Saturday, 18 February 2012

Are My Weekly Pocket Novels Getting Bolder?

Part of my pocket novel workshop deals with the morality of pocket novel world (and there'll be a Pocketeers' post coming up from me about that in the future). I've been urging caution, on all things from sex to drunkeness to smoking. I haven't ruled them out altogether. I've just urged subtlety.

But one of my participants has told me that recently she read some pocket novels where one hero was a recovering alcoholic, another hero smoked, and a heroine complained that she had trouble getting 'laid'.

I can understand that the recovering alcoholic might work in the context of the tortured hero, and my latest PN is set in a pub (and the PF editor knows that but still wants to see the rest). But I am surprised to find a slang term like 'laid' in a My Weekly Pocket Novel, especially as we're advised to be subtle about sex scenes. In case the author is reading, I'm not judging her harshly in any way. I write erotica which uses much stronger language, so am in no position to judge. I'm just discussing this in terms of what MW have allowed in the past compared to what the editor seems to be allowing now.

I obviously need to read some of the latest to see if there is a shift in style and tone, but has anyone else noticed anything in the latest novellas that at one time we might have considered taboo? And if so, do you think that this might be because they realise that to survive they're going to have to appeal to a younger audience?


  1. I haven't noticed any change in policy. I can understand Maggie letting a damaged hero be a reformed alcoholic, and smoking would be common in a wartime setting, but the word 'laid' does seem to be pushing the boundaries. I was told that the word 'naked' in one of my stories would be edited out.

  2. I was reading one recently, 'Pitched Into Love' by Judy Jarvie, and the heroine intends to sleep with the hero, and the next chapter started with them waking up together...Subtle, but not what usually happens in a PN- or at least not in those I've read so far...

  3. I sent in a partial to Maggie recently and she has come back with suggestions of how she'd like some changes, including my heroine getting pregnant with a 'bad' man and being put through an emotional wringer. She's also suggested murders and mysteries so yes,they are changing!
    love Chrissie

  4. Wow, that's interesting, Chrissie! It makes me feel more sure about one I abandoned last year because I was afraid it was too dark. I know Maggie has taken murders and mysteries, as that's mainly what I write. I may have to dust it off and see if she likes it!

  5. In my latest PN, my hero and heroine sleep together - nothing graphic but it's clear that they did and yes, faced each other the next day too. I hadn't intended for them to sleep together but Maggie had said that was acceptable.

  6. Come on, times change, we need more action, murder and sex on pocket novels! :) We are not talking about People´s friend serials which still are very "polite".