Archive for 'guilty pleasures'



Guilty pleasures
by Jessa Slade on September 21st, 2009

Currently working on: Book 3!
Mood: Time traveling ahead

Maybe it’s because I’m a Type A personality, from a Puritan work ethic country, raised Catholic, who writes about temptation and damnation, but the concept of guilty pleasures intrigues me.  Pleasure: Something that feels good.  Guilty pleasure: Feeling bad about something that feels good.  How we humans love to complicate even simple things!

When I told my XY that the topic this week is guilty pleasures, he immediately said, “You’re going to write about your bucket o’ cookie dough again?”  And I said, “No, silly.  I don’t feel guilty about that.”

Guilty pleasures feature importantly in romance fiction.  Powerful guilt about pleasure creates sexily somber, asthete heroes who desperately need their heroines to bring light and laughter back to their lives.  No guilt about anything leads to delicious villainy.  (Not that I think my guilt-free cookie dough consumption will lead inevitably to world domination, although it is delicious.)  While the guilt might keep hero and heroine apart for awhile, the irresistible pleasure always brings them together by The End.  Besides, everyone knows that the naughty thrill is part of what makes a guilty pleasure so pleasurable!

I used to have lots of guilty pleasures: Wasting a whole day curled up on the couch with a book; surfing the net for hours on end; reading trashy magazines with more ads than articles; watching trashy TV.

I say “used to” not because I don’t do those things anymore, but because I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.  Not only do I use guilty pleasure in my writing, I use my writing to excuse my guilty pleasures.  My secret to guilt-free pleasures — Word choice.  Watch how a few deft turns of phrase turn guilt into work even a Purolic (that’s a melding of Puritan and Catholic) can endorse:

  • Wasting a whole day curled up on the couch with a book = Market research.
  • Surfing the net for hours on end = Book research.  Oh, I’m on Facebook?  That = Networking.
  • Reading trashy magazines with more ads than articles = Finger on pulse of popular culture.
  • Watching trashy TV = Finger on pulse of popular culture (and finding it deader than vampires).

Hey, I’m a writer after all; word choice is what we do.  And think about how many women admit that they consider reading romance one of their guilty pleasures; if anyone should advocate for turning guilty pleasure into open, honest, no-holds-barred, in-your-face, and-I’ll-take-two-of-him pleasure, shouldn’t it be a romance writer?

Do you have any good euphemisms for your guilty pleasures?  If you need help coming up with one, confess and we’ll brainstorm something for you.