Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Character Creations - Character Relations

When I think about writing a romantic scene a couple of words come to mind: ew, gross, yuck, blah. Now I know what you're thinking, am I 5? No, I'm not 5 years old. Am I 6? No, I'm not and before you keep asking about how immature I am I will explain to you why I feel the way I do. It's because I'm a puritan. That's right, I came over to New England in 1630, I ignored the native's right to the land and their own culture and I ignored the fact that people get freaky. So now, in the year 2009 I'm forced to face that fact as I write "normal" human relationships and I still get a little queasy about it. While I might be an extreme case of a writer who has reservations about writing loves scenes, I'm not the only author that goes at it with some trepedation.

Robert Masello writes, in his amazing book Writer Tells All: "The first time I wrote a truly lubricious sex scene in a novel, I wasn't worried about it when the book was just in typescript, adn I wasn't worried about it when the manuscript came back from the copy editor. But when I saw the book in galleys, when I read those scenes...just as anyone else reading the book would encounter them, I was mortified. What if people didn't understand that it was my naughty character, and not me, that was into this stuff? What if the sex scenes came off as just plain silly, rather than wildly erotic? And now it really dawned on me that, yes, my mother, my father and my brothers would all be reading this stuff."

He goes on to explain: "For weeks, I was embarrassed to talk about the book at all with friends and family, but gradually even that embarrassment faded. For one thing, nobody seemd to care; for another, I'm not sure most of them got that far into the book."

So as an author, don't fear, many authors have been there before with shame written all over the page. As a reader, remember that these scenes are fiction, and that an author spent long hours crafting them expertly. To finish up this post I wanted to emphasis the best kind of love scene I've ever read in a book and which still inspires my own fictional love scenes. It's about what is left out that matters, about what is left to the imaginiation.

Since I know everyone is dying to find out the results from our last poll, I shall post them here:

For those of you who like donuts, here is a donut chart: (and yes I see that textually Cross Examine isn't on this chart but it still is reflected by the light blue section of the donut - you know, the more advanced stage of mold part).

For people like me who don't eat donuts, nor digest infomation via donut charts, here is what excel calls an "area" chart:

Either chart you look at, Jesus on a Cross has won as best title for James Patterson's Next Novel Starring Alex Cross. So get your Catholic robe on Alex, it's going to be a religious ride!


Amanda said...

ROTFL!! That should so be the next ride at Disneyland. Around one corner you'll smote sinners, around the next, you dive into the baptismal pool, who knows what else they could come up with !?!!

P.S. I can't remember which one I voted for so I can't gloat about winning but for the record Jesus rocks!!

Andrew said...

I remember feeling queasy after reading several of your "love scenes"
You wrote-"He leaned in and gently pat her back, more like her shoulder, since the small of her back was off limits. His firm hand retracting as quickly as it had appeared, hanging next to his body limply. She liked him. He liked her. They nodded and parted ways forever."
I threw up after reading that. Hard. Have you ever thrown up hard? Its not something you brag about.
Heres my version-
"She was hot. He totally wanted to have sex with her. His hand held her butt, all the while drugs flowed in his blood stream giving her a purple glow which illuminated her hotness. The beat down he had delivered to the pirates still fresh in his mind. Another thing that was fresh: her breath as he made out with her."

But I do agree that people need to recognize its the characters saying the words, doing the deeds.