Plural People

Right, right, I’m supposed to occasionally give writing advice…

“There are men and women in the scene. How do I easily refer to the group?”

We always, as writers and editors, want some variation in words. It’s repetitive and boring to use people hundreds of times in the book. But what else works when the group in the orgy room includes both male and female bodies, or the group of friends giving you advice on your love life comprises men and women?

Depending on the circumstances or the relationship of the group members to each other, try some of these. Just be sure the implications of a particular word, positive or negative, match what you are trying to convey.

allies
associates
audience
clan
clique
community
comrades
confederates
congregation
everyone/everybody
family
folks
followers
friends
gathering
general public
group
guys – As a singular noun, this is male. But it is now accepted as colloquial use for a mixed-gender group.
herd
horde
members – Hmm, be careful about this word if your story includes sex scenes.
menage – The original meaning is a group of people living together. A specific number is not implied, it can be more than just “a trois”.
mob – Especially if the group is behaving in a wild or violent way.
pals
participants
party
peeps – In its contemporary colloquial usage, not meaning the Easter candy.
players
swarm
team
throng

Or, if the people have something in common such as profession or activity, refer to them by that group term: teachers, joggers, soldiers, actors (which includes male and female), millionaires, revelers, orgiasts.

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