Friday, November 03, 2006

The Ancient Apple Queen

Just finished skimming through Alison Kent's Complete Idiot 's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance.
Very useful book for a beginner.
Useful even for a beginner writing straight Romance. - because though the bedroom door might be closed, locked and barricaded, sex is on the characters's minds and affects their interactions.
Quite profoundly, if you want to be realistic.
Assuming the characters are human, normal and not cardboard, that is.
And it's a bit of a ostrich cheat to assume that because you have an interested male and female you've covered the subject in a nice, understood sort of way.
Something to think about - particularly for those who story board everything about their characters in advance, including his/her favourite foods/colours/movies/ music and how often they wash their underwear.
Even high-minded, pure-souled people have lovely, dirty thoughts about sex.
They wonder. They want.
They think about it. They react.
There's no use drawing yourself up in disdain, like PBW's Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene and designating every book that contains a sex scene in some form as a Whorelequin.
Sex is part of every romance, whether in spirit or in body.
You can't leave it out.


Erik Ivan James said...

Not me, I seldom think about it.;}

kmfrontain said...

Yep, Erik. Me neither. :grin:

But on a serious note, I fine it strange to hear someone express the viewpoint that sex has no place in a good story. I've always thought that if regular human beings do not go through a day without thinking about sex, why should characters be this unrealistic.

Bernita said...

Erik, I don't want a bridge...

Puzzles me, Karen.

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated by the draw between interested people to always be one step closer than they are, but yet they hesitate. It's a complex tension.

Bernita said...

And the biggest challenge to any writer of romantic themes, Jason.

Ric said...

Late to the party again...
Bernita has finally skimmed the book - been waiting, been (well, you don't want to know)

I think, especially at the beginning of a romance, sex - or the possibility thereof - is very much in the forefront of the character's thoughts. Doesn't have to be crass - "wonder what she looks like naked?"
could be simpler, "wonder what she's like when she lets her hair down?"
And, oddly enough, no two people have the same thoughts - for writers, that's just pure gold.

Anonymous said...

Even with a how to, I don't think I could do a romance or erotic romance story justice.

Bernita said...

Exactly, Ric, the attraction.
BTW, much of Ms. Kent's advice applies to all sorts of genres, not just erotica.

Steve, the book convinced me, though I have included sex scenes, that what I have written so far is definitely not erotica.
Sexy adventure, perhaps, but not erotica.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...oh yes you can leave it the CBA that's a requirement.

I've learned creative ways sorta' around that, but like my mom said when I first complained about the hog-tying of my expressiveness...

She said, "Well we know your characters go to the bathroom, you have enough eating scenes...but I don't want a blow by blow of that either!" LOL...mother is always wise

Ric said...

Bonnie, great advice!

We all know it happens, the instructive part - as Bernita says - is what the thought process is.

"Good grief, look at the size of those boots. Wonder if that old saying is true?" she thought.

She had those fance glue on nails, polished bright red. He couldn't take his eyes off her hands. The thought of what they might feel like scratching across his back was so disruptive, he forgot he was in the middle of introducing her to his mother.

Sexual tension - is there REALLY anything else?

Ballpoint Wren said...

Heh! "Whorelequin!"

Bernita said...

Please, Bonnie, I am not saying the actual sex scene has to be there, I'm saying the thoughts, the awareness of sex does.
Particularly in romance.
Just as going to the bathroom is important if one is writing "How To Shit in the Woods."

Otherwise, that closed door hides nothing but a marriage/relationship-in-name-only.

Good examples, Ric, thank you.

Bernita said...

Courtesy of #3 son-in-law, Bonnie! I was much taken by it and shamelessly stole it.

normiekins said...

there is sexual temptation, thought, tension in our everyday could that be left out?

Bernita said...

Don't see how it can, Normiekins.
Otherwise, sex is like aliens arriving in chapter 12 - whether it's behind a closed door or not.
Besides temptation is one of the greatest conflicts/tensions/character revelations there is.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...Bernita, I'm on your side!

It's not my call as to what we are allowed to write in the CBA. And some of what I've seen rejected in other's work is not what even I would consider baudy.

In our industry there are sex cops and they would like nothing better that to pretend that people were hatched instead of made by way of copulation.

So it is my lot in life to comply...that is...if I want to get published.

I like the way you phrased that Ric, I going to write that down! LOL!

Bernita said...

My word, Bonnie!
Even though sex ( ie. physical attraction)involves much more than just friggin'in the riggin', some consider any such thoughts "impure"?
It's not that I have any problem with the "sweet" romances - I loved all the old Essie Summers books - but...

archer said...

I think Dickens has the best handle on sex--he knows that it pervades everything, that there is no use avoiding it, ever, anywhere. His scenes and characters are made of sex, the way a room full of people can seem made of your own thoughts about some of them, thoughts that would get you horsewhipped if anyone knew. I think that's why Dickens never writes a love scene. It would be redundant.

Bernita said...

You don't suppose the fact that the public would have made HIM quickly redundant had anything to do with it, Archer?

EA Monroe said...

After a full day and several more days to go designing, typesetting, etc. stuff on teen pregnancy, labor, parenting, and nurturing your newborn -- well, my mood has been squashed! heehee ;-)

Jeff said...

Bernita, you made me blush. I'm getting old enough to catch on to what your talking about. he he!

Rashenbo said...

I think I picked up the dummies guide to writing romance... I'm not sure why. I don't write romance. Oh well, I just can't seem to stop myself from buying writing books :)

Bernita said...

Hard to get excited about causes when one is dealing with effect, EA!

Naughty giggles, Jeff.

Why not, Rashenbo?
There's a lot in this one that applies to any genre.

archer said...

The erotic stuff reveals, too. When Michael Crichton tries to write so much as a flirtation, the narration is full of awkward contempt. He's very good at writing about machinery, however.

Bernita said...

Your comment fits well with my most recent post, Archer!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Sorry it took me so long to get back!

Nope, Bernita...we're not really allowed any kind of romantic notions on a purely sexual or lust type of feeling. It had to be on a spiritual nature I said, they want to pretend people were hatched!

But since I write action adventure, with next-to-no don't bother me!