Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When Bad Sex Happens to Good Characters

It isn't pretty.

I've been writing like crazy for the last two weeks - pretty much at the expense of everything else. Yes, the kids are still getting fed and watered and bathed, but aside from that? I'm at the computer, typing my already little fingers right down to their bones. I've gotten nearly 50k words done in 15 days (and I do very little writing on the weekends, just because no one will let me even look at the computer, never mind actually sit at it and string together coherent thoughts.) And so far, I love the story.

Until yesterday.


Once upon a time, I wrote a 100k manuscript of a story that I liked (Loved would have been way too strong a word. I liked it. Sort of.) and when I was finished, I put it aside for a few weeks to let it go cold in my mind. When I took it out for the first revision, I got about 30 pages in, and then **headdesk**

There was no story. No plot. Just dialogue and sex.

Lots of sex.

All over the place.

And it wasn't an erotic romance, either (just for the record, those do have a lot of sex, but they also have a plot. This story? No. Plot.)

It was a string of events broken up by sex. It's a wonder my characters weren't dead by the end of the book. They must have needed to sleep for a month and a ton of Tiger Balm for those stretched out muscles.

And it happened again in my latest WIP.

Of course, to my relief, it means I only need to cut out at 1500 words. Not so bad. I caught it in time.

See, the problem here is that I need them to hook up. Or I think I do. It will set up the next turning point, which is kind of a BIG turning point. So I need to have them in some sort of a compromising position.

At least, I think I do. I haven't decided yet if the hero will be betrayed out of revenge and/or jealousy, or if he will be betrayed in order to protect the heroine. And that's not helping.

Now, I have to admit, I hate writing sex scenes. Hate. It. I get through it, but I. Hate. It. And writing a bad sex scene is 10 times as bad. I struggle through them to keep from getting either too clinical or too purple (purple prose = BAD prose.)

There's one other sex scene so far - and it took three attempts to get it passable. I'll polish it up later, but it works for now. It worked for the characters and advanced the plot. They needed to end up in bed as a way to up the ante for them later on (and let's face it - who wouldn't want to jump into bed with the hero??? He's a mix of Hugh Jackman and Hugh Jackman and they don't get much better than that - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.)

I usually only have one or two big sex scenes per finished book. There are at least twice as many in earlier drafts, but they either end up in the file marked Edits - love scenes or squished into the one or two scenes that remain in the final project.

But this latest scene - ugh. There aren't enough ughs in the world to describe it. It's awful. I mean, it's a steamy scene - but it ultimately does nothing for the story itself, except wreck a room, really. And I don't need that.

So out it will come in about 10 minutes.

I knew as I wrote it that it would end up in that file. But I hoped it would spark a hint of resolution to the betray for revenge vs. protecting the heroine.

It didn't.

Ah well. At least I don't have to cut out something I really like. This will sting a little, but then it'll be fine. Leaving it in, however, could have dire consequences for the book itself. It could lead to major suckitude.

And that would be bad.

Besides, this will set the stage for Gabriel and Regan's reunion and that will be some mind-blowing reunion.

Then good sex will happen to good characters.

That's what makes the cutting a little less painful.

Or so I hope.


Brandi said...

I keep meaning to look for your books. But then I forget to write down the titles. So just to make it easier...where can I find them?! And another quick question. I am doing a whole month of book reviews and giveaways of books to promote reading, would you like to participate. It would require two books from you. I can send you out a letter that I drafted detailing it if you would like.

Kim said...

Hi Brandi!

They're available at Amazon.com in print and Kindle editions. That's probably the easiest place to find them. =)

Sure - send me the details and I'll let you know.