Shannon Stacey

Health class, anyone?

I’m reading Sex and the Serial Killer by Jennifer Skully, and really enjoying it. And finally the conflicted couple has hit the sheets, and the heroines says:

“I started my pills on Sunday. They should work right away.”


So, after being unceremoniously jerked out of this rather steamy love scene, I ponder contraceptives.

I’m 32. I’ve been married eleven years in May…oh crap–twelve years in May–and being face to monitor with my computer every day is reminder enough that technology of every ilk is marching by me faster than ants to a dropped chunk of Krispy Kreme doughnut. I’m what…about 16 years out of health class?

It’s late, and I’m not about to go back through the book and figure out how many days have passed since Sunday, but guessing from the wording, I’d say less than a week. Birth control pills didn’t kick in that fast back when I was young. (You know, waaaaaay back when? The tall child asked me if they had video games when I was a kid. Oh PulEEZE! I had an Atari, thank you very much.)

So, anyway… Either my opinion of this heroine just tanked, or I need to arrange a sit-in at the local high school’s health class if I’m going to write contemporary, I guess.

Or not. Condoms can be an out-of-touch girl’s best friend, right?

13 comments to “Health class, anyone?”

  1. Jaynie R
      · March 12th, 2005 at 4:48 am · Link

    I’m pretty sure they still take longer than that to kick in…and wouldn’t she want a condom anyway? Unless she was positive the hero was a virgin LMAO.

  2. Jaci
      · March 12th, 2005 at 7:46 am · Link

    yup…nothing like yanking you right outta that love scene.

    I’m way more years past birth control than you, honey, and it still takes longer than a week.

    And what Jaynie said. If they’re gonna mention birth control in a book, then what about condoms for STD’s

  3. e_w
      · March 12th, 2005 at 9:25 am · Link

    My opinion of the heroine might mean less than my opinion of the author. Apparently, she either wants us to think her protag is an abject idiot about her own body, or doesn’t give a crap about accuracy…or the sixteen-yr.-old who reads the book and six months later thinks, “Yeah, the doc SAID they wouldn’t kick in for a month, but I remember this book I read…and THAT chick didn’t get knocked up…”

    I don’t believe I’d give this particular wordsmith another penny of my custom. But that’s just me. I tend to be wicked cranky that way.

  4. Nicole
      · March 12th, 2005 at 9:53 am · Link

    Pill isn’t, and I think even the shot takes a week (though that week is supposed to be your period, so I think many people arent doing it anyways, lol).

  5. Sylvia Day
      · March 12th, 2005 at 10:27 am · Link

    Last I heard it took a full month for the pill to reach maximum effectiveness. But I admit it’s been a long time since I worried about that. As my hubby likes to say, I had him neutered. :wink:

  6. Shannon
      · March 12th, 2005 at 3:01 pm · Link

    I was going to go back through the book and track the contraceptive mentions, but I’ve decided that with a trashed house and a blizzard, I have better things to do. I’ll let it rest on the character’s line about starting the pills on Sunday.

    I’m enjoying the book way too much to let that turn me off, though. And I’ll be waiting for Jennifer Skully’s next book.

    Maybe this is one of those “readers reading” vs. “writers reading” things. I know how hard it is to keep track of timelines and who’s doing what when, and things that made sense in your head came out wrong on the page.

    Am I more willing to forgive a slip here and there because I know how hard it is to get 100,000 words on that screen in an engaging and makes-sense manner? Probably.

    Maybe the idea that one slip-up or error like that can totally turn a reader off an author is just plain scary to me. While I can try like hell to always put my best work out there, I’d have to be a total ass to even think I won’t make a mistake like that.

    I wish the author or the editor or the copyeditors or somebody had caught it, though. Being jerked out of a good scene sucks.

    (It’s reassuring to know I’m not THAT out of the loop, though. *g*)

  7. Cece
      · March 12th, 2005 at 6:14 pm · Link

    “I took my Viagra but if the effects last longer than four hours, call 911.”

    Okay sorry. LOL I can definitely see something so definitive jerking you out of the scene. She could have easily said “I’m on the pill.” Nuf said, you’re covered. Shots work too LOL. If the rest of the book is good, one slip ain’t no biggie cause ultimately we all know writers, copyeditors and editors are real people too. Stuff does get by. And timelines can be a real bitch to keep straight :(

  8. Cece
      · March 12th, 2005 at 6:15 pm · Link

    P. S. The good thing about writing about a married couple is that you don’t have to worry about condoms LOL 8-D

  9. Candy
      · March 12th, 2005 at 7:35 pm · Link

    If you’re just starting the pills, I believe it takes at least a month for it to be effective. If you’re a forgetful nit and skip more than two pills in a row *koffkoff* it takes about a week for them to reach their usual effectiveness. This information is so easily Googled, it’s mind-boggling.

    I’ll definitely forgive an author an oversight like that as long as I like the rest of the book, and as long as the book isn’t sprinkled with similar types of mistakes. Jennifer Crusie claimed the whale died in Moby Dick in Strange Bedpersons, and I didn’t hold that error against her because the rest of the book was so fabulous.

  10. Shannon
      · March 13th, 2005 at 2:16 pm · Link

    And that’s why we don’t call her Ishmael. *ggg*

    Jennifer Crusie would REALLY have to screw something up for me to give up on her. (Although, strangely enough, Welcome to Temptation and Faking It were the two I don’t like, just like somebody else we know. Freaky.)

  11. Diana
      · March 14th, 2005 at 8:54 am · Link

    :cursin: I’ve almost given up expecting any sort of responsibility from certain romance authors. Because of my upbringing, I’m passionate about seeing safe sex scenes in my romances. If they aren’t there, I spend the whole time thinking, “My lord, I hope he doesn’t have any STDs.” Especially if the sexual partner in question is a suspected serial killer. LOL!

  12. Shannon
      · March 14th, 2005 at 10:00 am · Link

    It’s such a hard balance to achieve, though. Yes, my hero and heroine use a condom, but if you want to get technical, should she even kiss him?

    Probably not. But romantic fantasy can certainly suffer in the interest of safe-sex realism.

    I’m usually happy with the mention of a condom. No mention of protection at all bugs me, but if I’m enjoying the story I’ll just assume there was a condom involved.

    It’s not really a hot button issue for me, but when a heroine says something that every post-health-class girl in the country knows is false, that pulls me out of the story.

  13. Anna Lucia
      · March 15th, 2005 at 1:30 pm · Link

    My pills protect you from the first pill. But since you start a pack on the first day of your period, unless she was diving into bed with the H at least a week later, my “eeeeew!” circuits would be screaming to life.

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