Today I read through a love scene I wrote, it went something like this: He kissed her with a passion that lingered for years then kissed her neck until she was laying in his strong arms. They made love.
That is as steamy as my love scenes get. Seriously. I browsed through a harlequin novel at my local bookstore once and felt my cheeks turn bright red (which according to my editor is not possible to see your cheeks turn red unless you look in a mirror). So anyway, it was like reading porn, and since it isn’t a video I felt a bit slutty at the visuals that flashed in my mind. Somethings are best left without the visual. But these books sell, and they sell well, so it is plausible to say many people like knowing the intimate details of steamy love scenes. Sex sells, right? Heck, I almost pee’d my pants when I saw a NASCAR series of harlequin books. Of course a bunch of jokes came to mind when I saw that, but I’ll keep those to myself for the sake saving my integrity.
I guess since I first started writing way back in the ninth grade I realized it was difficult to dodge the subject of relationships or intimacy. However, the gushy stuff has never been my forte. Ironic since my first novel, “When I Thought I Was Tough,” (it’s been awhile since a shameless plug, humor me) was all about relationships and intimacy. I did manage to dodge the “sex” part, mainly because the characters were trying to find their ways back to each other throughout the novel. And the only mention of the “S” word is where she sees an old house and remembers that it was the first place she ever made love. That’s it. end of scene.
So my question is: How little is too little? How much is too much? I don’t want to leave people feeling jaded when there is a scene tat everyone knows is leading up to something intimate. Two pages full of anticipation, waiting for this to finally happen and then this: They made love. End scene and move on to what was for breakfast? Seems lacking. Then again I don’t want to write some cheesy soft porn either. So how crucial is it to a fictional novel? I remember in ninth grading when two characters kissed, I was mortified. Now I’m all grown up and so are the characters, so I’ve moved passed kissin…I’m still mortified. I have taken a week off writing just to avoid, “the scene.” My mother reads this stuff, after all. What will she think when I write about quivering loins? I can answer that: She’d feel better than she did when I was in the ninth grade and writing about decapitations and strange, horrific tales.
If I could hold my hand over my eyes and write a love scene I would. Of course I would be peeking through my fingers, but hey that’s just me. So how does everyone else feel about writing the icky stuff? How much is okay for general fiction. My target audiences would be mid teens and on…but even some teen based novels had made me blush. Still, I want to hold to my principles and not write smut for kids. My teen books involve zero affection, because as far as I am concerned zombies do not fall in love! If you get kissed by a zombie, he’s probably just trying to eat your lips.