Sunday, November 06, 2011

Love, Preternatural Style

We’re all adults here, right? Chronologically, if not emotionally. (Okay, speaking for myself.)

So, let’s talk about sex—writing it. Other writers I’ve met seem to fall into one of two groups. The first type enjoys writing love scenes; they find it toe-curlingly pleasurable. The second plows through it like a trip to the dentist—a necessary, albeit painful, evil.

Color me part of Group No. 2, which is probably why I prefer writing urban fantasy to romance. I love the fun bits—the sexual tension, the playful banter—and don’t have to worry too much about stuff I’d just as soon my characters didn’t share.

Trouble is, as I write the third book in my series, I realize it's high time my heroine gave it up. (Oh, she’s given it up before—before the series started—but that only required oblique references.) Now, for several evenings, I’ve abandoned my goal of writing 1k words a day to stare at a screen, trying to figure out how my heroine and a suitor who shall remain nameless for spoilery reasons are going to “just do it.”

Yeah, yeah, I know. Tab A into Slot B. Blah blah blah. But my heroine’s a wizard, as well as an empath. She can zap him with charges of electricity, work a charm on him to make him think he’s Superman (or a tongue-flicking Spider Man…hmmm…), and then will know exactly how he feels about it. Although Lover Boy has a special skill set of his own to bring into the mix.

Did I mention very, very few of the characters in my books are plain-vanilla human?

So, for paranormal love scenes, the sky (or hell, or the alternative version of Cleveland) is the limit. To ignore their special characters/abilities would be an easy cop-out. Let those abilities take on too big a role, and the love scene becomes something else, something that loses the importance of the transition in my couple’s relationship.

To do a quick “ceiling-fan” cut and run is a cop-out, but writing too explicit and I’ve just taken my PG13 series into a different genre. As I told my crit partner, "I can write smut and I can write church bulletin. I'm having trouble with the happy medium."

Decisions, decisions. I think I’ll leave a few pages blank and move on to the scene where the reanimated, axe-wielding zombie serial killer chases my heroine into the arms of an elf. Yeah, that’ll work.


Cyndi Tefft said...

Put me firmly in the first camp. I'd much rather write love scenes than those featuring a bad guy. I have a really difficult time conjuring bad guys in my head, but the other? Yeah, I could write that all day long. LOL

Good luck!


Chris Bailey said...

I'm okay if you cut to the ceiling fan! Middle is tough. How about the big tease? I can remember super provocative scenes that don't really do more than set me up to be an adult on my own.

Lexi said...

Suzanne, I feel your pain. Really. It took mint chocolate ice cream and red wine to get through my first sex scene and it took me a week to write it! Arggh!

Never fear. You will figure it out. Anyone that can come up with a zombie serial killer can write a sex scene.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Cyndi--maybe we should team up. I can choreograph your fights and bad guys and you can write my love scenes :-)

I'm okay with the ceiling fan cut too, but I know my editor won't go for it. Whatever I do, I have no doubt she'll either say scale it back or ramp it up. I'm hoping for scale it back!

Lexi, I think mint chocolate ice cream and wine...brilliant. I plan to try that next weekend. Maybe I could just have her sleep with the zombie serial killer....hmm...

Cari Hislop said...

As she's a witch with some funky talents I'd totally use them. Assuming this guy is the one she's in love with and not the zombie-hottie with a missing nose...

I think it would be funny if the guy felt electrocuted every time he looked at her or saw her coming...and blamed it on her witchy could get some good tension going there... She knows he wants her...he thinks she's put a spell on him...she makes a move...he moves back creeped out by the thought he only wants her because of some hocus pocus... Then she gets mad (after insisting countless times she isn't trying to electrocute him) and turns him into spider man (or something! "Try that for spell..." He's half way up a building when he realizes that he still feels electrocuted at the thought of her kiss...and ends up falling...into her arms after she turns him into a...and then back into a man...if she were my heroine she'd still be mad so he'd find himself wearing pair of seventies polyster sky blue tuxedo pants...and nothing else...(double knit polyester is very uncomfortable against tender flesh) ...endless possibilities...

Suzanne Johnson said...

LOL, Cari--those are some great possibilities. (I'm laughing at the outrage this guy would feel at even the IDEA of sky-blue polyester tuxedo pants!)