Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eyes Closed

Erotica. Yeah, I guess you could say I've written some. There are passages in my books that make me blush, but I keep hearing that people like them, so that probably means I've written them well enough to make people believe them. (And people want to talk to me about them. The sex scenes. Do you KNOW how I blush? I wish I didn't, but I do.)

Truth is, I can barely take credit for the good sex scenes.

You see, I wrote them with my eyes closed, arms stretched out, fumbling for the keyboard in the dark, trying to insert Tab A in Slot B as quickly as possible so I could move on to the next part of the book. I didn't think about whether it was hot, or whether I was getting it right--I am simply a very linear writer, and I can't skip scenes in order to write something that comes later. If it has to be a sex scene today, written while I'm the cafe, red-faced and uncomfortable, so be it.

The goal was to later go back and clean them up. I'm not a great first draft writer, but I'm an excellent editor. I love editing. So when I got to the sex scenes, I expected to have to do a lot of work.

But every time I've landed back at the sex scenes to edit them, I find that they worked the way they were written. It's as if by stepping back and being a little embarrassed and letting my characters have a little room to move, as it were, without me getting in the way, they were able to do what they needed to do. And I don't just mean have sex. That's easy. Mechanical.

My characters work things out by having sex. As Sophie says about sex being a mechanical box to hold emotion, my characters already know that after they hop in the sack, when they get out of bed (or off the floor, or out of the back of the truck), they are different people, with different needs and issues. Geez, it's practically like I planned it that way.

I didn't. I think I got lucky in my last two books by writing characters that are smarter that I am. But in the book I'm writing now, I'm actually conscious of what I need to put IN that mechanical box (I'm trying so hard not to make box jokes), and I think I'm getting it more right because of it. The sex is more interesting, even in the first draft. There are real reasons for what they do, and consequences as well, just like in life.

I hope I'm keeping the hotness, though. Because motivated is good. But HOT and motivated is even better. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.


Sophie Littlefield said...

Count me in as one of the people who think you write GREAT sex scenes. I love the image of you blushing away in the dark while you write them! :) And I was *wondering* when someone was going to get around to making a box joke! Sheesh!! :)

Juliet Blackwell said...

I, too, love the idea of you writing with your eyes closed, and blushing. And I think you've got something there: leave the sex scenes in the first draft. Like the actual act, I think the spontaneity is good for the hotness, AND the motivation. That, and, of course, alcohol ;-)

Mario said...

Unless you're ashamed of yourself now and then, you're not honest.
William Faulkner

Adrienne Miller said...

Haha, Julie, a couple of weeks ago when I was writing a particularly hawt scene I pulled out the Laphroaig before hand. and, yeah, it helped :-)

Rachael Herron said...

Yay booze! And Mario, I'm very honest, then.

L.G.C. Smith said...

I think the thing that makes your sex scenes so hot is that they ooze emotion along with the erotic. This isn't the easiest thing to do, and here you do it spontaneously. Talent. That's what you have.:)

R said...

I think the hottest thing about your sex scenes is that they read like really good, real sex. It's not improbably good and perfect and awesome from the first experience. It's real people doing real things with real results. And that is hawt.

AJ Larrieu said...

You write awesome sex scenes! And I feel the same way about editing. For me, sex scenes are the only scenes that usually turn out better the first time around.