Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just Do It, Already!

"Oh Lord, give me chastity, but do not give it yet."
-St Augustine

I sit hunched over my keyboard, a glass of whiskey on the table next to me.  It's the third night in a row I've found myself here, and to no avail.  My poor characters!  All they want to do is, well, do it, and I've been stringing them along for the better part of a week.  They've been so patient- especially my hero!- and have done everything I asked of them, from fistfights to making out in a yurt.  A yurt!  Don't they deserve just five measly pages to knock off a chunk and blow off some steam?  Why is this so damn difficult?

Love scenes (largely a euphemism for "sex scenes") are hard to write.  Wicked hard, as a matter of fact.  They are one of the most intimate tasks a writer takes on.  Think about it: in order to write a love scene that's going to make your reader hot (which- hello?- is the whole point), you first have to write something that's going to make you hot.

That means exposing yourself in a big way, and it's a little scary.  After it's written down and published (hopefully), everyone from your neighbor down the street to your fifth grade teacher to your mother (or worse, your father- ack!) will have black-and-white proof of your deviant, kinky mind.

Put that way, it's enough to ice any budding romance novelist right out of the bedroom.

That's why you can't think about it.

I have found, for my part, that it helps to be a little tipsy.  Not flaming drunk, but pleasantly buzzed, enough that your inhibitions loosen just a little bit.  Put all the voices of the moral police out of your head.  You can feel guilty over what a dirty, dirty person you are later (or not).  Put on some music in the background, if it helps, just make sure it's not too loud.  Then let your imagination run away with you.

Once you get going, it's really not that difficult.  You already have your building blocks.  Everyone has fantasies.  Most people put theirs in a little box somewhere in a dark corner of their minds.  When you're writing a love scene, you have to take yours out, comb through them for details that will work for the characters you've created, and put them out into the world.

Depending on what they are, this can be either incredibly fun or slightly disturbing.

In retrospect, once I really got into it (and promised myself to NEVER let my parents read my book), it ended up being relatively painless.  Relatively.  I'm still going to edit the hell out of it, of course, just to make sure there aren't any floating body parts and whatnot, but it's down on paper.  My hero and heroine finally got a taste of how great they are together, which is good.  They'll need it to fortify themselves for the torturous road my devious little mind has constructed for them.

Yeah, to be a romance writer, you also have to have a slight sadistic streak.

And Mom and Dad, I hope you're looking forward to the "redacted" version of my novel.