As a romance writer, writing love scenes is part of the job description. They are integral to what defines the romance genre, and the depiction of a loving, emotionally satisfying relationship. We all know love scenes serve an important function in a romance and aren’t there just for the heck of it or for mere titillation. They can be crucial in deepening the emotional connection between the hero and heroine, delving into character issues, and developing the relationship further. As I have been working on my first ms and wrestled with writing my own love scenes, I’m going to come out and say it. Writing love scenes is tough. Not to mention totally weird and awkward. At least for me.
Some of you may remember from my Introductory Post that I started reading romances back in high school. As you can imagine, while I love reading the books, the sex scenes still made me squirm and made me a little embarassed. There was still an element of “What if people knew what I was reading??!!” I often skipped the love scenes, or just skimmed it. The paranoia has lessed for me over the years, and I have come to like reading the love scenes, but now that I’m responsible for writing them, the awkwardness is back full force. I had dabbled in fanfics and other things like that over the years, and while they sometimes included kissing scenes, I had never went all the way and wrote a full-fledged love scene. This is the first time I took the plunge.
But still I toughed it out and persevered. I wrote my first love scene last summer, and I am proud to report that I made it through the experience alive. It definitely wasn’t easy though-I found it hard to “get in the mood” and “think sexy.” It was not romantic or sexy at all. I was blushing the whole time and thinking “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m really doing this. Seriously. Is this for real?” Part of me couldn’t really process what I was writing. Not to mention, I had no objectivity or perspective, and couldn’t tell if it was even a GOOD sex scene. Please don’t misunderstand. My feelings of awkwardness don’t stem from any sense of shame, embarssment, or anything like that. It’s more that for me, sex and making love is a very personal and private thing. It almost feels wrong that I’m broadcasting someone else’s most intimate and private moments. (Yes, I realize these are fictional characters I’ve created. Try telling that to my crazy writer brain, lol)
I have learned a few things after writing my first love scene. First, complete silence and privacy is required. The idea of anyone in the same building as me while I’m writing, much less in the same room just freaks me out. Second, writing a couple having sex is surprisingly technical. There is a lot of coreography involved. There are a lot of body parts and positions to keep track of! The whole mechanics of writing my hero and heroine from foreplay to orgasm is exhasuting. Last, but not least, I have found a good glass of wine to be an indispensible part of the writing process whilst I’m tackling a love scene. It was advice I got from Julie James and I am SO glad I took it, even if it meant I was getting my booze on at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. ;) I think it’s safe to say from now on, wine will be a prerequisite whenever I have to write love scenes in the future.
While I like a good love scene as much as the next girl, and admire authors who right them well, at the end of the day, for me, love scenes aren’t the reason I read and write romance. I read and write romance because I like stories about strong heros and heroines who overcome obstacles and earn the happy ever after. Who have great sex of course. The way I see it, I have a few kissing scenes to add into my WIP and probably two more full love scenes to write. Wish me luck!
Do you like the love scenes in romances, or do you tend to skip them? Any other tips to writing love scenes? Share your thoughts below!