Wednesday, November 22, 2006

JK: Took'er Books

I learned a new word this week and decided it described a kind of book I didn’t write. An English woman told me she’d begun reading my latest, A Clearing in the Wild, about a woman who travels with nine male scouts from Missouri to the Northwest to find a site for their religious colony in 1853. It’s based on a true story and so far, it’s been well-received.

Anyway, this lovely English woman with her 7-Up accent (English accents just bubble in my mind) said that her husband told her she probably wouldn’t like my book because it wasn’t a “took’er” book.
“Took’er book?” I asked. “I’m not sure what that is.”

“Oh, you know, when the author writes, ‘He took ‘er into his arms, or the bedroom or wherever and I get to imagine all these titillating things going on.”

“Ah, a ‘took her’ book….” I said. “And you’re probably right. Mine aren’t because I have this agreement with my characters, that I won’t reveal any of their sexual idiosyncrasies and then they won’t reveal any of mine!”

“But he was wrong!” She added. “I do love this book and even went into the living room to read it because he has lights out at 11:00 PM and I wasn’t ready for lights out.”

I’m quite sure their marriage would make an interesting essay.

I digress. The good news was that one can write a compelling story without the “took’er book” scenes. But we’ve known that for a long time, haven’t we Christian writers? That’s not to suggest there is no romance, for there is in a good novel. But the romance doesn’t have to include gynecological scenes in order to whet a person’s appetite for passion. It just needs to include feeling deeply and that’s something we want all our characters to experience and our readers too. I also think it takes more work as a writer to create that sense of deep devotion, of romance, of moments when our breaths are taken away with the suggestion of the sheer joy of passion WITHOUT the use of gynecology. That’s when language truly is our paintbrush and the imagination our pallet.

Still, ‘took’er book keeps ringing in my ears…not so much what it means but just the word itself. It made my day even if I don’t write them!

Jane Kirkpatrick does write award-winning books, though. You can read about them on her website


At 12:17 AM, Blogger Christina Tarabochia said...

Jane, in my late teenage years--when I knew better, but didn't care to think about the consequences--I used to read took 'er books. I don't remember a single relationship from any of them, but I can instantly recall the love (or struggle to love) between the characters in any of your books!

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Katy said...

Jane--LOVE this! Thank you for the chuckle.

You've reminded me of being in a large audience of Jan Karon fans, with her standing in front answering questions. Someone asked why she didn't include more intense romance scenes in her books.

Oh, but I do!" she said. Then she directed us to open our books to page this-and-such, and she read aloud something like, "Cynthia kissed her new husband with fervor and then smiled sweetly before reaching past him to switch off the lamp."

Jan Karon said, "If that's not a sex scene, I don't know what is!" The audience loved that.

Katy McKenna

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

I'm reading an ABA took 'er book right now and have decided I can't stomach anymore. So I've put it aside. It's supposed to be about biblical characters and their unique place in history and instead, is mostly about their sexuality (my opinion).

If Ernest Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls could write, "Robert and Maria crawled into the sleeping bag, and the earth shook beneath them," then I think we, too, can write with restraint yet still convey passion.

Jane, you said, “Ah, a ‘took her’ book. Mine aren’t, because I have this agreement with my characters, that I won’t reveal any of their sexual idiosyncrasies and then they won’t reveal any of mine!”

THIS IS BRILLIANT! Thanks, Jane, for summing up this issue superbly.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is good, Jane. I love the gynecological references. Nah, none of that. Then we'd have to include prostate references. No thanks.
Writing good romance takes genuine creativity. Graphics don't take much.


Post a Comment

<< Home