Friday, July 14, 2006

Different Strokes

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Here at the Playground, I am pleased to say that we are all very different writers with different styles, genres and interests. I’m sure its part of what makes us an interesting group, although we’re similar enough in values and goals to be cohesive, even co-dependent. I guess we’d be boring if we all wrote the same kind of stuff for the same lines.

One big difference is sex. When it comes down to it, we all write romances and unless you’re targeting an inspirational line, there’s going to be some. They could be married and committed, thrown together by danger or tragedy, or simply giving into raging hormones. It could be sweet, gritty, hot, passionate, touching, even kinky. The locales and circumstances can differ widely. You never know how, when or how often, but as a reader, you can pretty much count on it showing up eventually.

Myself, I guess I’m sort of an old school romance kind of girl. There’s sex...oh yes, definitely sex, but it takes a while. They’ve got to work up to it. The reader and the characters have to agonize for nearly two hundred pages of near misses, almosts, and untimely interruptions. The characters have to grow and go through some sort of personal realization before they allow themselves to give into the temptation. Once they do, of course, the whole story goes to hell in a hand-basket. Usually they only get one sex scene because their world sweeps them up before they get another chance. I’ve gone so far as to have the black moment happen so soon after they’re still panting and sweaty.

Other Playfriends are targeting hotter lines than I am. They write in a world where sex can happen in the second chapter, sometimes even the first if the story can allow for it. Then it continues throughout the entire story. The relationships build along the way and aren’t required to be established beforehand. I listen to them talk sometimes about the situations and encounters they’ve crafted for their characters and I think...“no way could I write that.” It wouldn’t even occur to me to think of that.

I guess that’s just my writing and my style because it certainly can’t be said that I’m a prude. I’m not opposed to sex scenes. I love them. I really admire people who can create a really creative and fresh sex scene that makes me all squirmy. And it isn’t like my sex scenes are hard to write or awkward for me. (Although, if I say that I have to wait and write it when the characters are ready, do you promise not to laugh?) I actually would like to think my scenes are pretty darn good. They’d better be, if there’s only one in the whole book.

I’m writing this today because my characters, after 14 grueling chapters, are supposed to get it on today. And they aren’t ready. After 2500 years, you think she’d be ready, but she’s not. So I’m skipping the scene. Thank goodness my characters only do it a couple times. If I was targeting Blaze I’d have to skip every other chapter.

This is a loaded question, but I’m going to go ahead and ask...How do you like your sex? (In a BOOK, that is! As a reader, we’re not asking for personal info, ‘kay?)


(PS. I am pleased to announce that after I wrote this blog, my characters had a breakthrough and have been happily at each other all day.)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
54,000 / 70,000


Jill James said...

Every time I think of sex scenes one book comes to mind. Unfortunately, I can't remember the author. LOL It was called Sunlight/Moonlight. One half of the book was about an alien and the second half was about a vampire. The alien story was sooo romantic. Lots of sexual tension, lots of foreplay. Then "They were one." That's it. But by the time that arrived you felt like it was more than enough.

Sheryl M said...

Sorry, I can't be of more help, but the sex scenes depend on the story. Like you said, if it's a Blaze then there had better be lots of hot steamy scenes. Yet I still find myself reading some of the older Harlequins where there is no descriptions, just the mental pictures I imagine. I can say, that the scenes should match the tone of the story. For example, if the woman has limited experience, then bondage scenes wont ring true to me as a reader. I suppose what I am saying is you KNOW your characters. You know what meshes with the person in your head telling you this story, so if it ain't gravy, then it ain't gravy. Like I said, not much help, but I read on average 1 book a day(sometimes 2). All of the Blaze line have been keepers, as well as some other authors not published by Harlequin. Alot of times, the selling point on the book is the info on the back cover, or the snipit on the inside front page..if those have me flipping the pages, I can almost tell you whether I will enjoy the book.

Angel said...

Okay, I think I've stopped laughing enough to form a coherent thought. You have such a funny way of putting things!

Sometimes I can't write love scenes in chronological order. Part of it might be my environment, because I have small children at home and it is kind of hard to build the scene when you keep being interrupted by "Mommy, I need..." Kind of like real life. :)

But sometimes the block is internal. I like my love scenes to have some purpose besides just sex. There has to be a reason it is there and something I'm trying to get across about the characters. If I don't know the purpose for it yet, the "theme" that will run through it, then it isn't ready to be written.

That's when I just drop a "Add Sex Here" and go on about my business until it hits me later.


Problem Child said...

I'm glad you respect your characters, SP.

Books can sizzle without a single love scene. And, when done right, I'm about to scream along with the heroine...


Maven Linda Howard said...

You're right, SP; it has to be when they're ready, regardless of which line you're targeting -- because you're writing about people, not puppets. And only they can tell you when they're ready. I've read sex scenes that were so emotionless they were boring, sort of a "insert Tab A into Slot B" instructional. I'd rather read about the intent in a man's eyes when he's about to do the deed, than how many times he pumps.

Smarty Pants said...

Yesterday I commented to DB about how my characters were supposed to have sex, but wouldn't. He looked at me like I was crazy. When I said I didn't have control over it, he asked if I had to wait to channel the mystic crystal of sex to guide me. I let it go. No sense arguing with him about how me sitting at a computer writing doesn't mean I necessarily have a say in anything that's going on. :)

Angel said...

Repeat after me: You can't explain imagination to people...

Okay, he probably has some imagination, he just isn't a writer. That's why we have each other, because we know the voices in our heads don't necessarily mean we're looney. :)