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Thread: Is 'vomit' a trigger word?

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  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Is 'vomit' a trigger word?

    I've always been comfortable with basic bodily functions, blood doesn't really bother me, urine, whatever, it's biology.

    I know several people who are totally freaked out when someone throws up.

    And, a few readers seem to get unduly freaked out by the fact that some of my characters toss their cookies. Like, in a scene where a bunch of stuff is going on, it is specifically the vomit that they respond to. A gunshot to the head, fine. But a character hurling their lunch all over the table? That's a no go.

    So, anyway, my starting inclination is to call 'vomit' 'vomit.' Maybe that's wrong. Since a few people are like "Oh my God, really? He throws up??" I'm wondering if it's a trigger word of some sort and maybe I should say 'spits up' or something less definitive.

    I see guidelines here and there on how severely one should limit certain words and types of words. However, I've never seen such a list for bodily functions. Defecate, urinate, ejaculate, vomit, blow the boogers out one's nose, spit, dig out earwax, sweat, bleed, ooze pus- There's lots of fluids that we make. Are there basic guidelines as to how to handle some of these?

    I instinctively only use urination once, as a show of irritation of a secondary character toward a main character. Sort of an alpha male thing. No defecation or ejaculation in the story. Those two are just not necessary for the character arcs . But I have a lot of vomit - Three different characters for three different reasons. Even the first instance gets eyebrows from readers.

    There's a lot of sweating, bleeding, and I think one instance of boogers but I wouldn't be certain about that one it might have been picked back out. (sorry, couldn't resist.)

    Maybe reading the word 'vomit' makes some readers feel like vomiting. Like yawning.

    Any thoughts? Any guidelines?
    Last edited by Patty; 06-14-2018 at 06:48 PM.
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