Delores Swallows

Dirty Words: Body Parts & Body Fluids


For authors who write dirty stories, making the sex scenes ‘sexy’ is surely our ultimate goal. It’s no use having a clever plot that brings together a gorgeous babe and a well-hung stud if the nitty-gritty of their coupling doesn’t arouse the reader. Nobody enjoys an anti-climax.


When I submitted a story to Storytime a few months back, one reviewer mentioned that I’d referred to body fluids more than was necessary, and it was their comment that gave me the idea for this post.


So, how much of the sticky details do readers want in a dirty story? And how should we refer to the parts and fluids of the body?


I don’t know the answer, and suspect there probably isn’t one that satisfies all readers. Some people will be happy with: ‘He slid inside me and held me close until our souls collided in mutual bliss’, while other readers want something along the lines of: ‘I felt his huge cock forcing its way in, stretching me like I’d never been stretched before. Once inside, he fucked me with abandon, shredding my cunt with his onslaught and flooding me with his jism.’



Authors have their own views on how much detail they give for the ‘ins and outs’, and also have their own preferred terms. For me, both are equally important.


As a reader, I like to know the sensations that the characters experience during sex—both physical and emotional. I also like to be told exactly what’s happening at the business end of their coupling, and so that’s what I try and put into the stories I write.



While romance readers may prefer less explicit prose, I don’t think readers of erotica are offended when they come across words like ‘cock’ and ‘cunt’. They’re my go-to nouns for gentleman- and lady-tackle, though I do slip in the occasional ‘dick’ and ‘prick’ for variety.



I’m also fond of the word ‘minge’. I’m a British writer, so ‘pussy’ just doesn’t sit right on my tongue (heh), though as a reader I have no problem with it. In the UK, I think the most common slang term for the lady-parts is ‘fanny’, but that doesn’t translate well in the US (imagine my reaction whilst visiting Chicago when an American referred to my wife’s ‘fanny pack’).


I find anatomical names like penis and vagina in erotica to be mood killers, so I avoid those.


For male ejaculate, I use ‘cum’ or ‘jizz’, and occasionally the Brit-friendly ‘spunk’. Semen’s okay, but I think ‘seed’ and ‘sperm’ are more appropriate if possible fertilisation is the kink. Women have ‘juices’.


Every writer has their preferences and, for the most part, I’m happy to follow a story without getting too wound up on their choice of terms unless they’re something ridiculous, like ‘his love truncheon’ or ‘her scented love grotto’.

And I guarantee I’ll never use dialogue like, “Hey, Penelope. How’d you like to ride my purple pony to Pleasure Town?” or “Yo, Errol. Can I take that choo-choo of yours all the way to Orgasm Central?”


Another aspect of body parts is how much detail you go into when you describe them.


A couple of years ago, a guy wrote to me to say how much he’d enjoyed a cuckold story I’d written. I was actually in the middle of writing the sequel at the time, so when I replied to thank him, I offered him the chance to read what I’d written so far. He eagerly accepted and we swapped emails regarding the story until I’d finished it. One thing he suggested was that I had my hotwife mention the different smells and tastes of the bulls she experienced as she pulled back their foreskin. I confess that I didn’t follow his suggestion because I don’t find those details sexy. Where cocks are concerned, my description tends to be minimalist, leaving things to the reader’s imagination. At most, I might refer only to size, where the kink makes it relevant, or make the occasional mention of a curve one way or another. I don’t think I’ve ever specified whether or not there’s a foreskin. Where women are concerned, I tend not to go any more detailed than boob size, nipple shade and pubic hair appearance (or lack of).



Physical descriptions of their relative positions are important because I like to visualise the scene. I also like to read the sensations of the POV characters, and the physical reactions and expressions of the non-POV characters.


As for the emotional side: Who cares?


Just kidding. What’s going on inside the characters’ heads is a big part of the sexiness. Much of what I read and write is in the wife-sharing genre, and these stories thrive on the characters’ feelings. Whether a husband is watching his wife with another man, or the hotwife’s experiencing her bull while her husband watches, their thoughts are just as sexy to me as the slippery pink parts.


Body Fluids

Returning to the opening question, do we actually need to mention them at all?


I suppose the answer is ‘no’: I’ve read some wonderful sex-scenes where the descriptions are super-erotic without any explicit mention of the body fluids produced. Then again, the nature of the kink in the story does create some reader expectations. If you’re writing a story about creampies, or the story involves a cuckold clean-up scene, then a focus on the fluids becomes mandatory.


The pace of a scene also dictates how much description you can get away with; while the choreography might be moving too fast to be thorough about including details like taste and texture, the physical appearance and placement of a well-aimed dollop can contribute a lot to a scene.



Some authors are really good at making the most basic of human instincts and actions sound sexy. Of many examples, one that still sticks in my mind (about a year and a half after I first read it) is a description from Belinda LaPage’s Group Therapy in the second ERWA anthology, Twisted Sheets:


‘He snugged his convulsing balls tightly between the woman’s labia, and with a groan and some long, arching heaves, he painted two, three, four coats of high-gloss white on her ceiling.’


I think this is fabulous; while neither explicit nor crude, this conjures up the image of him coming inside her in a unique and very sexy way.


For me, good erotica involves a detailed description of the sex scene. If the author can express the feelings, sensations and reactions of the characters in a sexy way, it makes the scene work. If they can also describe the physical ‘comings and goings’ in a way that’s implicitly erotic, then it elevates the scene into something much more arousing than a Readers’ Wives confession-type thing.


I guess I can’t let the subject of body fluids pass without the mention of condom-use in erotica. There are two sides to the argument: some readers dislike the characters who take unwarranted risks, and others say they read for escapism, not realism.


I’ve written stories where the characters use condoms and stories where they don’t. I’ve also used plots where condoms are discussed but then discarded because their use does not fit the kink (such as the taboo of a married hotwife taking a bull bareback). It comes down to the author’s preference for that particular story.


However much I argue for author’s personal choices, it does appear that there are some things which readers don’t want to see in any dirty story. When I was doing some research for this post, I looked at a few websites that list elements in ‘bad erotica’. Below is a short list, in no particular order, of things readers don’t like:

  • writers who refer to the phallus entering inside the cervix or the womb or uterus
  • writers who confuse “prostate” and “prostrate”
  • hands, feet and dicks which undermine the characters’ brains and do things all by themselves
  • bad choreography (forgetting critical things like height difference)
  • lengthy flashbacks about exes in the middle of a sex scene
  • terms such as ‘exploding nipples’ and ‘weeping vaginas’
  • the term ‘cock snot’

It’s a relief not to have committed all these writing crimes, though it’s a shame I have to go back to my WIP and remove every single reference made to my MC’s cock snot…





This post is about how to avoid repetition in your writing, or to put it another way, how to avoid repetition in your writing (see what I did there?).

Writers sometimes use repeating elements intentionally because it’s a powerful tool for adding emphasis. Poets use repetition and anaphora to give rhythm and cadence to their writing. But what I know about poetry could be inscribed on the sex organ of a dwarf-ladybird, so I have no intention of trying to explain how repetition should be used to enhance your writing.


Here’s one of my favourite examples of intentional repetition, where the same phrase is used several times to emphasise the writer’s message.

This post is aimed at how to avoid the unintentional repetitions that find their way into our stories.

Repetition isn’t just about telling the reader the same information several times, overusing certain words or using the same word more than once in a sentence.

Avoiding repetition is about making your piece of work as diverse as possible, and you can do this by varying the word choice, the sentence structure and the paragraph length.

All writers have their own style and their own voice, and they also have their own repetitive quirks. It usually takes someone else to point them out to us – either our editor or readers offering a critique. Once you become aware of these quirks, you can use the ‘Find’ tool on Word and go through your manuscript to see if you need to remove or replace any of them.

This is referred to as a ‘Britney Edit’ (oops, I did it again).


The internet is full of help pages and tips on how to avoid repetition in your written work, and below are some of the ones I think are the most helpful.


  1. Read your work out loud.

Our eyes skip over our own words—especially when we’ve read them so many times. But by reading them out loud it gives a new perspective, and it makes it easier to hear you’ve used some words about twenty times in a chapter. Read slowly and listen to your words, then cut anything your hear too often.


  1. Avoid overused words

Unique words are fairly easy to avoid. Once you’ve used antidisestablishmentarianism, it’s easy to remember you’ve already enlightened your readers to your brilliant vocabulary. It’s more likely to be the common words that are the problem. Apparently, five of the most frequently overused words are: so, still, though, very and well. Check your own stories and see how often you use these words, and then decide if you actually need them or not.

I was first alerted to my overuse of ‘realise’ by a guy in the US. Each time he saw my UK spelling, underlined in red, it highlighted the fact I had about ten instances of the word in each chapter.


  1. Separate narrative from dialogue

If you intentionally have a character using a particular word or phrase in his dialogue to make him more recognisable, try to make sure you don’t overuse that word or phrase anywhere else in the story.


  1. Buy yourself a thesaurus

To avoid repeating words, a quick and easy solution (if you’re using Microsoft Word) is to right-click on the word and choose ‘synonyms’ from the dropdown menu. This will give you a few common alternatives. This is also useful when eliminating duplicated words within the same sentence. However, Microsoft don’t seem to have considered authors of erotica when they filled in the synonyms. For most of the common terms we use for body parts, they suggest we consult a thesaurus, but as alternatives for ‘cock’ they suggest raise, tilt, lift, incline or angle.


  1. Rotate your characters’ names for pronouns.

This is another area where reading out loud can help you find a good balance. Although you want the reader to be sure who is speaking, you don’t want to ram it down their throats (unless that’s part of the scene you’re writing).

Pronouns like he and she tend to be ‘silent’ words and hardly noticed.

But if you’ve ever written a sex scene involving more than one character of the same gender (for example, MM, FF, MFM or MFF), you’ll be aware how pronouns are much less user-friendly in those circumstances.


  1. It’s not just the words; think about sentence and paragraph variation

Try and introduce variety into the length of the sentences, with some short and some longer (though be conscious that overly-long and complicated sentences make it difficult for readers, especially if they’re only using one hand).

Vary the structure of your sentences, and make sure you don’t start each sentence in the same way. If every sentence begins with the same words or has the same structure, then the pace of your story will be the same and it will make it feel repetitive. It’s the same thing with paragraphs. These can be anything from a single sentence to five or more sentences. They’re there to give readers a break—but giving them breaks at exactly the same time over and again gets repetitive.

After you’ve finished your piece (be it a chapter or a full manuscript), quickly skim the first few words of each paragraph to make sure you’ve not repeated paragraph intros. It’s very easy to do without noticing it.


  1. Sometimes you can use the same words

As mentioned earlier about pronouns being ‘silent’, another word that seems to slip by readers without them noticing is ‘said’. This is a word you can use many times, as opposed to characters ‘hissing’ or ‘snarling’ too often, which readers would notice.

I try to minimise speech tags when I write, but that’s a personal thing. I see lots of writers who use he said/she said on almost every line, and apparently that doesn’t really count as repetition. But I do think that making your character’s voice identifiable helps minimise the use of speech tags.

In conclusion, avoiding unwanted repetition is about making sure your stories are diverse at every level. This includes your words, your sentences and your paragraphs.

Once you’re made aware of your own particular repetitive quirks and the mistakes you commonly make, they become easy to avoid.






Wives who are Hot – and their Husbands

The subject of this blog post was suggested because my turn to contribute to Editing Corner came just after I’d finished writing a story about a couple who invite other men into their home. Or, to be more accurate, who invite other men into their home to have sex with the wife while the husband watches.

It’s certainly not a new theme for stories, and psychologists can explain for hours how this is something that goes all the way back to our primitive ancestors. They’ll quote theories about ‘sperm competition’ and sex-mad bonobos, and tell us it’s all perfectly understandable behaviour.


The aforementioned story involves a fictitious couple called Harry and Michelle.

In the prequel, Michelle discovered that she enjoyed casual sex with other men, and her husband Harry discovered (much to his surprise) that he actually enjoyed watching it happen. There’s nothing new in that plot-line, and it’s been a well-used template in works of erotica for many years.

So, the scenario we’re talking about is a couple inviting another man to have sex with the wife. But, who should she choose…?

If Michelle had driven a Fiat Punto for ten years and was offered the chance to take something else for a test-drive, she’d want to upgrade. Something a bit flashy, with more power. Something bigger.

So, Michelle found herself a man with more to offer.



Michelle had become a hotwife.

Hotwife – Definition: a married woman who has sexual relationships with other men, typically with the consent of her husband.

Another term often attributed to ladies like Michelle is a slut-wife.

Although the word ‘slut’ is a vulgar term used to describe a woman considered by others to have loose sexual morals, it has a less offensive meaning within the hotwife alternative marriage community, referring to women who have chosen a non-monogamous lifestyle. Slut-wives can openly take on multiple partners and are not shamed for this choice, and their husbands approve of their promiscuity. So Michelle is also a slut-wife.


Harry likes to watch, so he’s a voyeur, right?

Voyeur – Definition: a person who gains sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.

But Harry is more precise than any normal Peeping Tom (there’s a joke about Tom, Dick and Harry crying out to be told here…)

Harry doesn’t get off on watching just anybody have sex: he gets off on watching his wife have sex, which makes him a wife-watcher.

Wife-watcher – Definition: A man who gains sexual pleasure from watching his wife have sex with another partner.

The term that’s most synonymous with this behaviour in erotica is cuckold.

It’s an old word, and this is what is says in the Oxford Reference:

Cuckold – Definition: The husband of an adulteress, often regarded as an object of derision, ultimately derived from Old French cucu ‘cuckoo’, from the cuckoo’s habit of laying its egg in another bird’s nest.

In fetish usage, a cuckold is complicit with the partner’s ‘infidelity’. But there’s more to it than that. As far as cuckoldry goes, the primary urge for the cuckold is to be humiliated. Psychology regards the cuckold fetish as a variant of sadomasochism. Freudian analysis sees it as eroticisation of the fears of infidelity and inadequacy. Some cuckolds don’t need to be present during the deed, and are happy to wait for their hotwife to return and describe her evening’s events in explicit detail.

The fetish only works if the cuckold enjoys the humiliation and degradation that accompanies his wife’s ‘infidelity’. If the husband doesn’t enjoy all of the humiliation and degradation, then he is not a cuckold.


Before the hotwife and cuckold can participate in their sordid shenanigans, they need something else. They need a ‘prop’. A big, thick, meaty prop. Yip, you guessed it. They need the person to have sex with the hotwife while the husband watches…

This man is known as the bull.

Bull – Definition: Within the context of cuckolding, a bull is a sexually dominant male who has sex with a married woman with her husband’s consent.

Bulls are typically good looking, confident, and well hung—which helps them satisfy women sexually in ways their loyal husbands can’t. Being a bull can be gratifying for men interested in sex rather than relationships. However, men looking for deeper connections may be disappointed and start feeling objectified by being a bull.

If you look at any cuckolding sites, the first thing you’ll notice is how many of the bulls are black. There are countless pictures of white women being pleasured by black men. The majority of these pictures have been taken by the husbands. Terms like BBC (big black cock) and Alpha are emblazoned over the pages of these sites.



Returning to my fictitious couple…

The hotwife has a loving husband and a series of ‘bulls’ to satisfy her womanly needs. For Michelle, life is good. She wants her husband to enjoy it as much as she does, and so she checks out cuckolding forums and chat rooms. She sees all the things that cucks love — denial, chastity, restraint, humiliation.

So she goes online and buys him a cock-cage, then informs him he’ll only be allowed to have sex when she thinks he deserves it. She lets him perform clean-up, which is exactly what it sounds like — using his tongue to clean up the mess the bull has deposited inside her during sex. Yip, Michelle is living the dream.

But for Harry, things seem to be going a little off-script. While there is no denying the thrill of watching his wife being used by the well-endowed bulls, he’s frustrated that she’s now off-limits to him. The cock-cage means he has to use a cubicle every time he takes a pee in the pub or at work, and he never gets the opportunity to give himself a four-finger-shuffle to ease the pressure.

And then there’s clean-up. He knew it was what she wanted—and he loved her—so he did it. Now she’s pushing him further; a pegging from her strap-on, contact with the bull, and worse.  What started out for Harry as a sexy, wife-watching adventure is becoming a bit of a nightmare.

Maybe Harry isn’t really a cuckold, after all…

So, what do you call a guy who enjoys all the voyeuristic pleasure of wife-watching without the humiliation part of being a cuck? He, I’m reliably informed, is a stag.

Stag – Definition: A dominant monogamous husband who shares his wife with other men without any humiliation. It turns him on to see her receive pleasure

The wife of a stag is called a vixen.

Vixen – Definition: A shared hotwife who does not degrade or humiliate her husband. Instead, she uses her play to turn him on.

Also, a stag/vixen encounter doesn’t preclude the husband being involved. As well as watching, he might eventually join in with his partner and another man rather than enjoying being excluded.


Before I started writing the second book, I contacted a couple of people who are in the lifestyle to ask if they’d answer some questions for me. The lady is a hotwife, and the guy describes himself as a ‘wife-watcher’ rather than a cuckold. They’re unrelated and, as far as I know, they don’t know one another.

I knew where I wanted my story to go and put forward the scenarios I intended to include, along with a lot of general questions about the lifestyle. Their willingness to answer all of my sordid questions has hopefully given my story a feeling of authenticity.

They were incredibly open with their answers, and it soon became apparent that they were at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to the ‘hotwife’ fetish. But what was also apparent was how strong their relationships are. They’re both in normal, loving relationships with their respective spouses. Both have families and jobs and regular lives.

The only difference between them and millions of other couples is that every once in a while they spice up their sex-life by including a third party. There is no jealousy, no bitterness, and certainly no seeing the other man without the husband being told. Both relationships work on total trust.


There are numerous sites where couples and bulls advertise their availability, and also chat rooms for them to ‘meet’ and discuss their preferences.



Many hotwives wear an anklet as a way of letting people know they’re in the wife-sharing alternative marriage lifestyle. This piece of jewellery is designed to show that the married woman’s husband is giving other men permission to talk to her with the knowledge that she may go a lot further than just talking.



Others have tattoos in prominent places (ankle, wrist) or not-so prominent places. A Queen of Spades tattoo signifies a woman who is looking specifically for a black man to have sex with.



I think of cuckold/hotwife and stag/vixen couples as two different examples of wife-sharing. I’ve seen this term listed as being synonymous with wife-swapping (swinging), but to me, the two are different.

The primary driving force of wife-sharing is that the husband gets sexual enjoyment from seeing his wife with another man. He gets pleasure from seeing her pleasure. It’s like he’s so proud of his possession that he wants to show her off. With wife-swapping, the primary driving force is that both partners want to experience sex with someone else.

Some people who start off as swingers may realise that the biggest thrill for the husband is watching his wife with another man. Conversely, some couples who go down the wife-sharing route may find that once in a while, the husband wants to experience contact with another woman as well. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules. Each couple is different, and they’re perfectly entitled to have a change to the routine every now and then. But for the most part, the husband in a wife-sharing relationship is monogamous. He only desires his wife.


Though aware that wife-sharing was a popular fantasy, I was surprised when I first started my research at the sheer number of people actually participating in the lifestyle. I’ve read that the divorce rates between couples within the wife-sharing community are much lower than those between regular couples, and I’m pretty sure that this is also true of couples within the swinging community.

I’m told that it is imperative that you are honest with each other, and that you have a clear understanding of each other’s desires and limits. For any couples considering dipping their toes in the wife-sharing pool, it would be beneficial for you both to talk it through and discuss what it is you’re both hoping to get out of it.

For Harry and Michelle, that lack of communication caused problems that could easily have been avoided. But then, all stories need a little conflict, so I didn’t have them discussing what worked for them until halfway through Book 2.


Basically, if you’re thinking about writing a story around a wife-sharing scenario, then you have to decide if the husband is going to be a cuckold or a stag.

The nice thing is, he can be anywhere between the two extremes. And since it’s your story, you can decide what each half of the couple wants out of the arrangement and give your story an interesting dynamic as well lashings of fulfilling sex.



Proofreading – or Utilising your ‘Inner Picky Bastard’


A degenerate like me should be able to enjoy smutty stories in all their dribble-inducing glory. I love nothing more than to immerse myself in the libidinous creations of like-minded perverts, and to delight in the depths of their filthy imaginations.

Writers are creative. They have thoughts and write them down to create fiction. The story is there to entertain readers. When writers have dirty thoughts it’s even better, because putting those thoughts into words creates fucktion. This type of story is there not only to entertain readers, but also to arouse them.

I enjoy stories that I can get into: stories I can see clearly in my head as I read the words. I like to be enveloped in the author’s world and share the experiences through their characters.

But I enjoy many other kinds of stories. I like sluts, slags and slappers. I love horny hotwives and bi-bimbos. I’m happy to read about them getting serviced by studs, bulls, firemen, dwarves and cheating husbands. I like threesomes, foursomes and more-somes, and I love reading an all-girl finger-fest (I suspect I’m a lesbian trapped inside a man’s body).

So as you can see, there must be squillions of stories out there waiting for me to lose myself in.

Unfortunately for me, I have two problems when it comes to reading erotica (I actually have many more, but I’m only going to tell you about two of them).

The first is my ‘realism radar’, which I find difficult to turn off. Put simply, if I don’t believe the story, I can’t immerse myself in it. My radar goes off when characters fall into each other’s underwear at the flimsiest of circumstances (like in a 70’s porno). Or when the guy is hung like a baboon and can copulate for three hours straight—having several copious ejaculations along the way—without the need to stop for a breather or a biscuit.

I want a plot that involves plausible situations and believable performances from the participants – even if they’re less satisfying for the characters. I enjoy a story where the guy comes too soon and the woman has to satisfy herself with an angle-poise lamp.

The second problem I have when I’m reading is my ‘inner picky bastard’, which seems to be something I cannot switch off.

I can be reading a hot scene in a very good story when all of a sudden the spell is broken, and I’m kicked out of the moment by thoughts like: ‘There shouldn’t be a double t in clitoris,’ or ‘I think knobcheese should be hyphenated’.  A simple typo can blip me out of the groove, and so then I have to work hard to re-immerse myself.


It’s typos that I’m going to discuss in this post.


Typos are an inevitable part of the writing process. We’re all trying to get our thoughts down into a legible story and our fingers sometimes slip, or our brain runs quicker than our hands. We’ve all done it, and we’ll all continue to do it.

I appreciate how easy it is for typos to slip through – especially in early drafts. When authors read through their own work their mind knows what it should say, and their eyes skip happily past glaring errors that they’d pick up immediately in others’ work. I’m as guilty of this as the next parson (see what I did there?).

But it’s important to pick up as many typos as we can when we proofread.

While it’s easy to accept that one or two errors will slip through to the final draft, I find it disappointing when there are so many that it ruins the story. My ‘inner picky bastard’ is so frustratingly ever-present when I’m reading, that I’ve actually abandoned books I’ve paid good money for. But that could be because I’m an anal, sad twat…

Funny examples of spelling mistakes and typos on public signs are forever being posted on FB and Twitter. Even computer programmers aren’t immune:



A good way for catching typos is to get someone else to read it. Many authors have their own beta-readers who pick up typos as well as plot holes and inconsistencies. This help is invaluable. For others who don’t have beta-readers, ERWA’s email critiquing group, Storytime, is a great place to post an early draft.

The standard indication of a simple spelling error in Microsoft Word is the dreaded red squiggly underline.

If you encounter the red squiggle beneath a word that you know is spelt correctly (such as ‘knobjockey’ or ‘cuntweasle’), then you can right-click on that word and add it to your dictionary. That way, the only time it’ll show a red-squiggly underline in the future is if you spell it differently. You can use the same strategy for characters’ names to make sure you spell them consistently throughout.

Word can often miss typos which create legitimate alternative words. A common mistake I make when I’m typing is to drop the last letter of ‘they’ or ‘then’.

Word reserves the blue squiggly line to indicate where it thinks you’ve used the wrong word. It’s helpful, but you need to use your own discretion as to what you want the sentence to say. As an example of its limitations, below are five sentences. I’ve used bold italics to indicate where Word applied a blue squiggly line:


I saw her running through a wood. [This is what I meant to say]

I saw her running though a wood. [Word spots the grammar error: conjunction used as verb]

I saw her running through a would. [Word spots verb form incorrectly used as noun]

I saw her running through would [No mistake identified!]

I sore her running threw a wood. [incorrect verbs still identified as verbs – no mistake indicated.]


Another common case of blue squiggly lines comes with apostrophes. The programme sometimes suggests you should have it’s when you’ve written its, and vice versa. Word will also raise punctuation queries; if you start a sentence with ‘What’ or ‘Why’ or ‘Who’, it often suggests you need a question mark at the end.

The story I submitted for consideration to the Twisted Sheets anthology contains the following sentence:

‘Mindy groaned around the cock in her mouth.’

I remember looking at the sentence and wondering what I’d done wrong to earn the blue squiggle. I re-read it and thought it said what I’d wanted it to say (no missing words, etc), so wasn’t sure why it had been questioned. When I right-clicked on ‘cock’, the programme suggested I may have meant ‘clock’.  Obviously Bill Gates has never heard the crude punk-rock version of Bill Haley’s classic 🙂

Options for spelling (US, UK or Canadian), number format, quote marks, use of italics, hyphens, ellipses and dashes are all things you should know before you start the story, especially if you’re writing for a specific call. These elements in particular need to be proofed carefully, because Word will not have the capacity to assess compliance with a house style.


Tips on Proofreading

I’ve done some professional proofreading for a local medical writing company, using my scientific background, and have also proofread quite a few papers, theses and dissertations for colleagues, friends and family members.

One of the most common suggestions is to put the story away for a couple of weeks, then go back to it. I never have time to do this as I’m often rushing to meet deadlines and release dates. But what I always do, when I first sit down to write, is to read through what I wrote during my last session. This is a first read-through, and lots of typos get cleaned up at this stage.

Below is a list of tips that I’ve found online and in books over the years. I’m not saying you should use all of them (I certainly don’t) – but some work well for me. I suggest you use the ones that work for you.


  • print it out and read it on paper (screen glare tires your eyes, apparently)
  • get into a correcting mind-set. Don’t try re-writing or editing as you go – just concentrate on eradicating typographic errors
  • point a pencil at each word one at a time (apparently this stops the natural tendency to skim)
  • a variation of the pencil pointing is to put a ruler under each line as you read
  • read it aloud (there are apps that’ll do text-to-speech if you prefer)
  • use a different font style than you’re used to and increase the text size
  • read it backwards (start at the end and read back, word by word. Apparently it helps you focus on spelling)
  • listen to classical music while proofreading
  • read it naked (okay – that one’s not actually in any of the articles I read)


I tend to rely on the first two, but I have used the pencil and ruler methods for papers with lots of scientific detail and chemical names.

You probably already know what your most common mistakes are, so you’ll be able to look out for them. Things like missing quote marks, missing commas before dialogue tags, putting each character’s dialogue on its own line, repetition or over-use of certain words. Missing full stops at the end of paragraphs.

I know I’m guilty of all the above. A common mistake I make is to hit the wrong key: more often than not, I’ll hit a semi-colon instead of an apostrophe, giving me don;t, can;t or it;s. At least these errors are easy to spot immediately thanks to the squiggly red underline.

Microsoft Word is also a useful programme to check to see if you overuse certain words. I use words like ‘realise’ and ‘just’ far too often. In a recent story I posted in Storytime, someone pointed out I’d use ‘watch’ a lot of times.

To check if you’re guilty of this, when you have your Word document open, press CTL+F (or click on Find at the top right of your Home toolbar (with the binoculars icon), and choose the same thing from the dropdown menu.

This will open the Navigation panel on the left of the screen. Type any word into the box, and it’ll tell you how many times you’ve used that word within the document. It’ll also show each sentence that includes it, as well as highlighting each instance in the document itself. You can use the arrows to click up and down to see all the uses, and if you change any, the number of uses reduces.

Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll see:


I hope this post – my first one – doesn’t come across as a dig at anyone for not proofreading their stories thoroughly. I appreciate that not everyone has access to a second, fresh pair of eyes to do it for them. But by spending that extra time on checking for and removing needless errors, it makes the manuscript so much more readable – especially for people with an inner picky bastard that won’t shut up.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt



Pin It on Pinterest