Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Doing “it” well…

Posted by Dahlia on April 6, 2011

This past weekend, I read a free romance ebook. It was actually the first romance novel I read since I was about 12 when I read one of my mother’s Danielle Steele novels. Romance isn’t usually my preferred genre but it was free, so why not?

I will say I enjoyed the book. I read it in one sitting. However, I found it to be a bit predictable. The plot was a successful asset manager propositions one of her most handsome and wealthy clients to father her baby as she isn’t interested in a husband. They spend a week on a remote island for the sole purpose of making said baby and of course they share the most incredible, “mind-blowing”, “earth-rocking”,”don’t stop get it get it”, “make me want a cigarette and I ain’t no smoking chick”, “your love is the bomb baby” type-sex ever. At least that’s how it supposed to go down. Without it being erotic and pornish. And of course, after this one week of endless screwing they are supposed to go about business as usual…(Yeah, right *insert eye roll here*). My other issue with the story was that the female in question was only 25. The story of wanting a baby and no husband would seem more realistic if she were older, perhaps in her late 30s into her 40s and that darn biological clock was like a ringing in her ears. Although I can believe a person can be that jaded by love at 25, it seems a bit far-fetched to go leapfrogging straight into motherhood without at least looking for a mate first. The best part of the story would be its love scenes, which made up about 85% of the book.

I don’t really do love scenes in my writing. I’m an alluder. I’ll assume my reader understands that the character(s) have gotten or are about to get his/her/their freak on. The thought of attempting it makes me giggle and blush. Only because I’d hate for it to come off as cliched, overdone, and corny. I am also growing aware of my limitations at this point in my writing. So, until I can get a handle on what makes a good love scene, I’m good with alluding to the act.

Besides, what else would break the flow of a good story than a love scene that uses words like “magic stick” “ride the pony” “sugar walls” and “love button”…Ewwww, cringe! (I’m in no way saying that I would have the gall to include those words in my WIP unless I was clearly using humor, sarcasm, or both) On the flip side of using weird words to describe body parts, who wants to be all clinical and sterile…this isn’t a trip to the doctors for your annual physical. Then again, “…and then they had sex/made love” is *yawn*…boring. There’s no point in putting it in (pardon the pun) if you’re not going to commit to the scene. And what could be worse than wording the love scene with phrases that make you want to flinch or laugh out loud (in a bad way)? Perhaps an unrealistic setting/locale? True, folks can get it on in a car but if that car is a Geo Prism and your characters are over 5’8″… The only ending for that scene is a trip to the ER because somebody’s gonna get hurt. Weather can play a part in setting the mood, but come on, would you have them literally doing it “in the rain”? Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit extreme with my examples…

Why am I interested in the art of the love scene? I have several planned story ideas in mind and for one in particular I have an opening where I think a love scene may be appropriate. I just need to find that balance of making it good without going overboard or making the reader want to throw up in their mouths a little. Fortunately, I have some time before I get to writing it (and who knows, I may have come up with another opening when I do start that story) which means more time to “research” — find a few more books for my “case study” so I can come up with some “best practices”.

All in all, every writer has strengths and weaknesses. Some writers can craft a helluva love scene, some should never ever attempt it. Others, with a bit of guidance and a few revisions, may be able to pull off something that’s right in the middle. Others still (like me) go right to the point of where it’s about to go down and then…end scene!

So, where say you? Do you go all in, avoid at all costs, try to find that happy space that’s neither hot nor cold, or say it without saying it? This is a perfect post for a poll, so click away…


5 Responses to “Doing “it” well…”

  1. MJones said

    This is something I made myself do over and over and over until I was good at it. It’s… Erm… Hard work!

    There are ways to make a love scene classy. I have a serial fiction piece that is heavy on the love scenes and I never once use a corny euphemism. Nor am I clinical. It just takes practice to describe the action and intimacy in a way that draws your reader in without cheapening the entire scene.

    Now, I do have one piece that is graphic… I pulled out all the stops. It still came out pretty good. I mean, I think it’s good.

  2. Debs said

    Allude all the way. Sexy scenes — yikes. They’re scary.

  3. Trisha said

    I don’t mind reading other people’s detailed love scenes, but for my own writing I just allude. I prefer to focus on all the other stuff – the attraction, the tension, etc. 🙂 And leave the good stuff to the reader’s imagination 😀

    Foreplay is where it’s at! As in, metaphorical foreplay as well as the literal stuff 😉

  4. When I finished writing my first book I gave it to my mom to read, and the first thing she said was “it needs more sex” (it had no sex). So she gave me a few of her favorite books that have sex scenes in them and told me to study up (yeah, my mom is pretty awesome ;P). Now I have no problem writing the foreplay parts of the scene, but I still fade to black for the actual sex part. I don’t think anyone needs to read that unless it’s an erotic novel 🙂

  5. synithiaw said

    It is hard, but I like reading (and writing) sex scenes. I’m very early in the writing process, so I don’t know if people will like it. So far my husband does 🙂 I try not to be really clinical, and I stay away from raunchy language. I think I found a balance, but only time will tell.

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