Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Writing No-No: Capitalizing Pronouns and Nouns in BDSM Books

Jim Lyon is the author of two femme domme novels for Sizzler Editions: Unexpected Domme and Uncharted Territory. He also reviews frequently for, and

While reviewing a lot of BDSM-themed e-books lately, I noticed that a surprising number of them don't appear to have been proofread very well or at all. Some have so many typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, and omitted punctuation marks that they resemble a rough draft rather than a polished manuscript. Such sloppy editorial practices on the Internet have long been a fact of life, but electronic books that people are paying for really should be error free, or close to it. What is truly baffling about this is, we live in the age of ubiquitous word processing software with spell check, grammar check and find and replace features designed to make writing and editing easy.

Granted, the worst offenders are the self-published books, but the remainder passed through the hands of at least one editor on their way to market. One can only wonder whether any editorial input transpired on those books beyond deciding yay or nay on publishing them if so little attention was given to producing a finished professional product. It may be that this is simply a reality of digital publishing, of which I was blissfully unaware until recently.

My current immersion in BDSM literature has also made me aware that one of my least favorite writing conventions, capitalizing pronouns and nouns referring to masters and mistresses, has spilled over from the Internet and is alive and well in BDSM e-books. In case you've been spared being subjected to this affectation, it manifests itself thusly: "When Master came into the room, He ran His fingers through His hair and pursed His lips." Perhaps you can appreciate that an entire book of that would become tiresome.

Lamentably, often these stories also use lowercase letters for pronouns and even names of submissives, which results in the likes of: "james and i scurried to Mistress' side and handed Her a glass of water, which She sipped then poured over james' head." This convention becomes truly dreadful when the tone is always reverential when the master or mistress is mentioned even in the most mundane circumstances. Thankfully, not many BSDM authors are enamored of this affectation, but it is out there - forewarned is forearmed!

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