Friday, July 02, 2010

How can I talk about sex, if I'm not writing any?

It's the finale to sex week at DWT, and it's strange that I'm going to finish it, because right now, my characters should not be having sex. I've ventured into the world of YA, where sex is handled very carefully, and in a lot of books, is at most hinted at, or completely absent.

I'm going for the hinted at variety, where there is attraction, and interest, but, in this book, little physical interaction.

In many ways this is a relief for me. For all the reasons discussed this week, sex scenes are really difficult to write, and I've never been able to shut my writer door, and written them as unencumbered as I would have liked.
It's a little sad that I kill people hundreds of different ways in print without even blinking an eye, but writing about an intimate connection between two people who care for each other has me blushing at my computer.

But having written in romance, the one thing I never forget is the joy of that attraction, the connection between two attracted people, no matter what the age. And the complications that can add to a protagonist's life if the attraction is unwanted or stricken with tension.

I know from reading some amazing books, and what Eileen so deftly pointed out, that the actual sex scene is not necessary to create a really sexy book. It's all in the details.

And it means I have to work harder to create the mood, and details of that attraction, because I have to do it subtly, and without the obvious body parts involved.

So, no sex for me. At least in this book. But I'm still hoping there will be some romance, some sizzle and sensual tension.

7 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

I've just written 2 books where there wasn't even a hint of sex. My editor even thought that showing nervousness by referring to my heroine's belly--even when the hero wasn't around--was too sexual.

But they wanted those books to appeal to tweens as well as teens...

I know from the teen lit loops I'm on that there are certainly lots of books out there where teenagers are having sex, but I haven't read any recently. Now I'm curious. I might flip through a Gossip Girl book. Based on the TV show, those characters are certainly having lots of sex... And Vampire Diaries, too... but I wonder if it's "on screen" in the books...

That said, I think even the rabidly abstinent teen books (like Twilight) are very steamy. More evidence that you can create the emotions without showing the act.

But in grown up books... I do like the sex to be shown, if it's done well. The showing I mean, not the actual sex. The sex can be done badly, if it's shown well. ;)

Eileen said...

What a great point! Why is it so easy to kill people off and so difficult to get them in bed together? I know part of the fear involved in writing sex scenes for me is that I don't want to slip and reveal more personal information than anyone needs. :-) I've never killed anyone so I can't accidentally reveal something about my personal likes and dislikes in that area that I don't want everyone to know. I have had sex (I know. You're shocked. You all thought those two boys got here through immaculate conception.) and it would be all too easy to reveal something embarrassing.

That said, you might as well all know that there's this spot on my wrist that drives me insane. :-)

Maureen McGowan said...

LOL about the spot on your wrist, Eileen.

I think we all have that fear about the sex scenes. The crazy thing is that as fiction writers we make stuff up. Why do people assume we've either done or would like to do the stuff in sex scenes whereas they don't necessarily make that assumption about other things in the stories?

Maureen McGowan said...

The sex vs violence thing is one that kills me in another kind of entertainment -- movies. More specifically ratings...

It's okay for kids to see tons of violence, but show a flash of boob and it's rated R.

Eileen said...

I see it at my own house, though. I'll watch a movie with my kids that has people being blown up, but none of us want to watch a movie that has a lot of sex in it together. It's too uncomfortable.

Hence, again, my True Blood issues.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Hmm... interesting point Eileen. I never really thought about what my sex scenes reveal about me.

Which is probably a good thing and why I can simply let it all hang out.

But yeah I would not watch True Blood with my nephews around... wouldn't want them to see my hyperventilating over Naked Eric...

Yummmm... Naked Eric.

Sinead M said...

I'm with Stephanie on the naked Eric thing. And I wish more non-writers understood, sex scenes reveal character and sometimes plot, but if done well, the author is just serving the story, not their own erotic needs..

Then we'd get fewer stupid smirks and ridiculous comments..

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...