By Margaret.Wilson On May 7 2008, 8:00 pm
I’ve been leading up to this for at least the last fifty pages. I’ve established mutual attraction, sexual tension, increased heart rates, heat, legs that turn to jelly. You get the idea. So the reader expects it, my characters demand it and I now have to write THE LOVE SCENE. You would think this would be the fun part.
BUT IT ISN’T. At least not always. It’s a struggle, should it be fumbling and endearing, total fantasy, very graphic, and from who’s point of view? Should the point of view change as the scene unfolds? And what about the setting? A bed, basic but maybe a little boring. Outside but where and did anybody remember to bring a blanket? In a car like horny teenagers? Or maybe up against a wall, awkward, but demonstrates that the couple is really hot for each other.
The length of the scene is important too. I know that this is somewhat of a stereotype, but love scenes written by male authors tend to be short and to the point. (No pun intended) Women authors, especially those in the romance genre, go on for pages and pages, sometimes dividing the love scene into chapters. (Talk about fantasy). They also spend more time on the afterglow, cuddling part. Male authors usually have the hero jumping up to go into battle, argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, or some other world saving task.
Then there is the question of how graphic to get. There is a fine line between describing lovemaking and porn. Should body parts be called by their proper names? I don’t have a problem using the words breast or butt. But should I call a penis a penis? Or maybe it’s better to use a slang word like dick? (Men love that word have no idea why) Or maybe its better to use a more indirect word that is descriptive, like erection or arousal. Then there is the question of what to call female parts. I won’t use the “c” word. Vagina and vulva sounds like you’re visiting the gynecologist instead of making love. That leaves words like mound, nether region, feminine core, velvet sheath, secret heart, and my favorite “feminine triangle”. Good grief!!!
There is also a danger of getting repetitive, how many ways can it be described really? This is especially dangerous when there are multiple love scenes planned. Also remembering where everybody’s hands and other parts are can be very challenging, especially when you’re switching points of view. .
How to finish the scene, does everybody climax? At the same time? Is the woman having multiples? (Remember its fiction) Is there an encore? Do you even call it a climax? Or orgasm? Or a more poetic word or phrase? Like shattering, becoming one, riding the wave, reaching the stars, tumbling into a white-hot abyss? Yowsa!
So after all this I still haven’t written the love scene. I still don’t know where it’s going to be or how graphic I’m going to get. But at the end I want it to be the kind of scene that the reader will go back and read again, maybe to their partner for inspiration. I want it earthy and fun, a natural expression of the character’s feelings for each other.
Tall order, but somebody’s got to do it.