Monday, June 28, 2010

Sex and the Married Writer

So, I hit my halfway mark for my Bantam book and I feel about 60% good about it. Which is nice. But the 40% I don't feel good about revolves around sex. And the lack of it. The romance world has gotten hotter and hotter and it's infiltrated almost every sub-genre, so as I sit at half-way and my character have only shared one KISS! I wonder how bad I'm screwing up my debut effort.

Now, I don't want anything to seem forced, we've all read those books. An obligatory out of the blue sex scene on page forty that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But how important is sex in romance? Is sexual tension enough? I know my answer which is yes, but am I risking a whole whack of people putting down my book? And there are some places where I could sex things up, without too much trouble - but, I like the way things are now. But would I be smarter to change them? I waffle. Constantly.

I also, stupidly, found myself killing my sexual tension - things would start off steamy. And then, by the middle of the scene, they'd be sitting there, shirts off, drinking tea, discussing thier various daddy issues.(Figuratively, of course, but as I think about it, not really) So, I've fixed that - but how long can sexual tension carry a book?

I'm reading the new Sherry Thomas (I know, Sinead, I'm weak and I couldn't resist) and how she freaking manages to create sexual tension between these characters and make me stay up too late to see it resolved both inspires and intimidates me.

I am no Sherry Thomas, but perhaps it's worth a shot?

Again, I waffle.


Eileen said...

Well, you probably should do the opposite of what I think is right as I'm feeling particularly out of step with the rest of the world these days.

I happen to like the tension WAY more than I like the pages long descriptions of Tab A going into Slot B. Maybe it's that I'm of a certain age and the body parts interest me less than the emotion and the psychology.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I'm not going to lie... I like the steamy stuff. Hoyt, Kresely Cole, Ione... good stuff.

BUT they've set that expectation so that's what I'm looking for in those books.

I also love Deanna Raybourn (all tension no sex) and Laurie King (all tension no on stage sex).

I didn't care for the Dalh book I read because I very much felt as if the sex was there for sex's sake.

So the answer is... you've got to be who you are. If you make the tension work readers will love it, and that's who you will be. Lottatensionlesssex O'Keefe.

That's my fear with going historical/mystery - sometimes I feel like I need the sex to really bring the point home regarding the relationship. I need to have that conclusion in the bedroom - and have decided I'm just going to do it and see what happens.

We should call this sex week on DWT - because I plan to be bloggin about this issue too on Thursday!

Don't waffle. If you've gotten to the halfway point and that's where your characters are... then that's who you are.

Sexing it up would just be for the sake of sexing it up. Readers will still find you and love.

Anonymous said...

I'm of the if you create crazy sexual tension (and you have, 'cause I've read what you've written,) then string me along for a little while. Because that first sex scene is a bit of a pop in that balloon.
(I'm making no sense)

But if you give the reader a fantastic sex scene after all that tension, they will not care that they didn't get it on till page 240

Better that than some contrived sex scene with no heat and no tension.

Eileen said...

You made total sense, Sinead! That first sex scene marks a huge turning point. Balloon pop indeed!

Molly O'Keefe said...

Eileen - I have no clue what the rest of the world is doing, these days. I'm beginning to think if they're stepping, then I'm crawling?

I totally agree with all of you - that tension is better than sex for sex sake, but we're writers, we stopped reading like readers a while ago (excpet for the hours I just killed with Sherry Thomas - I read her like a reader)

But Doyle - I think your true to yourself message still holds up.

And sex week at DWT sounds like a good time!

Eileen said...

Sex week it is!

Stephanie Doyle said...

I didn't attend... but heard good things about a workshop that Hoyt did at Nationals. Hope she's offering it again this year.

She's hot a writer but she explains that each of the scenes has some purpose. Angry sex, funny sex, loving sex.

Eileen's right the tab A, slot b - is boring. Many of my favorite writers (whose sex scenes I used to LOVE) now seem bland and boring because there is no real point to them.

Just... okay we're about 1/3 of the way in, it's time for sex...

I hate that. Have sex on page 1 or page 301 - but give me the reader a reason as to why it's relavent then.

Maureen McGowan said...

I, like Stephanie, really like the steamy stuff. But that said, I think some of my favorite romances (Kinsale, Balogh, Thomas) were ones where the writer made me wait.

Hey girls... we all know that it can be way better after lots of build up, right?

Trust yourself. You're on the right track.

Maureen McGowan said...

And like so many other things... I think you have to do what works for your story.

You write hot really well. And could totally do a book filled with lots of sex scenes and make that work. But it's not this book. Their conflict is too big at the start to have them make things physical too soon. IMO.

Steph, I just listened to that Hoyt talk on tape! (CD) It was good and I so agree with her. Sex scenes a huge chance to develop plot/show character. So many authors just throw them away...

And it was funny. Especially when it digressed into a long and rather graphic discussion on waxing.

Karen W said...

For me, the emotion is what matters, not so much the sex. However, if the sex scene is done with emotion.... O. M. G!! Elizabeth Lowell did one of the best sex scenes I've ever read in one of her medieval romances. It started out with the hero trying to show mastery over the heroine and ended up totally losing control. Sigh. When it's done right, I love it.

However, the old Tab A and Slot B is boring and I skim right over those pages.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I prefer sexual tension and in my chick lit novel, the sex was behind closed doors. But in my soon-to-be-released romance novel, the character is such, the sex scenes seemed important to the story. But, now, writing my second romance, I'm conflicted about sex again... :)

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