Editing Rant: Touch / Tingle

Image courtesy of farconville at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, this one isn’t from editing a book, but reading one for pleasure that ending up not being so pleasurable because better editing was needed. I now have a new term – “touch/tingle”.

The story lacked feelings, but not the emotions kind. If something involves a person reacting to a physical/chemical reaction (say a lover), remember to have the close point-of-view (POV) character relate the touch/tingle effects to the reader. Show, don’t tell – although what I read, this writer didn’t even bother with the tell.

While the choreography was related in the story – who was where, doing what – internal motivations and reactions were not shared. The story read little better than a person standing in one place with a camera phone.

If this had been a movie or television shoot, there would have been closeups on the hands, the lips, maybe a leg movement, -> switching between camera viewpoints, etc to bring the viewer into the scene. In the written medium, without touch/tingle, the sex scene was completely boring and needed to be skipped.

This is not the reaction you want your reader to have in a romance. Just saying.

(Camera watching the action) They laid down together on the bed. He moved over her, and she made room for him. A gunshot had them both rolling off the bed into a pile of arms and legs and covers. The blood on the fabric told the tale of one of them being hit.

(Camera living the action) She watched as he crossed the room with purpose, and her breath caught. Even after forty years she still loved the old geezer. She made room for him, ignoring the pain in her hip as she anticipated the coming pleasure. When the gunshot sent them both rolling off the bed into a pile of arms and legs and suddenly wet sheets, the first thing she did was check to see if the wetness came from either of them and what part of them. She caught her breath again as she saw the brilliant red of the liquid.

Do the second, not the first. Please! Bring the camera in close during fights and sex.