What's love but a second hand emotion? (Tina Turner)
I've been captivated with the topic of emotion rising out character interaction lately. I'm coming to believe that the white space on the page is every bit as important a means of communicating character passion as that bit of paper which is filled up with words.
As a romance writer, I am often caught up with different ways to describe the wild and wooly act of "doing it". Preferably, I want to communicate those moments in such a way as to stir my readers both emotionally and physically. Doing this in a way that's fresh and new is a challenge far easier said than done.
The spectrum of human emotion during the act of having sex is huge. One one end, we have down and dirty animal sex. On the other end, we have tender, reverential physical manifestations of love between two people. A million different scenarios fall in between. And I won't go into the criminal manifestations of the act, as those have nothing to do with romance. :)
When I write love scenes, I'm trying desperately to communicate my characters' relationship and lovemaking to my readers in a way that they have not experienced it before. But honestly, how many ways can a girl find to say pebbled flesh and rising length?
Not that many, right?
I'm learning by deconstructing sex scenes that have appealed to me that for the characters involved, the act of making love isn't *just* about the sex, at least not at first. It's about a character attaining an end goal that has little to do with the act of sex itself. Like the sexual act that frames such scenes, the build up of conflicting goals makes for a lot of delicious tension between the hero and heroine. Working those goals between the sheets can make for more than just sizzling sex--it can also advance story.
No more gratuitious sex!
Ah. Bingo. I'm thinking of Deanie and Bud in Splendor of the Grass as I write this. For Bud, sex was about sex, spending some of the pent up testosterone that his love and lust for Deanie has fired in his loins.
For Deanie, at least at first, having sex wtih Bud was about something else. It was about keeping Bud from "doing it" with anyone else.
In pouring over clips from my favorite movies,and scenes from some of my favorite novels, it has occurred to me that the most successful moments do not rely on words to carry the emotional impact of the act. I hope you find this scene from Splendor in the Grass as useful as I have.