Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Obsessing: Not Good

OK. Ok. Ok. When I fixate on something, I tend to run it into the ground, and like eat it, live it, and be it until I can no longer stand whatever it is. Songs, especially. (Think I've had enough of Bad Romance now, and my husband DEFINITELY has heard enough Gaga to last him forever.) Unfortunately, I go a little too far sometimes in my writing too, although I just recently learned NOT to.

It was a chapter on breasts. Except, I wasn't fixated on them. Well, kind of. The chapter wasn't solely about breasts, but it featured them. I mean, I'm a heterosexual woman, but I'll raise my hand and say breasts are nice. They feed babies. They come in different shapes and sizes. They bounce in neat ways. I haz them. They're just cool. In the chapter, I have my character at the beach, a Greek beach (surprise!), and as par for the Mediterranean beach course, women at the beach all had their tops off. My character is written as someone who is a bit repressed, so for her to see all these breasts was liberating. Oh, she'd been through a slew of other stuff to get her to the point where she could fling off her bikini top, too, but the point was, she was amazed by the possibility of exposing her breasts on the beach.

Here's the first part (with the perennial Stanky McStankstank as the main character name, because why not?)

“Water is fantastic!” Lisa screamed, and Michelle hollered something unidentifiable in response as they swam and splashed and acted like nine-year-old boys.

Lisa had huge breasts and they were fascinating to look at as they bobbed in the water. Stanky tried to keep her eyes from them. Michelle was relatively flat-chested, but perfectly pretty, too. Didn’t they know everyone would be looking?

OK, that's fine, right. But no, no. I had to go on about them:

She snuck a peak in the direction of the buoy, where Lisa and her mountainous blobs of flesh floated. Against the odds, Lisa had won. She thought how it would be to have her breasts out in the wind and sun for anyone to see. Who would care? Would she care? Would she be able to stand it? Would it matter?

Breasts were mentioned at least three more times. And that was two or three times too many for readers in my writing group. They were all, "Dude, this breast obsession of Stanky's is a bit much." And I'm sitting there, thinking, "Holy crap, that was purely me! *I* was being all obsessed! I couldn't stop mentioning them!

So hey, take it from someone who just learned: mention something a few times, but not repeatedly...or else the reader will tire of it. Some of you may think that there cannot be enough mentions of breasts. And perhaps you'd be right. But readers don't like repeated mentions of things. You know you don't.

Am I right?


Lt. Cccyxx said...

Wait, what kind of book *is* this exactly, Sierra? :P

Travener said...

Thank you for posting this. Need more. No such thing as "too much" about breasts. :)

Seriously (harrumph), years ago in Torremolinos on the Spanish Riviera I decided, "When you've seen 40 [pairs] you've seen 'em all."

DL Hammons said...

Even a good thing can get tiresome, especially if its gratuitous. Hmmmmmmmm...gratuitous breasts. Maybe I should re-think that position. :)

Sierra Godfrey said...

I think it's interesting that none of my lady blogger friends commented on this post. My point here was to be a little light-hearted, and also point how old something can quickly get, even as supposedly interesting as boobs.

I wonder if the repetitiveness (which definitely was too much) would have been quite as tiresome had the topic been something more innocuous, like carpenter ants?

Alicia J. Frey said...

I am very obsessive at times. It's my most endearing quality. Atleast that's what the hubby says, but then he rolled his eyes after. Mmmm...

In all honesty though, I am a straight female but I would have been staring at their "mountainous blobs of flesh" too. That line made me quite literally L.O.L.

But that's what all drafts (1-17) are for. Do you know how how many synonyms there are for brown eyes? I found 'em all.

Fun post!

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