Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Lurve Scene
Kat is determined to get us all into trouble with the latest question for the blog chain.
How do you feel about love scenes? As a reader, are you put off by the gratuitous? As a writer, do you shy away from spelling out the down-and-dirty? Or do you write until your computer lights a cigarette?
That's right, we've talked about romance and we've talked about love, but now it's time to go there. Kids, it's time to talk about s-e-x.
I love that Kat asked about our feelings about love scenes from both the prospective of a reader and as a writer, because for me they are very different. It is kind of the same way I feel about fried foods. Now like most people with working taste buds and no history of heart disease, I love french fries, fried mozzarella, and believe in miracles every time I eat a fresh from the conveyor belt Krispy Kreme doughnut.
However, as much as I enjoy the distinctive taste of foods cooked in hot fat, I refuse to fry at home. Not in a fryer machine and not in a deep pot with a thermometer attached. It's too messy and too dangerous. Not to mention the health risks. Wait... are we still talking about frying food or did we switch back to sex?
As I've mentioned before here I am a fan of the romance genre. I first discovered romance novels towards the end of my middle school years, and if it wasn't for the sex scenes in them who knows when or where or how I would have eventually filled in the gaps in my sexual education. You see I grew up in a house that not only lacked HBO but any kind of cable television at all. And I went to a Catholic school up until eighth grade where when we did have our boys and girls separated sex ed classes their information was so out of date that the film reels (yes!) showed us girls how to attach our sanitary napkins with belts that kind of acted like garters.
Sex scenes aren't merely for educational purposes though. In the best written romances they should work in much the same way as a musical number in a Broadway musical does. It should advance the plot, reveal character, and entertain.
So when I wrote my first novel and it was a romance novel and it came time for the sex scene of course I wanted it to be good - I wanted it to be great. And it was. Probably. In the alternate universe where I actually wrote it. Yeah, there was sex in my book, but it was closed door - as in I wrote the before and I wrote the after, but the in-between was left to the reader's imagination.
And I think that is just the type of writer I am, because when I tried to write the in-between or when I even thought about writing it, I started shaking. Not with fear, but with a terrible awful case of the church giggles (these, of course, are the giggles you get at a time place when you are absolutely NOT supposed to be giggling, and this then causes you to giggle all the more).
I have a terrible time taking myself seriously sometimes, especially when something is very serious, but at the same time - if you look at it from a slightly different angle - very very silly. And sex scenes can become incredibly silly, incredibly quickly. Even at the very basic level of dealing with anatomy - you either get flowery and euphemistic and that is unintentionally hilarious. Or else you are very technical and sound like a stuffy textbook, which is once again hilarious.
I don't think it is possible to write a good, believable sex scene when you are giggling and snickering behind your hand like a sixth grade boy (no offense to sixth grade boys, but c'mon guys, you know how you are), and since I cannot at this time summon the necessary gravity, for now I'll leave the sex scenes to those who can.
So what about you? Are you a reader of sex scenes, a writer of them, both, or neither?
And if you love reading about love scenes, continue reading with Sandra and Cole.