Saturday, May 30, 2009

Terms of Endearment

I just finished reading a book that was a little on the disappointing side. I'd heard so many great things about the author's writing, so I was surprised. Basically, the book was a string of very long, involved sex scenes with a little plot, a little intrigue thrown in to break up the erotic stuff. But one thing that got me thinking was the pet name the hero used for the heroine - "Sweet." It didn't feel natural, and every time I read it, it pulled me out of the story.
I starting checking my books, my works in progress for the pet names my characters called one another. Imagine my surprise when I found I'd only used three! Apparently, my favorite terms of endearment are, "Honey," "Baby" and "Darlin'." My alpha heroes throw in an occasional "Woman," but only when they're bemoaning some annoying facet of the heroine's personality.
Next I started checking my collection of romance books, which is quite extensive. I randomly looked in twelve books and guess what -- those books used my favorite three terms as well, although one added "Sweetheart" to the mix. Now I don't feel so bad!
Each of these words elicits a slightly different reaction from me. Baby is more sexual than the others, while Honey speaks of emotional commitment. Darlin' sounds like a western hero's line and Woman, well, that one always gives me a little zing of excitement! (TMI, I know!)
I remember in my high school French class, our native of France teacher told the class of one particularly amusing French term -- Mon petite chou chou. (Excuse me if I spelled any of that wrong, it's been many years since HS French!) Literally translated, this means, My little cabbage. Strange, huh?
What about you? Do you have any unusual terms of endearment either for your significant other or that you use in writing?


Terry Odell said...

The shift from name to endearment is a milestone in my books -- at least when it's a serious term of endearment. I try to vary them, and usually each hero (or heroine) uses only one.

Sometimes I have personal biases -- "dear" doesn't work for me because around here, "Anything you say dear" is dished out with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Also, we knew a couple who both called each other dear at least every other sentence.

I've used honey, darlin' (but the hero WAS from Texas!), sweetheart, sugar, and my Aussie hero calls the heroine Sunshine.

Baby doesn't resonate well for me. I read one author who used "love" in every one of her books.

Hmmm... have to come up with something for this WIP -- unless is really turns into a mystery instead of a romance.

Jax Cassidy said...

I don't think I've ever used the word "Sweet" as a nickname. I can totally understand how certain words can pull a reader out.

I've picked up books that were highly recommended and basically there was plenty of 'action' but no real storyline, which is disappointing for me as well. I like a good balance. I may write erotic stories but I don't necessarily read them. I'm more interested in reading and seeing the character development, blossoming romance, and storytelling. I often bypass the sex entirely...

Dara Edmondson said...

Terry - that's too funny about Dear. I also know DH is not exactly happy when I hear, "Yes, Dear."
Jax - I also find myself bypassing the sex sometimes.

Katie Reus said...

That's funny! I've never seen that term used before and you're right, it doesn't sound natural. Feels like something's missing. Hey or sweetheart. Ack, that would have pulled me out of the story too!

I won't admit what my nickname is for my hubby b/c it's embarrassing but I use sweetheart, darlin' (for my cowboys), woman, and I know there are a few others but I'm drawing a blank on what my heroes use.

mimi said...

I can buy "sweet" if the hero is a Duke. For some reason, "sweet" sounds Regency to me.

When you're talking modern men, though, don't forget that Southern men have a thing for food. They call their women "honey," "sugar," "puddin'," "pumpkin," "cupcake," "peanut," etc., etc., etc. At least, that's what I hear at my house!!