Thursday, July 06, 2006


Certain situations that happen during a love story can be too graphic for delicate sensibilities. Such horrid things can be whispered or glossed over during normal dinner party conversations, but what if you write love stories for a living? A romance author can never be too careful about what she composes, as certain assumptions can be made about her based on the content of her novels.

When writing about such situations, the Romance Police, a division of The Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene (TM), recommend that the tasteful author only use euphemetaphors. Euphemetaphors are those carefully crafted, timeless phrases used by countless romance authors in place of more crude, lewd or lascivious language. These lovely, ethereal phrases that are so loved by true romance readers provide adequate information without the risk of causing any offense whatsoever.

To illustrate, here are some classic examples of certain romantic situations, and the euphemetaphors that we strongly recommend authors use to describe them:


Admires Heroine's Anatomy

He could not keep his heated gaze from tracing over her ripe though innocent form.
She embodied the beauty and grace of all things womanly.
Surely she was the loveliest temptation to ever cross his path.

Becomes Physically Aroused

He turned away to hide the hard evidence of how she affected him.
Heat surged wildly through his veins until he thought his unruly desire for her would drive him insane.
Her delicate, fragile beauty stirred him until his muscles rippled, tightening against the need burning in his loins.

Has Intimate Relations

He brought their bodies together in an inferno of desire.
Masterfully he claimed her fragile femininity as his own.
Slowly, gently, with the determination of his love and hers guiding him, he made her his woman.

Has Lots of Relations

He explored every inch of her lusciousness, leaving nothing untouched.
He loved her again and again, until their entwined bodies curled together in delicious exhaustion.
Passion's storm broke over them and consumed them throughout the night.


Admires the Hero's Anatomy

His forbidding but striking countenance caused a strange ache in her heart.
Surely no man could be as handsome, muscular, or virile as he.
The sight of his bare, bronzed chest made her gnaw at her lower lip.

Becomes Physically Aroused

His hand on her arm sent an electrical energy sizzling through her.
His tall, dark, handsome presence made her entire body tingle.
She could not understand the frightening conflagration of sensations he made her feel.
The sight of him stirred something deep within her being.

Has Intimate Relations

A wondrous heat spread through her nether regions.
She gave herself utterly to his passion.
She was swept to the dazzling heights of pleasure.

Has Lots of Intimate Relations

His masculine demands reduced her to give the whole of her being to him until the wee hours of the morning.
She surrendered again and again, withholding nothing from him.
They blazed together in love's fiery furnace until dawn.

[Next up: How using euphemetaphors, making the right sort of friends, and overnighting that entry fee check can clinch your RITA Award and bestow you, too, with the title of the best romance writer in the genre!]

(for Alison Kent, who started it)


  1. Anonymous2:29 AM

    *have to struggle to stop snickering*

    Thanks, PBW, for posting this. For someone who reads a lot of romance novels, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. :)

  2. Having read Alison's post and comments, I do find myself agreeing with a lot of them.

    But playing devil's advocate - I think euphewhatchamacallits do have a place in romance fiction. It depends on what type of book you're looking to read - not everyone is ready for realism in love scenes. And personally I reckon that's a good thing - it promotes more diversity in terms of writing as we all try to find ever less purple euphemisms *G*

  3. *snort* Every time I saw "Has lots of intimate relations" all I could think was "Gettin' it awwwwnnnnn!" Which is probably not the euphemetaphor they want.

  4. Anonymous8:45 AM

    [g] The romance police are going to issue a APBW on you for this post.

  5. *chokes, spews coffee*

    This one should have a beverage alert!!! I'm still giggling.

  6. But playing devil's advocate - I think euphewhatchamacallits do have a place in romance fiction. It depends on what type of book you're looking to read - not everyone is ready for realism in love scenes.

    I won't disagree with this. My post's point was the lack of originality in these euphewhatchamacallits. I use them, too, but I do try to make the metaphor unique to the scene, characters, and situations, and not just grab one out of the romance novel thesaurus. That's when I feel an author hasn't given enough thought to her words, when you can find nearly the same thing in any other book, and when the words are placeholders (as Rosini Lippi described them). I'm all about words. I love words! And I especially love it when they're relevant, not random!

  7. Hehehe. ...tightening against the need burning in his loins... "Loin" always reminds me of a pork chop. :-)

  8. But playing devil's advocate - I think euphewhatchamacallits do have a place in romance fiction. It depends on what type of book you're looking to read - not everyone is ready for realism in love scenes.

    Another thing, even though they have their place, some authors get really... REALLY repetitive with them. It's easy to do... most writers probably have turns of phrase that really appeal to them, but when those phrases show up fifty times within fifty pages, it's redundant.

    I know how easy it is to do... I find myself doing it and then I have go back and fix it.

    overnighting that entry fee check So that's why I never win... oh, wait. I gotta enter to win, right? I'm too lazy for that...

  9. Thanks for the laugh!

  10. Anonymous12:37 PM

    "And then they had intimate relations. Lots and lots of relations. All night long."

  11. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Making notes for future sex (I mean "love") scenes.


  12. Anonymous3:46 PM


    Thanks for the laugh, PBW. Your euphametaphors were sheer brilliance. And, as Homer Simpson would say, "It's funny 'cause it's true." Well, in some cases anyway...

    I also agree with Shiloh up to a point. I read a lot of romance too, and some authors do tend to get repetitive and seem to spew out generic love scenes from "the secret formula for how to write love scenes in romance novels." And yes, part of the fun of romance is that they are idealistic, but it's not impossible to add realism without losing the whimsy.

    Example: Santa Claus was a morbidly obese man with an obsessive compulsive disorder which caused him to cackle out "Ho, ho, ho!" maniacally.

    The Romantic Santa: Santa Claus was a jolly fat fellow with twinkling eyes, rosy red cheeks, and a heart of gold.

    Okay, so maybe that was an extreme example, but you get the idea. ^_~ Variety is good--it's possible! And I totally dig how some romance writers out there are adding some different elements to love scenes--Linda Howard, especially--like bondage and fellatio to spice things up. =p

  13. Great stuff! Thanks!

    Ya know, in the Southren backwoods country, "intimate relations" takes on a whole new level of meaning.

    And my all-time favorite euphemetaphor: His eyes slid down the front of her dress.

  14. Ah Carter, I can do that, but only if I've been drinking heavily, then it tends to be the whole face and head going for a slide...


  15. "nether regions"?

    Oh no you d'nit. LMAO!!

    B-b-but, where's the reference to his purple-headed rod 'o luurve?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.