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Sex scenes - To cringe or not...

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3rd August 2015
Hi all,
I am beginning to understand that having a blog can be hard work and my admiration grows for those that do this with such success.  I think the trick is knowing what you what to say in some sort of order which unfortunately my brain doesn’t recognize.   Actually it probably does but there seems to be so much to say that it is hard to decide the what, the when and the who.  The who are the people out there I would like to acknowledge for giving me so many great ideas that seem to be jumping out at me quicker somehow now that I have accepted the fact I am a writer. 
I am hoping to get my book uploaded by the end of the month and am terrified.  Have I done all that I should have?  Is the editing up to scratch?  I did most of it myself as I had no-one to ask. What about the show and don’t tell theory?  Have I told too much and left my reader wanting? 
Seriously I think I am trying to talk myself out of doing this. No, it’s more than that.  I really do want to please my readers and I worry I haven’t done enough reading myself, enough research and I guess the list could go on and on.  Writing has to be done not talked about so if I am worried about these things then I need to keep questioning, reading and get myself out there.  If I don’t how will I improve?  I need my readers to tell me.
I chose contemporary romance as a genre.  Stories just come and you have to go with it but whatever genre there will be romance especially since I am a romantic.  So for now I will narrow my worries down to this aspect, relationships because with romance comes sex and believe me that is one hard topic to write and yet such an integral part of the relationship.  Krissy Kneen author of Affection, Triptych, Steeplechase, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine and Eating My Grandmother says the following:

People often tell you to write from the heart. I understand why. What they mean when they say this is that you should write about your passions.  Write with truth and sensitivity and care. This is all very good advice, but when you are writing about the erotic, a lot of the work is, and should be, just skin deep.
Sex is a very physical experience. Your body comes into contact with another body. It is skin on skin. The surfaces are very important in this kind of connection.
A mistake that is often made when people try to write about sex is to write from the heart or even from the head and not from the body. The result of this kind of focus is work that more resembles romance or a colder, more analytical exploration of sexuality. To write sensual sex you need to engage your body in the telling of the tale.
At the moment of copulation we really no longer care what happened in the character’s dark past or what they do for a day job. The clothes are off, or coming off, or pulled aside and here is one body in contact with another or others. We need to know what that body is feeling, not emotionally, but physically.
The easiest way to do this is to engage all the senses in the act.”

When I read this I automatically understood that this is something that is underpinning my insecurities.  I mean, my head has understood exactly what she means but try thinking of all those things when you are actually writing and when you do manage to engage the senses you cringe at the thought of someone reading it, it being the words you used and scene you described.  My youngest daughter said it best when she said “Mum, this is your imagination and not things that you have actually done?”

Of course not everybody would be my daughter but I see her point.  People you know look at you as if you have a hidden side to you and so you think crazy thoughts like is what I said right, is this possible, do people do it this way or do I sound stupid, should I be more graphic, less graphic, where did this idea come from and the dreaded am I writing from the head hits you and you wonder if you have totally missing the spot. Ha? Spot, the spot, you know that spot all writers mention, did I just create a pun, make a pun, see I can’t even get that right? Am I being humorous or just an idiot that is not so sure she can write and am trying to distract my reader, or worse still distract myself?
  
See, cringe worthy is an easy thing to feel when you are hunting words to describe acts that yes may be natural but hard to speak about naturally when you are trying to remember, smell, taste, touch, sight and the aural, you know the groans and moans but Krissy is right you must engage the senses and then maybe even when you read something you created you engage.  Well, it could be that you are blind to your own faults and that brings me back to my fear of the book actually going up.  Never mind the engaging and people I know thinking I am a deviate, my book will be up there for everyone to know.

Time to stop I think before I talk me out of this.  This is the world of writing and this is the risk I have to take if I am serious.  I am serious enough that next blog I may even post a scene.  Feel free to comment, please.

Ciao

Barb

P.S.  Meanwhile if you want to read more from Krissy as she makes some good points go to her article found at http://www.writingqueensland.com.au/written-on-the-body/Krissy Kneen  June 22, 2015



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