Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here is the Steeple

Yesterday I was looking over my 3rd grade son's homework, and there was the time-honored assignment: use the following vocabulary words in a sentence. For "countries," my boy had really turned on the creative juices and come up with "I love countries."

"That's ridiculous," I said. "You can't even tell what the word means from context."

I would love to see what sentences he could come up with for the following list of Banned Vocabulary in Harlequin's Steeple Hill Christian romance line (which I paste from a Ted Dekker post forwarded to me):

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Love Inspired Guidelines

Terms that cannot be used in a Steeple Hill novel:

Arousal
Bastard
Bet/betting
Bishop
Bra
Breast (except for breast cancer if necessary)
Buttocks or butt (alternatively, you can say derriere or backside)
Crap
Damn (try "blast" instead)
Darn
Dern/durn
Devil (except in the religious sense, but the circumstances would be rare)
Dang or Dagnabbit
Doody
Father (when used to describe a religious official)
Fiend
For heaven's sake (can use "for goodness' sake" instead)
For the love of Mike
For Pete's sake
Gee
Geez/jeez (but "sheesh" is acceptable)
Gosh
Golly
Halloween
Harlot
Heat (when used to describe kisses)
Heck
Hell (except in the religious sense, but this would be rare)
Holy cow
Hot/hottie
Hunk
Need/hunger (when used to describe non-food-focused state of being)
Pee
Poop
Panties
Passion
Priest
Sexy
Sex
Sexual attraction
Tempting (as applied to the opposite sex)
St. [name of saint]
Swear, as in "I swear..." - Christian characters are not supposed to swear.
Undergarments - of any kind
Whore

The following are allowed only in the context mentioned:

Angel - only when used in a Biblical context
Miracle - only when used in a Biblical context
Oh my God/Oh, God - ONLY allowed when it's clearly part of a prayer
Heavenly - only when used in a Biblical context
Although you can say “He cursed” or mention cursing, do not overuse. Furthermore, only non-Christian characters can curse.
Situations to be avoided:
Kissing below the neck
Visible signs or discussions of arousal or sexual attraction or being out of control
Double entendre
Nudity - people changing clothes "on screen" or any character clad only in a towel
Hero and heroine sleeping in the same house without a third party, even if they're not sleeping together or in the same room

Also, Christian characters should not smoke, drink, gamble, play cards or dance (except in historical novels they may dance but please limit to square dances and balls, no “sexy” dancing like waltzing cheek to cheek), and terms associated with these activities should only be used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such.

Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don't want to sound quaint or absurd.

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It's just too tempting, isn't it? If any of you would like to forward me one-page screenplays, based entirely on the vocab list, I would not be averse to reading them. They're like automatic plot generators!

(Slade enters the square dance hall, needing very badly to pee. Then his attention is arrested by Sloe Blossom as she allemandes right, her harlot breasts nearly popping from her undergarments.)

Slade: Howdy Doody! That is some hot looking mama! I bet even the priests and bishops have a tough time keeping their minds on heavenly matters when that little angel promenades by.

(Sloe catches sight of Slade.)

Sloe: (to her sq. dance partner) For the love of Mike--I swear, if you don't tell me the name of that fiend staring at me in the doorway I'll abandon this life of virtue and return to my career dealing cards in Vegas.

Pardner: Durn, if that bastard isn't Slade Boulder. I ain't seen him since last Halloween when I was in line behind him for the outhouse 'cause I needed to poop. That devil left superglue on the seat, and my butt was stuck to it from here to eternity. It was a miracle Father Fran happened by and heard me hollering. Heck if I didn't swear to Saint Nicholas that if I ever saw that trickster again I'd rip the same size hunk outta him.

etc. etc.

Forget NaNoWriMo--let's see your Steeple Hill entries!

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