Thursday, July 01, 2010

Let's talk about sex baby...

Okay so we’re talking about sex this week. Molly kicked it off and it’s funny because her post was about whether she should add more. For me this is about whether I can get away with what I have.

Reading her post and dealing with the idea that I may (still no word yet) end up directing my current WIP more towards historical/mystery than romance, sex has been on the brain a lot for me. I’m at the point in my WIP where I planned for the first sexual interaction between the characters and needless to say I’m stalled.
How much is too much? How much is not enough? Do they really need to do anything?
For people writing romance or anything with “romantic elements” this becomes an issue. I don’t want to upset readers of historical mystery with graphic sex scenes. But I also want to be true to myself.

Who am I? I like sex scenes in my books. I just do. Why? Because I’m a deviant? Pretty sure I’m not. Because I’m a single woman and sexually deprived? Possibly. But I’m also deprived of having a man take out the garbage and I don’t need to add scenes like those into my books.

So what is it? For me it’s the vulnerable moment. It’s not the act or the lead up or what you can do to make it hot hot hot. It’s that point where I want to strip – literally and figuratively – my characters so that I can really see how they are in that exposed moment.

The scene I’m writing is about the hero who is torn between his desire for the heroine and his own will because he’s vowed he will not take her for all sorts of reasons. He’s angry and upset and sexually frustrated. That’s not helped by the fact that my heroine keeps tempting him and teasing him and pushing all of his buttons. I want to see that frustration. I need to see how far he’s willing to go frighten her away. To shock her into submission.

It’s just not a scene I can do behind closed doors. It’s a scene that I want to be very raw and graphic because that’s how it plays out in my head.

So I’m gonna do it. I’m going to write it like I see it. If by some miracle the book gets bought and is placed with mystery books and I shock the ever living sh*t out of someone as they read this scene causing people everywhere to blush silly… well, then I apologize in advance.

But it should be noted to all those romance critics out there who think we only write sex scenes for the sake of titillation that they are wrong. The reason why a mystery writer describes a gruesome murder, the reason why a thriller writer, describes a detailed torture sequence, and the reason why a romance writer writes a juicy sex scene – should be for the same reason.

To tell the story that is in the author's head.


Sinead M said...

Great post, Stephanie. You should absolutely write that sex scene, because it sounds amazing, and it fits the story..

Some of the best non-romances have amazing sex scenes. that 4th Anita Blake book had a really detailed, really sexy, and really character revealing sex scene, after three books with almost no sex.

Maureen McGowan said...

Amen sistah! (About the reasons why sex scenes are in romances.)

And go for it with the sex scene even if it's going to be a mystery. Like you said yourself, it's not there for titillation, it's there for the story.

Maureen McGowan said...

What the - what the... the dingo ate my baby!!! (Translation, blogger ate my comment!)

Maureen McGowan said...

Okay, ate that one, too... Maybe I'll wait a while and try again.

Eileen said...

Oh, yes! Write that scene, Steph! It sounds fantastic. Hot and steamy and completely necessary to the emotional development between the characters. It's exactly the right kind of scene.

I think the mystery/thriller readers will get it. One of the Chelsea Cain books had a series of sex scenes (or maybe it was just one long one, can't remember) and it made perfect sense and was completely necessary to show both where the characters had been and where they were headed.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Sex it is then! Looks like I'm going to be spending a hot and steamy 4th of July weekend...

Because you know it's going to be 90 degrees and humid in NJ this weekend. :)

Molly O'Keefe said...

I've read a lot of non-romance novels with a romantic subplot and that they didn't have a sex scene was a disappointment for the very same reason, it's showing a whole different side to your character.

Joseph Boyden, who wrote Three Day Road and THrough Black Spruce - all literary, Three Day Road is a world war 1 novel -- great sex scene in each book, that was important and sweet and sad and a little scary.

I think some writers choose not to write them because they're hard and probably, thier mother's voices are in thier head.

So, all that rambling to say - I can't wait to read your book Steph - it sounds awesome!

dandellion said...

Don't even think about how much is enough.

If the scene is part of the plot and if it reveals characters, then, by all means, go for it. And do it properly. There is one thing even worse than missing an important scene just because it's sex: doing the sex scene that has no passion in it. I don't mean passion of the characters, they have their lives and they'll do it how they feel. But you have to write it truly and with writing passion. And that doesn't stand for omitting things just because some of your readers might be scared. If they want "safe" environment, they should watch TV advertisements.

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