Romance, Harlequin, or NASCAR

Been racking my brain to figure out to how put this twist in my latest WIP (work in progress), but its been more futile than trying to teach my cat to fetch, or the dog to say, “I wuv you.” I’ve sat, laptop open, green tea at bedside, soft music filling in as white noise, a cool So Cal, High Desert breeze slipping passed the window, and fingers anxiously drumming across the keys.  I wonder if I just start typing something–anything–if the words will come to me, but they haven’t.

Talk about an occupational hazard.

What is my dilemma? Same one I had in the last book. That stupid love scene. Yikes. Not that I can’t jot down some dirty, sweaty, hormone driven sex scene, it’s more than that. This is not harlequin, nor is it 50 Shades of porn, or–my favorite–NASCAR harlequin. This is twenty years of unrequited love being made. This is pent up longing and desire which only teeters at the physical, but  gets abandoned in the pure passionate force of the mental. I’m talking two people who have walked this world always searching for that someone, and when they finally succumb to the fact that this soul mate has been there all along, they can hardly stay within their own skin, can barely contain this explosion of emotions which could most certainly ignite a display greater than Bikini Atoll.

How do you write that without sounding like a lust driven, hormonal teenager who just wants to skip to the dirty stuff?

Someone’s brilliant advise was to make love to my boyfriend and write it down. Ewww, gross! First of all, ugh NO! second of all, ugh … invasion of privacy, and ugh–NO! Third of all, i’m glad I didn’t say I needed to know how a killer felt when strangling someone who gave bad advise. Just saying, think before giving pearls of wisdom. The life you save may be your own.

Solution: short and sweet, just like the last book. Why? Because it’s not a romance story. That’s all I got. If I wrote romance then the love scene would be more in depth because that is what the reading audience would expect.  If I wrote harlequin then the scenes would be steamier, wordier, have a ton more adjectives, and paint a more graphic picture.

Thankfully, I don’t write that, though it’s occurred to me that it may be easier to go balls to the walls than try and tip toe the obvious, but again, my honest opinion is that this particular scene is a necessity but not the holy grail. The story is bigger than two people finding each other, in fact, that’s just a mere sub-sub-plot that the characters threw at me recently. Stupid characters with their hidden agendas.

So, in the past few years, I have read so many indie books, some traipse the subject of characters making love, some put it in so often that I forgot what the book was about, and others leave no stone unturned. I’ve got my definite ideas about how to write this. Still, this is the question I pose as so many others have: How important is sex in a book? And how do you feel when you encounter these scenes?

romance cover


8 responses to “Romance, Harlequin, or NASCAR

  1. It depends on the story. If it becomes a driving force, then it’s important. The emotion is more important than anything else, and I struggle with them, too. In one series, it fades to black. In another book, the sex was integral to what came after and it was more of a ‘girl’ book, so I wrote it in more depth. I write for adults, so I think audience is an important factor, too. And I’m sure none of this helps you.

    Don’t shy away from it because you fear it. If the story needs it, take a deep breath and write it. Sounds to me that your story does require it.

    But the using real life thing is oogie. I’d not do that. Find a movie or book you think handles it well and start by copying. Then edit until it’s yours.

    With that said, my first attempts, weren’t even PG… so my crit group said. I’m improving and learning to be more brave.

    • That is my feeling as well. The book isn’t romance, in fact, it only has this love scene in the same way it has a scene with the kid learning to drive. It’s life! It happens. My problem is with how much detail to use. I really don;t want to spend a full page dealing with it, because it is not that important to the book. I mean, the book might lose just a hint of realism if it were left out, but this is also not the most important part. And the whole sex sells thing is really a moot point with me.
      And yeah, that use real life experience thing was plain creepy. I rarely write myself into anything or any character, I’m not starting with that. Gimme a break. Not all advise is good advise, right?

  2. I agree with you — sex scenes belong in erotica / Harlequinn / romance novels. Oh, and those artsy, stream of consciousness books, where really random things happen, like someone is walking down a street, and then they randomly get pulled into an orgy for no conceivable reason. In my own writing … well, Eris is 17, and very sheltered, so she won’t be getting up to those shenanigans for a while. And when she does, I expect I’ll probably do a little lead up, skip over the main bit, and then cut back to them cuddling. Except this is me we’re talking about, so instead of cuddling, I assume Eris will immediately get kidnapped, or there will be an explosion, or Varrin will turn out to be a robot in disguise, or something equally ridiculous.

  3. The best movies and novels are the one’s that leave you thinking. I think a sexy dressed woman is one who isn’t showing you everything but just enough to make you wonder whats underneath. Same for a book. The author doesn’t have to paint a graghic picture for us just a tease. Then let the readers imagination color in the rest.

  4. I’m one who feels less is more. So often to me it seems like steamy love scenes are like filler, especially when it happens over and over and over. I often find myself skimming them in order to get back to the story. Also, I’m not one who feels I need an anatomy lesson or to know every single move they make. I know how it works, I have three kids to prove it,lol. I don’t need all of that anymore than I need an in depth description of every time they have a bowel movement. So I’m one that doesn’t mind the lead in and then the soap opera style pan to the fire.

    • LOL, you are way to funny. quote “Also, I’m not one who feels I need an anatomy lesson or to know every single move they make. I know how it works, I have three kids to prove it.” Those are my sentiments, exactly. I also feel that sex scenes are over kill when repeated over and over in general fiction,or something non erotica, harlequin, or adult romance. Steamy, lust scenes have a place, and readers know where to go for that. Speaking of,and this one irks me, is that a child of any age can walk into a bookstore and purchase 50 Shades of Gray…oooh, just found a new blog topic.

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