Deb Linda Tries to Resist Making the Obvious “Hard” Scene Joke

Not that those kind of scenes aren’t hard…er, difficult…to write. The first sex scene I wrote was nearly impossible for me to complete. Sure, it was because I was giggling so much tears were streaming down my face, but still. It’s tough to write when you can barely see the screen.

(You can see why it’s best if I’m alone when I write.)

The scenes where you kill a character are rough emotionally. (Well, except for this one jerk in my drawer novel. I actually enjoyed offing him. Yeah, I can be a bit bloodthirsty when the occasion warrants.)

But, truly, for me the hardest scene I ever wrote was because it was technically difficult. It’s group scene in which nobody is who they really are, and most of them think the others are somebody else, written from the POV of the one person who knows who everyone actually is but doesn’t want to let on to the others.

Clear as mud? *grin* Yeah, it was even confusing to me while I was writing it. It took a lot of tweaking to get it to where the reader wouldn’t get hopelessly lost on the page.

(Um, at this point it might help you to know the main characters in In a Fix are “aura adaptors,” who can alter their energy to take on someone else’s appearance. It leads to some…er, interesting…situations.)

For this particular scene, the dialogue tagging alone was murder. I mean, dialogue tags should basically be invisible, shouldn’t they? They should just lie there and do their job without shouting “YOU’RE READING A BOOK!” at the reader. It’s frustrating as all get-out to make the tags behave when each character has at least two name-identifiers at any given moment. Total headache.

Then there was making sure the characters exhibited the proper ratio of their own traits to the traits of the people whose auras they were projecting.

All the while forwarding the plot. Oy.

It’s enough to make a writer…

Did I eventually succeed? I suppose time will tell. If I get a bunch of “what the hell?” hate mail after the book comes out, I’ll be guessing I didn’t.

Have you ever had to deal with a case of mistaken identity, either in your writing or in real life? Do share!

Alternatively, do you giggle when you write love scenes? Or, heck, when you read them? Please tell me I’m not the only giggler in the group.

30 thoughts on “Deb Linda Tries to Resist Making the Obvious “Hard” Scene Joke

  1. My first book was written with everyone masquerading as someone else, and no one knew who each other was, (except the butler) and it was fun to write. Problem was I had to make sure the two main characters never found out until the very end who they actaully were. As for love scenes, I just basically skip over them. Not because I’m embarrassed, but just because I’ve read too many and now am bored.

    • I’m very fond of masquerade themes in books. Obviously. *grin*

      Love scenes, if they’re of the tab A-into-slot B sort, CAN get pretty boring, especially if they’re gratuitous and don’t further the plot at all.

  2. Since my first and last name are very common, I get mistaken for other people all the time. One time, someone swore that I’d lost “tons” of weight and no matter what I said, I couldn’t convince them otherwise.

    • LOL! Now, that’s funny. But think of the poor woman they mistook you for — the next time they run into her they’ll think she put all that weight back on (unless, of course, she’s lost it in the meantime).

  3. Oh, that sounds har…er…difficult, Linda! I have trouble with complicated plots and even have to sometimes get husband to explain movies to me, mid-watch, so this sounds like a nightmare. I do struggle with scenes where there are more than two people talking. Too many tags? Not enough… I’m sure you handled it great or it wouldn’t have gotten past your editor, right? 😉

    And as for love scenes, well, I’m a romantic sap at heart, so I get swept up in them. Although I still smile when I read the (Extremely tame, but very cute) kissing scene that I wrote into SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE.

  4. I’ve never confused my characters–probably because I don’t put a lot of characters in scenes together. LOL But I have confused characters when reading other books though. But it doesn’t take much to make my head spin.
    Not a giggler when reading “those” scenes but my eyes are probably bugged out. LOL!

  5. This hasn’t been an issue for me so far. I can see where it would get complicated, though. I like a good love scene. Jennifer Crusie writes good, often funny, love scenes. I even like gratuitous, at times, like Erin McCarthy.

  6. I can so relate to this. Surface takes place in the afterlife and there are occasions where a character delves back into a memory of their last life and their is sort of two different versions of the same characters in the same scene. It took me awhile to work out the kinks. Great post Linda!

  7. Wowee. That’s a complicated scene. I tend toward large casts, so every now and then I get the clown-car scene, but they all know who they are. So far, I’ve only had cases of confusion when I’ve changed character names. So far.

  8. Boy, am I the only one who read “group scene” and immediately thought–Wow. I’ll bet an orgy IS a tough scene to write. This should be very educational indeed!

    Am I?

    Anyone…?

    All I know is I can’t wait to read IN A FIX after this!

  9. No, I don’t giggle when I write love scenes as I wimp out and barely write any of that stuff – one minute she says ‘d’you fancy a coffee?’ and the next they’re drinking more coffee at the breakfast table. On good days I’ll remember to put a scene break between the two so you know she doesn’t have a really slow kettle.

  10. Ah, yes. I remember this scene well. In all 50,000 of its incarnations. And we still didn’t get it right aparently, according to certain bleeping editors. You were so calm and I was like what the BLEEP is wrong with you?!?!?! It’s perfectly clear that so and so is disguised as so and so and so and so knows that so and so is so and so and so and so is so and so and thinks it would be hilarious if so and so and so and so would do that thing together but so and so and so and so are like hell no but so and so thinks it’s in keeping with his character but so and so thinks it’s definitely NOT and so so and so is doing that thing that so and so does whenver so and so gets in a jam. What the hell is the problem?????? That’s totally clear. Isn’t it??

    • Ha! I KNOW! Thank goodness we finally found a brilliant editor who could follow the bouncing identity shifts. I wanted to shake some of them and say, “Pay A-TEN-SHUN!” But of course I’m much too polite to do that.

  11. The hardest scene I ever wrote was the opening chapter for a book in which I was deliberately hiding the real name of the main character. By the end of the first chapter, she was given a false name by one of the other characters, but up until that point, I had nothing to call her.

    Originally, I wrote the scene in first person, and that was a piece of cake. But when I realized third person POV made for a better impact in the rest of the book, I went back and struggled with this opening. There were 4 women in the chapter — all of them could be “she” or “her” — and one of them was hiding her name! Argh!

    Still don’t know if I have it right.

    • Oh, man. That sounds like a nightmare to me. Have you considered keeping the first chapter in first person, and then switching to 3rd? Awkward? Maybe. Or maybe it’d just be avant-garde. *grin*

  12. I knew you would be the one to bring up the sex scenes:)

    I’ve been in the midst of one of the lust and laugh situations.
    In the throes of lust, he fell off the bed and we both laughed so hard
    we forgot what we’d been doing.

    Now, why would I tell that story? Shock value, I suppose.
    The memory still makes me laugh though he died almost fifteen years ago
    and I miss him daily.

    • Got me pegged already, huh?

      I love that story! I’m not shocked — I’m touched. If you could laugh together like that, in that situation, you truly had a special relationship. 🙂 I’m not surprised you miss him.

    • Oh, I know everyone’s name(s) too. All of them. It’s just tagging them in an non-confusing way that becomes problematic on occasion. *grin*

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