have the decency to clean up before they have sex - and if somebody throws up, they brush their teeth, by God!

  7. Oh that's so funny. I remember that.

  8. I remember watching Footloose and wondering why, after the boyfriend blackened her eye and split her lip, did she turn around and KISS Kevin Bacon's character? Would YOU passionately kiss someone with your lip bruised/cut/swollen?