Our guest post today is from Eva Caye the author of Dignity (science fiction romance).
Geeking Out on the Thesaurus: The Password is PASSIONATE
Frustrated with the lack of rating standards in the publishing industry, specifically for how to determine if a book can be marketed as Y/A, I began working up a six-part post to be called PASSIONATE PROSE. I have been looking at romance websites and blogs for quite a while, and the variety of rating systems for romance alone, differing from one website to another, boggled my mind. What about people like me, writing in the sub-genre of science fiction romance? Science fiction ‘fen’ do not have the same standards for ‘heat’ levels as romance readers do. There appears to be no universal rating system, like movies, music, and TV. Glaring at all the descriptions, I wondered about the language used in romance. Naturally, I headed to thesaurus.com and looked up the word PASSIONATE….
Folks, there were NINE PAGES to the entry. The editor-in-my-brain attacked the entries with OCD-like ferocity. To begin my analysis of the entries properly, I copied them into a Word document, re-deranged them like crazy using the awesome tools in that program, and spent a shameful amount of time entering them into an Excel spreadsheet. I left each main entry up and included its one or two-word description, but deleted the synonyms of the ‘negative’-sounding ones, as well as all antonyms. I sorted them A-Z, and then sorted them by frequency.
When I do have time to analyze the list, it will be the fourth segment of my six-part post. But for now, I look at all the excellent words mentioned only once in relation to the word passionate, and wonder how our society can stand to think of passion without more loyal, chivalrous men, determined and committed to the breathless ladies with whom they are aspiring to share their extravagant, soulful, rapturous passion? After all, what else does it mean to be in love? I want never-failing romance!
For your viewing pleasure, here is the list I ended up with:
passionate (31) (although there were a total of *snicker* 69 entries for the word!), ardent (20), fervent (18), enthusiastic (15), impassioned (14), zealous (14), excited (13), fervid (11), hot (11), intense (11), eager (10), earnest (9), erotic (9)
Other word frequencies:
Eight mentions: burning, loving, romantic, tender, warm
Six mentions: animated, blazing, fanatical, fiery, heated hot-blooded, lustful, spirited, wholehearted
Five mentions: affectionate, emotional, lively, lovey-dovey, red-hot, sincere
Four mentions: angry, anxious, deep, demonstrative, effusive, fierce, fired up, flaming, fond, glowing, gung ho, heartfelt, hearty, mushy, sensual, sexy, tear-jerking, touching, violent
Three mentions: amatory, aroused, carnal, concupiscent, corny, dedicated, devout, doting, dreamy, dying to, ecstatic, excitable, expressive, genuine, gushing, idealistic, inspired, languishing, lascivious, libidinous, maudlin, moving, nostalgic, overemotional, pathetic, prurient, rash, responsive, serious, sloppy, steamy, stirring, sultry, syrupy, turned-on, unfeigned, visionary, voluptuous, wanton, warmhearted, white-hot
Two mentions: admiring, adoring, affected, affecting, agog, aphrodisiac, athirst, attached, attracted, bathetic, concerned, cordial, covetous, dewy-eyed, ebullient, enamored, energetic, enthused, exciting, exuberant, faithful, feeling, feverish, frank, friendly, generous, gotta have, grasping, greedy, gushy, heavy, horny, hungry, hysterical, impetuous, impressionable, impulsive, inane, infatuated, insipid, irascible, itchy, jejune, keyed up, lovesick, moonstruck, nutty, obsessed, overacted, perfervid, pious, poignant, profound, rabid, ravenous, real, religious, reverent, rhapsodic, rosewater, saccharine, salacious, sappy, schmaltzy, sensuous, silly, simpering, slushy, soapy, softhearted, starry-eyed, stimulated, stirred, stormy, sugary, sweet, tearful, temperamental, thirsty, thrilled, torrid, unqualified, unreserved, upset, vapid, very enthusiastic, vigorous, vivacious, vivid, weepy, wild, willing, yearning
One mention: abiding, ablaze, acquisitive, adherent, adulatory, adventurous, affable, afire, aggressive, agitated, amative, ambitious, amiable, animal, animalistic, antsy, appreciative, aspiring, attentive, authentic, avaricious, back-slapping, banzai, benevolent, bestial, bona fide, bound up, boy crazy, breathless, bright, bugged, candid, can-do, caring, charming, cheerful, cheery, chimerical, chivalrous, coarse, colorful, coming on strong, committed, complete, complimentary, compulsive, confused, considerate, crabby, craving, crazy about, daring, dear, debauched, deepest, deep-felt, desirable desiring, destructive, determined, disturbed, driving, emotive, emphatic, enchanting, enduring, epicurean, eulogistic, exhilarated, exotic, extravagant, fairy-tale, falling apart, fanatical, fanatic, fanciful, fantastic, fascinated, fascinating, fast, fevered, fickle, fireball, fleshly, forceful, frenetic, frenzied, furious, gaga, gay, generative, genial, genital, genitive, girl crazy, glad, glamorous, godly, gone on, goody two-shoes, goody-goody, happy, have a crush on, heart-and-soul, heartwarming, hedonic, hedonistic, histrionic, holy, honest, hopeful, hopped up, hot and heavy, hot for, hot-headed, hotshot and heavy, idolatrous, idyllic, ill-considered, impatient, impractical, impure, in love, incontinent, inflamed, insatiable, intent, interested, intimate, irrational, irritable, jolly, jovial, kind, laudatory, lecherous, lewd, libertine, liking, longing, loose, loyal, lurid, lusty, mawkish, meaningful, melodramatic, menacing, moody, mysterious, neighborly, nervous, never-failing, obscene, obsessive, orthodox, overenthusiastic, overwrought, painful, panegyrical, peppery, picturesque, pietistic, pleased, pleasure-seeking, poetic, possessed, powerful, prayerful, precipitant, prehensile, proactive, procreative, profuse, provocative, psyched, pumped, pushy, quick-tempered, quixotic, raging, rapacious, rapturous, ready, reproductive, respecting, revealing, reverential, revering, ripe, roused, rousing, sarcastic, satiric, scintillating, seductive, self-starting, sensitive, sensualistic, sentient, sexual, sexually excited, sharing, sincerely believing, sobby, soft, solicitous, soppy, sot, soulful, spontaneous, steadfast, steady, steamed up, sure, susceptible, sweet for, sweet on, sybaritic, take-charge, tantalized, telling, tempestuous, thoughtful, thrilling, titillated, tumultuous, unchaste, unconsidered, unfaltering, unquestioning, unrealistic, unrestrained, unstinting, unwavering, utopian, valuing, venerating, venereal, very angry, very excited, vixens, voluptuary, voracious, wacky, whimsical, wicked, wild about, wild-eyed, wishful, wishing, wistful, wooing, worked up, worshipful, worshiping, X-rated