My new friends and fellow bloglodytes, Paula of sanseilife, and Rachel of The Cricket Pages, have been kind enough to beta read Laugh out Dead, and give me their opinions. They have given some excellent advice, as a result of which I shall be going through the book again, looking especially at pacing, about which I shall blog in the not too far distant.
Paula and I had the following email exchange on the subject of writing about sex, as a result of which I have written a new article, The Joy of Euphemisms —-> READ IT HERE.
From: Paula Matsumoto
Sent: Friday, 16 January 2015, 15:19
I would love to help you with your other book too!
Your sense of humor is fantastic and I’m looking forward to reading more.
To be honest, as a woman, I found the sexual exploits slightly annoying. I don’t think you should take them out but rewording them and leaving a little bit more to the imagination. Just a thought I’m not a prude really!
Would love to help you on your other book let me know what you think. If you want more input I’m happy to take extra notes. I was just reading for continuity, flow and errors and just enjoying your writing but I can change that up if you need.
From: Rupert Harker
Sent: Friday, 16 January 2015, 15:47
Hi Paula, sorry I didn’t message earlier, I’ve just come off nights.
I don’t think you are a prude, I welcome any feedback and take your opinion very seriously.
I was greatly interested in your comments and discussed them with my wife, as I do not wish to write offensive or inappropriate material.
I think that writing about sex and sexuality is always difficult, as it is such a personal, and in many ways taboo thing to discuss. I think books like 50 Shades have very much changed the landscape, but there are still quite marked cultural differences, even just between the UK and the US.
Much British comedy is very sexual, even the mainstream. When I was growing up, we would sit down as a family to watch Carry On movies or The Benny Hill Show, and I grew up watching comedy that was peppered with double meanings and often sexist or risqué jokes. Serious conversation about sex and sexuality was always rather taboo however.
I think there is always that fascination of what goes on behind closed doors; the idea that the stiff upper lipped English middle class prude would go home to engage in taboo acts of sexual depravity. About 20 years ago, an English politician was found dead in his home wearing nothing but stockings and suspenders with a plastic bag over his head and an orange segment in his mouth, having succumbed to autoerotic asphyxia. The media had a field-day and it proved to be quite a scandal.
I hope that this doesn’t sound like I am making excuses. Actually, I find the whole topic quite fascinating. Would you object if I used the content of this email to write a blog post?
Most importantly thank you again for helping me and I would be delighted if you would give your opinion on Intelligent Design: Genesis. I have attached it as a pdf. It is aimed at a younger audience, so if you have any teenagers in the family who may be interested, I would love their opinions on it also.
Please let me know if there are any other elements of the book that I should review or amend. Look forward to hearing from you soon.
From: Paula Matsumoto
Sent: Saturday, 17 January 2015, 23:23
That is an interesting point about the difference in English and American cultures. You are welcome to use my comments for a blog post. It just felt like a hiccup in the flow of my reading. Never was it really offensive, just annoying, I wasn’t put off that I would stop reading or anything.
I read a little bit of everything and I know there is some line in my brain where too much info or detail is distracting. I meant to tell you that the autopsy report may be long enough to be such a distraction for some readers. I had to re read a couple of paragraphs as my mind was wandering. I’m not sure but maybe some of the unremarkable or normal findings could be shortened? But I am not the brightest bulb so perhaps it is me!
I have read books where the gore, although well written, actually became boring because it was too much…. I know other people who have voiced same opinion about different scenes they read. Sex, gore, scenery…. Sometimes it is more entertaining to have to use imagination.
If you didn’t change a word your book would still be a well written and enjoyable read. I laughed out loud many times and you really got me with the haiku! My mother-in-law is English so I read the book with her accent, haha. The characters are wonderfully developed and consistent.
I look forward to reading Intelligent Design: Genesis.
I have a crazy week coming at me but should be able to devote time to it after that. Let me know if you are under any deadlines.