Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Finding the Entrance to the Secret Garden
by Lisa Hughey
This topic isn’t, as Dr. Peeler so eloquently said, about tab A in slot B. Most high schoolers understand the mechanics of sex. Writing about sex and being sexy has to be much more than about moves and positions.
But what is sexy? The truth is that every person has a different vision of sexy.
Sexy is about defining, for the heroine, the emotional component that allows the hero entry into her secret world. In the context of romance novels, whether closed door or fully described in intricate detail complete with naughty words, sex only packs a punch if the emotion is present and (almost always) amplified.
Engaging in sex is about vulnerability and trust. And the most intense sex scene is one that explores the trigger for allowing this other person into the character’s inner sanctum or as the title suggests, their secret garden.
A truly excellent scene is one that delves deeply into the character and what makes them vulnerable.
Sometimes it’s about longing for something they don’t have: family, love, protection, happiness. Sometimes it’s about power they want or power they hate. Sometimes it’s about fear. Fear of happiness, fear of being hurt again.
Sex frequently turns the story just as it turns the relationship. The physical dance of intimacy, that first tentative foray into an emotional connection, the withdrawal back to the ordinary world which no longer fits quite right, and the glide back together again, is the foundation on which the successful romance story rests.
I love reading about people finding the person they find sexy. Even more, I love writing about characters who find their own version of sexy. The evolution of that initial attraction to a deep and enduring love is the most interesting and fun of all.
ps. Yes, that is a Bruce Springsteen reference. I love this song.