Friday, July 11, 2008

Sexual Tension

As predicted, I'm totally stuck on chapter five. It's so frustrating, especially since I'm in a writing challenge right now. Even with an outline, I've slowed to a crawl. I pretty much have had to skip that chapter and move on to chapter six because that's when some of the paranormal elements kick in. Chapter four forces the hero and heroine together. Chapter five is where they're really supposed to let the sparks fly between them. They're supposed to be drawn together despite their differences and the danger of their situation. By the end of the chapter (per my outline) they're supposed to kiss, then the heroine is going to withdraw. This rouses the hero to his senses and they go to separate corners. Then it all goes to hell in chapter six and I'm good with that. That's when the sex becomes unabashed, possessed, sex goddess sex. There's no time for navel gazing, just raw sexual consumption.

As time goes on, I'm getting better at writing the sex, but not so much the sexual tension. How long can a heroine really stand there, agog, thinking about the hard, masculine ripples of the hero's biceps? How many times can her eyes run down the flat muscles of his stomach, pausing momentarily to blush at his hot package of love that will no doubt inspire her to frenzied climaxes within only a few more chapters? How often can the hero or heroine *tingle* deep inside with a longing they've denied themselves for far too long? How long can they internalize why they shouldn't give into the temptation? The air buzzes with a sexual electricity between them. Her nipples peak and press against the tight fabric of her blouse, betraying her arousal to the man she's trying to resist...

Blah, blah, blah. I'm over it. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe I need to read more and see how others do it. The problem is that others seem to do it so seemlessly, I don't even notice it when I'm reading. If the book is good, I just skip right along and craft is the last thing in my mind. Then when I try to do it, it sticks out like a sore thumb (pardon the pun).

I know I can't be the only one with this problem. What am I missing here? Any suggestions? If you're currently writing, is anything giving you fits?

SP

12 comments:

Playground Monitor said...

Dig out your CD's from Atlanta and listen to a workshop by Linda Conrad called "Make it Last or Come too Soon." It's about writing sexual tension.

PM

Michelle Styles said...

You need to read books several times. First as a reader to appreciate what is done, and then as a writer to see if you can learn anything.
Sometimes, it is not the exquisitely written scenes that give the most info but other ones.
See if you can read outside your chosen genre and if that helps.
Demond Morris and his book Peoplewatching has a list explaining the human courtship ritual and all its stages. The ritual is common to all societies. Starts with eye to body and progresses.
FWIW

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hugs, SP. I think, for me, sexual tension is so much more than all that gazing and lusting. It starts with an awareness of the other. Yes, that electric spark that seems so prevalent. It builds from the first time the characters meet, and it builds in layers. I think maybe you're feeling frustrated because you might need to thread in more of that build from the beginning. Then when you get to the almost sex and sex, everyone is more than ready.

I think so -- but that's just an armchair analysis of course. I could be wrong. I had/have a Desmond Morris book about the stages of courtship, but it's much less appealingly titled than what Michelle suggested -- The Naked Ape. I could find it (I hope, provided it didn't go through the Great Purge when I moved) and bring it tomorrow if you want....

Problem Child said...

I'd love to comment, but I'm not sure I'd have a lot to add to the conversation... where are Rhonda and Jen this morning? They'd know...

Smarty Pants said...

Jen is at the beach. Rhonda is probably chasing DH through the house with a broomstick...

Anonymous said...

Sorry no help here, I'm just a reader of the genre.
Good luck!
robertsonreads

Anonymous said...

Oh, just pan to the bedroom window and let the curtains flap in the breeze. A reader's imagination is far more potent than the writer's words.

PM's Mother

PM's Mom said...

Hurrah! Now I have an identity! I shall try to live up to my icon.

PM's Mother

Smarty Pants said...

Excellent icon, PM's Mom. Now if only I could cut to the breezy curtains...alas, I'm targeting Blaze.

Sherry W. said...

I'm late checking in this morning. Internet issues again and landscaping deliveries have messed with my morning.

This is my 1st writing attempt so I'm certainly no help. I'm still soaking up info from you guys. : )

birdzilla said...

SP...

I am the farthest from being a writing expert, nevertheless here is my one half of a cent...

I feel that I know several things about you (scary isnt it), but I have experienced this side of growth in writing from other authors (Insti).

Let yourself go man, visualize the scenerios that would be ultimately suitable for the style you are targeting. Go with it. Changes will take place. Experience no inhabitions.

Like I said, take it for what its worth.

Good Luck

Maven Linda said...

First: you have to be in love with him yourself.

Second: you don't need to convince the heroine so much as you do the reader. Seduce the READER, and your job is done.

Third: a lot of times, less is more. Understated can be way more potent than over-the-top panting and lusting.

Fourth: turn yourself on, and the problem is solved.

Fifth: have fun :-)