A while back I talked about how my friend and first reader Yvonne saved my book by wondering what the heck two of my characters were so mad about. I knew what they were mad about, and my characters knew. But I hadn’t been—explicit about the reason. Because the reason was, uh, explicit.
I added the scene I hadn’t wanted to write, and all was well. Nothing to see here.
I don’t want to go into the who and what too much, of course, but suffice it to say that I’m not comfortable with the S-E-X scene.
In the mystery community, there are books that are known for looking away in moments of romance, and also for keeping blood off the pages. They’re called cozy mysteries. You’d think in the days of Fifty Shades of Gray that no one would be interested in sexless stories. But cozy mysteries sell like freaking hotcakes. Also, I submit to you the entire genre of Amish Romance.
That’s a real thing.
Not all cozies are as platonic. I’ve been obsessively reading M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series because they are so charming and funny, but Hamish has needs, apparently. Her other series character, Agatha Raisin, does too. Oh, and Beaton’s not afraid to drop some word bombs, which you usually don’t see in your average cute-covered cozy.
See what I did there? I couldn’t even write about writing about sex scenes without letting the focus drift.
I’m a prude. There. I said it.
Set aside the fact that I think every scene in a book needs to earn its keep to be there. Set aside that sex scenes written in detail have a larger chance of being goofy and icky than any kind of sexy. There’s an award for worst sex scene for a reason. Set aside that despite all this, there ARE sexy scenes in The Black Hour. Set that all aside. Let me just say one thing: My parents wanted to read my book.
So if a sex scene is necessary, OK. But if it’s not? Cutting-room floor, no question. Or the camera looks away. Or the whole act is deemed by the characters to be a bad idea and called off.
Besides, even though my romance novel-writing sisters would disagree with me, sex thwarted in a story is a whole lot more interesting than anything too…explicit. And if you don’t agree with me, I’m sure there are a lot of other writers less shy than I am to help you out.
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