Thursday, May 3, 2012
That Certain Point In The Book
You wouldn't think it would be so hard to write a sex scene after you get over the fact that your mother might be reading it. Or your daughter. Standard disclaimer here, and I cannot stress this enough - it's fiction! When I kill a character I am not writing from my own personal experience with murder, and when my hero and heroine get into bed they aren't consulting my personal playbook. Like any other scene, what happens depends entirely on what came before and what sort of characters they are. So you'd think I could do what I do in every other scene - just imagine it and write what plays out in my mind.
Nope. Can't do it. I can see it, alright. But have you ever tried to describe a sexual encounter without veering into porn or sounding like an anatomy book? Not so easy. How many ways can you say "lust" or "desire?" And how many "heated looks" can he give her without sounding like the bed is about to go up in flames? Forget "pulsing" and "throbbing"; some words are just too descriptive. But trust me, readers don't want to be yanked out of the story just when it gets to the most emotionally charged part. They want to see what happens, and they want it to take a few pages, not a couple paragraphs. So out comes the thesaurus. And yes, there's one built into the Microsoft Word program, but it thinks "lust" is the same as "hanker after," so unless I start writing about old ranch hands who sit around the bunk house saying, "By jimminy, I've got a hankerin' for that gal," I won't be getting much use out of the Microsoft thesaurus.
In case you're wondering, the papers under the dictionary and thesaurus are my notes on things to go back and change. Also my outline so I don't lose track of what's supposed to happen next.
Oh, and the squirt gun? That's for cats that think digging their claws into the family room chair while Mom's not watching might be a good idea. Surprise, it's not.