As authors, we all eventually come to that dreaded moment when we realize:
Crap, I have to write a love scene.
There are many reasons we might come to this horrible conclusion:
- The characters’ star-crossed story arcs have become entangled and we must do the deed to keep them on course
- We’ve written twenty pages about how to pick a lock, and aside from the reader now needing a little something to spice up the narrative, the whole key-in-the-lock metaphor is begging for some fumbling, first time exploration
- Our chosen genre is erotica
Fortunately for the general public, erotica is not my chosen genre. If I ever attempt to write such a yarn, I’m sure blue-helmeted UN soldiers will come for me on black helicopters and arrest me for violating the Geneva Convention on Torture.
That said, I can see some love scenes in my literary future.
No amount of drinking or shock therapy has been able to disabuse me of this notion.
To be fair, I have no place to go but up with regards to this writing front. Take, for example, one of my very early attempts to get the reader’s motor running:
His finger became erect as she sauntered to him and stopped at his table to say, “What the hell is going on with your hand?”
Yes, terrible, but I wrote it in 3rd grade, before I had a proper understanding of the mechanics of love-making. I’d heard something about the distance between a man’s thumb and forefinger being an important indicator about size or some-such, and drew my own conclusions.
As did my 3rd grade teacher. That was a very long year of parent-teacher conferences and sessions with the school psychiatrist. The loss of control and power I experienced that year left me feeling completely impotent.
I do feel compelled to point out that while the writing may have fallen terribly short, my youthful scrawl on brown butcher paper imbued the passage with a level of charm that, had it been printed in a book, would be sorely lacking.
It is this inherent charm that led me to originally published my first book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, on bound butcher paper.
The first twenty pages were written in a childlike scrawl, but after that my hand cramped and I lost the will to continue. I figured twenty pages of charm ought to be enough to hook the reader, and the rest was printed.
I learned, after the fallout from 3rd grade, to hide my future attempts at erotic writing, something which added a sense of naughtiness to the words and magnified the wrongness of them tenfold. This continued well into my thirties, much to the reading world’s benefit.
I also went to great lengths to develop a rock hard understanding of sex, how it works, who does it, where the erogenous zones are, things like that.
The missus is shaking her head now. She doesn’t think I can hear, but she’s muttering, “All that research, and nothing to show for it.”
Presumably she’s talking about my written love scenes. I concede the point.
But the downside to this research is that my subsequent efforts at conveying intimate encounters read more like a Catholic nun-authored, 5th grade Personal Growth textbook describing how sex worked.
A 5th grade Personal Growth textbook translated into English from the original Esperanto. By someone who doesn’t speak Esperanto.
His member became erect as his increased heart rate due to arousal raised his blood pressure, flushing his face bright red and engorging his sexual unit to the point of rigidity required for successful penetration of the female body in that special place (not her bum!). At the same time, his capability for critical thinking diminished due to a reduction of blood reaching his brain.
Had his critical thinking skills not been diminished, he might have paused to consider his soon-to-be lover’s large hands and prominent Adam’s apple.
“Shh,” he whispered brusquely, pressing a finger against her lips. “No need to tell me. I’ve taken 5th grade Personal Growth. I know where this,” and he gestured down to his ‘eleventh finger’, “goes.”
Dry and mechanical, yes, but a huge improvement over my 3rd grade effort, no?
And to think, I was only 33 when I wrote that.
I figure by the time I reach 50, I’ll have overcome the one remaining issue I have with writing erotica: my extreme discomfort with using certain terms referring to a person’s sexy-fun bits.
You do not want to know what I call breasts, or that elusive, possibly mythical button-thingy women allegedly have that makes sex feel nice for them.
Ultimately, my problem right now is not how to write the love scenes I know are coming, but to write my characters’ story arcs in such a way as to put off that moment as long as humanly possible.
My characters lead very frustrating lives.
But not to worry. I have no doubt that eventually, my beloved paper friends will get their happy ending.
—And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My (completely free of intimate encounters) books are available!
Marlowe and the Spacewoman: