Today is #sixsunday where writers share six sentences from their work. I’ll share a snippet from my time-travel romance WIP tentatively titled MUST LOVE BREECHES.

Here’s my new pitch/logline: When a thoroughly modern girl finds herself stranded in 1834 London, she must find a way home while navigating the pitfalls of London society, resisting her attraction to a hunky lord, and ultimately having to decide when her true home lies.  (You can see the other entries here.)

Okay, a couple of week’s back I shared the new first opening lines and below is taking the last line in that and reworking it to show their obsession with guys in breeches, not tell. I wanted to get y’all’s opinion. I had one critiquer tell me they thought this was a bit gross/crass, but I wasn’t sure if it was just her sensibilities, or if it really was just, well, gross. Setup: they are at a reenactment ball set in 1834.

At least her co-worker Anna was with her in this. Like Isabelle’s, her dress was circa 1834. “Hmmm, how about him?” Isabelle asked, eyeing the guy walking past in tight-fitting, buff-colored breeches.

Anna sucked on her olive and plopped the stir stick back into her cocktail. “Oh, yes, a breech-ripper for sure.”

Since this is the third and fourth paragraph, I don’t want to get her characterization wrong. To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here. Other time-travel SSS writers: Gayle Ramage

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week! Have a great Sunday!

  1. Hah! Depends on who (or what) is going the breech-ripping! Definitely not gross, but it seems purposely crass–and funny. It’s a nice turn on the “button-popping” convention.

  2. Well, I’m glad I made it back for this one! 😀 I’m in agreement with the others here. It’s a clever phrase. And you can’t expext to please everyone. My only concern would be how soon this comment comes in the story. It definitely sets a tone. If that tone doesn’t match the rest of the book, you might want to push the phrase to later. Also, there is a chance you might put off some – some – readers who might read the tone of that line as the overall tone of the book. This is the opening paragraph of the book & I don’t believe you can be too picky or careful about wording, tone, etc. Just something to think about!

    • In fairness to the one critter, this used to be the opening line. I moved it down to the 3rd paragraph and hopefully her geeky awkwardness preceding this will counteract it, put it in context. It’s supposed to be like she’s going along with Anna in this moment, and it’s Anna that says the line? She’s wanting to fit in…

      • Great idea, Angela. That’s what I was going to suggest. Plus, for those readers (and maybe for the protagonist?) who don’t get the reference right away (breech ripper = bodice ripper). When I read it, my mind was trying to work out if 1) he was so well endowed that he was about to rip out of his breeches or 2) that he looked so delicious that Anna wanted to rip off the breeches. The rest of the snippet is very well done in showing rather than telling-puts the reader right there in the moment.

      • I have to admit I didn’t quite get the connection to ‘bodice ripper’ until I read the comments. I was thinking you meant it more along the lines of Karysa’s impression #1. 😮 If it was clearly connected to ‘bodice ripper’ I think you wouldn’t have any concerns (I have a feeling that confusion was the source of the ‘gross’ comment).

  3. I don’t think it’s crass either. I think that it’s Anna that says it works. I personally don’t consider this setting a tone, either. Rather what I see is the relationship between them and Anna’s personality jumping out at me. I think this illustrates Anna’s character. It makes her sound like a firecracker. She sounds like the kind of person who speaks her mind. Sounds to me like a very fun secondary.

    Oh, and I agree. You can’t please everybody.

  4. I agree that it’s not crass/gross at all. I think it’s a great way to show what your character is thinking/feeling while giving an insight to her personality and sense of humor. It’s a great detail. Go with what works best for you and the story–some people will never be happy.

  5. I think that’s the perfect counterpoint to “bodice-ripper”—and also shows that the main character is a woman with modern sexual sensibilities. And it’s funny, too. 😀

  6. I’m totally on board with this. There’s a great tradition of putting the bawdy comments in the mouth of the wisecracking best friend and this is what I’m seeing here (the friend says it, not the heroine, right?). So you have the friend as the extension of the heroine’s thoughts to an extent, saying what the heroine can only think or is not yet ready to say aloud. Great ending line.

  7. I can’t imagine why it would considered gross or crass. Your character is still a modern gal. If this was a historical and not a time travel, the comment would be out of context and not appropriate, but I think it fits fine here.

  8. As someone told me a while ago, you can’t worry about – ah forget the actual wording – can’t worry about hurting your readers sensibilities if what you write works in the general scheme of the story. In this case your line works. For all the positive reasons given above I love time travel and this one sounds like a good read

  9. LOL! LOVE it! “breech-ripper” Excellent. I love how the girls are ‘checking out’ the guys. Such a great turn around of the normal guy-checks-girl-out. Also love how you “show” this with the “sucked on her olive and plopped the stir stick back into her cocktail” Classic. I can just see them standing there sizing guys up while they’re drinking their cocktails. This is great, and not at all crass or vulgar IMHO. Great six!

  10. Monica Enderle Pierce

    I agree, clever not crass. There’s just a little bit of immaturity in the humor, which fits with the ‘geeky awkwardness’ you’re going for.

  11. For me it worked well, but I’m not sure how many non-romance readers will get the bodice-ripper to breech-ripper train of thought without a bit of lead up? Just food for thought. Still, cracked me up. They at least know how to enjoy a party, and I love the tie in with the title.

    • You’re absolutely right, Sadie. That’s what happened to me, a “non-romance reader.” I took the comment to mean he was busting out of his breeches! Quite a different take. Now that I’ve gotten the right idea, I think it’s rather clever. And as someone else mentioned, it’s the sidekick who makes the comment, which does make a difference.

  12. Once more into the breeches, dear friends! This may be a Rorschach kind of a phrase, I got the bodice-ripper reference, but the first thing I thought of was breech births rather than ripping the breeches off the dude. You know where babies are born feet first rather than head first, then there was a kind of X-rated thought that would require a lot of lubricant ewww, not going there. I’ve learned the hard way that over-explain things like this avoids some readers stopping and saying “What?” So rather than using a short hand not every reader would understand. Personally after a line about bodice-ripping romances, I’d put in some dialogue that explained the phrase as in–“That guy can rip off my bodice any time and I’d rip off those breeches to return the favor!” kind of thing. Just being annoyingly nit picky as is my wont!

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