Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You Have To Bring The Penis

I don't actually have a blog to go with that title. But that was something Stephanie said when she read my manuscript this weekend. Bring the penis I believe was her way of telling me to sex the book up. In particular the first half and in particular a scene with the hockey-playing hero in the shower. All by his lonesome. A masturbation scene.

She's totally right - but my problem has been and will probably always be - I don't like writing sex scenes. And it is 100% because of my mom. She reads these books. She gave some to her minister at church. Her book group - which includes several of my former teachers - talk about my books. And I get it - this isn't one of my best decisions. The romance world has gotten hot. And unless I write sweet romance - which I don't - I need to bring the penis and stop thinking about what my mom is thinking.

But in my efforts to resist this advice I went back and looked at some older books that I always thought had fabulous sexual tension without constant sex - but man, was I wrong. Those SEP books I love so much - those characters are constantly getting it on. Constantly making out. Teresa Mederios same thing. I wonder if their mother's read their books? The language is different, sure. But manhood by any other name is still a penis.

So, tomorrow I'm going to take my cold medication, send my kids off to school, do a load of laundry, think about what I'm making for dinner, if I'm lucky - take a shower. And then, I'll probably meet Maureen at a public coffeehouse and at some point - I will bring the penis.

How about you? Do you have your mother's in your heads while you write? Your best friend? Your Dad? Does the reality of your book being out in the world make you edit yourself?


Maureen McGowan said...

Seriously laughing out loud right now.

I think the writers who make us think we were just reading sexual tension when they actually included a lot of penis, are the ones who make those scenes about more than just the penis.

Boy are we going to get hits on this post... And maybe an adult rating on blogger. Awesome.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I was thinking about this of course after I said it. Because as I said to Molly it's one of those things where as writers we don't want to include sex for sex sake. That NEVER works.

But at the same time we KNOW that if we're not "sweet" writers - then we have to go other way which is where those books are trendy.

And I don't know if it's really "hotter" per say - but the language is different. The euphamisms are gone - and so it might sound harder, more hard core.

And where I think the penis (And guy "scenes") comes into play... is that it's foreign territory for women. It's a forbidden place and just by taking us there it's a little exotic and erotic.

As I told Molly - she doesn't REALLY need to add a thing to her story.

But if in my mind you give me a hot, sweaty, manly, hardbodied hockey god.... well then I want to see the WHOLE thing.

As for writing the sexy scenes... my mother skips them. My brother won't read my books. My male co-workers surprisingly read them... but do not give me too much grief.

Sinead M said...

Too funny... and Steph makes a really good point. I never really take marketability into account when critiquing, but I know I should.

And yes, too many other people's opinions are in my head when I'm writing sex scenes...
I want them gone..

Eileen said...

First of all, I think we have another DWT Maxim for Good Writing. "Bring the penis" goes hand in hand (so to speak) with "Throw her in the Dumpster."

Second, oh yeah! Those scenes are so hard for me to write! I got to kind of wink and shut the door in my chick lit novels, but when I started writing romantic suspense, I was told in no uncertain terms to, well, bring the penis. Yes, it was hard to think about my mother reading them, but I was also kind of worried about revealing too much of myself. I mean, was what I thought was sexy normal? Then, oh, the grief I got from friends and acquaintances. My books are still incredibly tame and they were all teasing me about how hot and spicy they were.

Third, I kinda want to see the hardbodied hockey god now so get writing, Miss Molly.

Eileen said...

I knew I forgot something! There was a South Park episode that was basically about Bringing the Penis. The teacher, the one with the puppet, writes a romance novel and it's all about the penis. As he points out, when anyone looks for the "good part" of the book, it's always about the penis.

And wow, I'm not sure I've ever typed "penis" so many times in such a short time period.

Simone St. James said...

I dunno, I think the sex has to serve the story. If your characters need to have sex, then the scene should be there. If they don't, then it shouldn't.

But are you really writing a story about a pro hockey player who has no libido? Really? Are you going to make him chastely ponder the heroine as he watches Eat Pray Love for the tenth time? That guy is not a hockey player. So what does the story call for?

I love my mom and I value her input, but if my characters are going to have sex, they're not consulting her first. lol!

Natasha said...

First off - I love the title. Makes me think of potlucks (I'm Lutheran, potlucks are big). After I got done wondering what would happen if I announced I would be bringing hoo-ha casserole to the luncheon before the annual meeting, I thought perhaps adding some perspective from one who knew you before you were "The Award-Winning Molly O'Keefe" might help.

The first time I picked up one of your books, I couldn't help but remember you as High School Molly. Then I got lost in your story and though I could still "hear" you, the characters took over. My point being that you are a skilled storyteller and if you avoid hot sex, and the characters are going that way - I'm going to notice - and that will pull me out of the story more than the fact that my old high school buddy described sex - in the daylight, without a Ouija board, Jolt Cola or Funyon in sight.

Bring the penis.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Yes! Tasha! That was the kind of voice of reason/voice from the past I needed. Thanks for chiming in and adding your pro-penis vote.

As a side note and mostly to make Sinead laugh - Tasha and I were in Pom Pons together....yep. Pom pons.

Rogenna Brewer said...

You can see what brings me out of lurk mode ;)

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