Favorite sex scenes

    I spent this weekend — and entire three-day weekend — working on a 1,000-word sex scene for UNLAWFUL CONTACT. Now, if you've ever been to Gennita Low's blog (link provided to the right and down) there's an image — she calls it a profile of herself — that aptly demonstrates how I felt all weekend long.

    It was like bashing my brains out on my keyboard. If I were only slightly less sane than I am — I'm not saying I'm sane or anything — I might indeed have resorted to smashing my head on a wall. It likely would have produced similar results on the page.

    Kurt Vonnegut once said that he feels like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth when he writes. And I can relate to that, too. There's a feeling of KNOWING what you want on the page and yet being limited by your own klutzy use of language. You feel the beauty of a particular story moment, and yet the words you find to describe the scene completely lack the ability to convey that beauty. And when you did deeper, try to reconstruct it, try to get at the heart of the emotion in the scene and how it feels for your character to be in that moment, you find yourself without words altogether.

    I truly hate that.

    I'm not sure how to get beyond it except to keep pushing. Even now writing about this, I feel the same extreme sense of "I've got to break something" agitation that dominated my weekend. (Breathe! Breathe!)

    The writer's life is made up of moments such as this. In the end we hope to achieve something transcendent, something meaninful, something real and powerful. In romantic fiction this is just as true as it is in literary fiction. (Feel free to eat my ass if you disagree.) But along the way there are so many moments where we feel we have failed as writers. Put those failed moments together and you have what's called a "book." :-)

    I'm about to reread the crap I wrote this weekend and see if I can move forward or if it's time to take out my much-used machete.

    But before I go, I wanted to ask what makes a sex scene in a romance novel perfect for you. Is it a set of physical actions (he went down on her and then they had intercourse); an emotional sense of union; the two combined; sexy language and imagery? What is it? And which authors write sex the best.

    I'll put Tara Janzen out there as a new-to-me author who write sex well.


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