Friday, April 22, 2011

Writing Notes: Finding the Right Word

I'm working on a Pirithous book. I've been wanting to write him one for a while, but it never came together until I had a conversation with my mother. She asked the right question, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Two other books in progress, and Pirithous called my name.

37,000 words later, and I'm reliving one of the problems I had when I wrote Helen.


Pirithous is a very hands on kind of man. In fact, keeping his hands off the women in any book is a lost cause. But trying to find the right word to use from Pirithous' perspective for the hind-end of his leading lady seems to be an impossible task. What says archaic while still being sexy? Not too generic, but not too specific either. The wrong word turns a romantic moment into a comical one and a smooth operation into a jarring and awkward event that takes the reader out of the story.

Pirithous cannot slap a woman on the ass, but he might be able to pinch her behind. Unless of course he's reaching behind someone in order to pat her bottom. Maybe he's admiring her shapely backside, but that could account for more than just the two cheeks. And I don't know about you, but buttocks has always seemed more clinical than complimentary.

The English language has a multitude of words for this one particular portion of the human body, but English isn't Pirithous' language, and that isn't something I can ignore for the convenience of identifying a woman's rump.

I'm sure that Pirithous will hate to hear it, but until I can figure out the word with the right voice to match his very particular voice and history, he's going to have to keep his hands off his love interest's fanny.

(Sorry, Pirithous!)


  1. Haha! I'm running into this issue myself, but with male anatomy. Fortunately, I've got Greek, Latin, and English to choose from. So far I've also picked up some great Latin insults- so fun!

  2. Funniest. Post. Ever! Hmm ... buns tush hiney butt booty rear bum keister derriere sit-upon posterior arse?

    The End! :)

  3. Stephanie: I have slightly less of an issue with the male anatomy, only because of some VERY studious avoidance of mentioning it directly. haha. I wish I could just use the Greek word for Hind-end, but unfortunately Pirithous kind of pre-dates Greek, too.

    VR: hahaha. I'm glad you enjoyed this one :)

  4. It certainly wasn't something I ever expected to face!


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