Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Sex Scenes

At a recent writers meeting a few twitter stalkers of Ken’s was teasing him about writing love scenes. The story goes that when he got to a love scene in his WIP, he twittered that he hated to write them. The next day his mom, via computer web cam – cool mom – told him he needed to write more love scenes. Old ladies like them. Ken, feel free to add to the story.

So to help my friend out, here’s a link to a Romance Writers of America article on writing love scenes by Cara Summers a Harlequin Temptation and Blaze author.

Behind the cut below are the 12 stages of intimacy that Valerie Robertson was talking about at the meeting provided by Kerri-Leigh Grady. She says that Linda Howard was the first to introduce them but I’m not sure that’s true.

And here are my helpful tips. Build the tension so when you do get to the scene it doesn’t take as much to pull it off. *smiles* Remember that no one gets it perfect the first time. Sex doesn’t solve problems, only complicates things. And if you feel awkward writing or reading it, so will your reader. Write what you’d like to read. You can write a love scene where it fades to black (no actual on stage action) and still get the reader’s blood pumping. Me, I love to add humor to love scenes. The condom that won’t unroll. Trying to be sexy and falling on your butt. Tickling.


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Over the course of four manuscripts, I discovered that my natural genre is science fiction romance–sort of space-going international thrillers with a happy-ending romance thrown in. Hey, romance is consistently more than half of mass market paperbacks sold; I’m not completely stupid.

So here’s the weird thing: I’ve entered contests, I’ve sent out manuscripts for cold reads, I’m in a critique group, and the single aspect of my writing that is most comment-worthy is the swear words. Yup, people (other than my two critique partners) are absolutely fascinated by how humans are going to swear centuries hence.

Frankly, I’ve never seen it as being much different from the ways we swear now. Most swearing centers around bodily functions, which aren’t going to change much anytime evolutionarily soon. Defecation, urination, fornication–they’ll all be around and so will their particular flavors of swear words.

Plus, I’ve studied the history of English; I know it changes quickly. In six hundred years, humans will barely be able to read what I’m writing right now. Any story I write set centuries in the future, whether off-world or on Earth, has to be written in translation. So the swear words should be translated back to something we can understand too, right?  Well, most of my readers/judges/commenters don’t seem to think so.

They wanted “more futuristic” cussing. I’m going to pause for a moment, because I’m still having just a small amount of difficulty wrapping my brain around that concept. Boggle. Unboggle. Sigh.

Finally, in desperation, I created a new swear word for my work in progress (to take the place of the f-bomb ubiquitous in military conversational English).  I have a space-going society with interplanetary governments and interplanetary trade. As a result, one of the worst things I could think of–especially for someone between planets–is a rip in a pressure suit or hull while in vacuum. Thus, my new word is “rip” (ripped, ripping, rip me, go rip yourself, motherripper, etc.).

When I sent out the first chapter to the recent On the Far Side contest (RWA Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter’s annual contest for unpublished writers), I was complimented on my swearing.

My three judges/commenters didn’t like the female protagonist, they were worried about “Vulcan” trademark infringement (obviously missing that Star Trek ripped it off from Roman mythology), only one person caught the question I really wanted answered (did it start in the right place/right POV), but they loved the cussing. Loved it. Loved. It.


I’ve decided I’m going to start using it in the hopes the word will catch on and actually become a major swear word in the future.

So what do you think; how will we swear in The Future?

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As the only Girl posting and the only Romance writer I thought I’d talk a bit about genres and writer beliefs about those other genres. You know what I’m talking about. Those perceived assumptions that certain genres are formulaic. This genre is better than that genre because at least it isn’t predictable or trite. Most people who feel this way haven’t read much of that inferior genre. And the ‘at least’ comes from feeling the better genre isn’t as good as literary fiction. But that’s a whole other issue we can psychoanalyze some other day.

Romances by definition are stories that focus on a romantic relationship that ends with a HEA, Happily Ever After. You know when reading a Romance, no matter the sub-genre, that the main characters will fall in love or reunite or reaffirm their love. Some people believe that makes it a formula. MC1+MC2=Love. But the plot of a romance should never be to fall in love. That’s something that happens while the plot proceeds. The character’s goal is not to find love. But back to the formula, just because you expect a HEA does not mean there is a formula.

In reading a mystery we expect the good guy to triumph and the villain to be caught/thwarted. If we read a Sci-fi we expect world building, extra techno details and triumph at the end. Fantasy, the hero’s journey.  These are not formulas, they are genre definitions. They are traits that entice us to read them. If I want to be scared spit-less I read Horror.

Some say that Romance novels are unrealistic. I always want them to be more precise when they say this. Is it the sex they find unbelievable? They’re are some books out there that give great tips on*…but I digress. How realistic is it that every six months a murder would happen in a small town and each murder be solved by the same amateur detective? How realistic is it that fey, or ghost, or Amazons, or time travel be possible? And don’t get all Steven Hawking on me. It’s Fiction. FICTION. It’s entertainment and escape and thought provoking and emotional and sometimes too real. That’s the whole point.

So you want a HEA? A positive outlook after some major plot swings and drama? Read romance. You want to explore a new world or learn about a mystical race? Read Fantasy or Sci-fi. You want to be scared spit-less? Read the New York Times Economics section.

*I read this out loud to my husband. His respnse? “We didn’t need tip sheets.” Nope, sure didn’t. Some people just click. Or just finally find their rythym. Practice makes better. LOL

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