A to Z Challenge 2013

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blog Chain - Love Stinks...Sometimes



Okay, so I'm being a bit caustic with my choice of videos (compared to everyone else), but it actually is appropriate...sometimes.

The topic our own illustrious Kat has chosen is the following:

How do you feel about love scenes? As a reader, are you put off by the gratuitous? As a writer, do you shy away from spelling out the down-and-dirty? Or do you write until your computer lights a cigarette?


To say I run screaming from love scenes is probably an understatement.  As a reader, unless I'm turning the pages on the latest Penthouse Letters mag (which I've never read btw.  That was just a rumor started by somebody that really hated me in high school.  I swear!), I really am not interested in who does what to whom and how they do it.  Even from a romance perspective, I'd rather get the idea that two characters are in love by what they say and do outside the bedroom instead of in the bed itself.  I have definitely been known to skim past love scenes with a dismissive eye roll and a sigh of exasperation.


As a writer, I am scared to death of them.  For one thing, I'm a (almost) forty year old white male.  That makes me a borderline pervert in too many states, by too many uptight societies.  It's a fire I'd rather not play with if I can avoid it.  And to write a decent love scene where I'm making sure it's about love and not sex is something I'm not sure I could do.  It becomes way too easy to be cliche, too easy to be gratuitous, or too easy to be a non-event.


To take this even further however, there are very few times I can think of where a love scene helped move the story along.  Sure, it's great for characterization and depicting the relationship between two characters.  But is it always necessary?  I doubt it.


Don't get me wrong on this.  I'm not an uptight guy by means.  Outright sex doesn't bother me (at the right moment, for the right reason).  And although I could probably be a bit more romantic in my marriage from time to time, I'm probably as romantic as the next guy.  Wait, that doesn't really help my case, does it?  Anyway, my point is that I don't look for romance much in the books I read or the books I write.  I will probably have to work harder on the latter though.


Since I've now probably left you all shaking your head (or laughing in wonder at me), I'll turn the mike over to the awesome Michelle McLean.   She ought to have something cool posted tomorrow for your reading pleasure.  If you didn't get to read the ever-talented Michelle Hickman's answer though, get on over there.  She actually introduces us to a snippet of her work (sorry Michelle, I didn't really have anything to toss up here or I would have followed your example).


And how do you all feel about love scenes in writing?  Good or bad?  And should they be tame or explicit?

17 comments:

Theresa Milstein said...

I hear you! Two years ago, I took a workshop on writing about sex in YA at the NESCBWI conference. I'm glad I did. I don't want to fade to black but I'm not comfortable with writing all out action. The workshop let me know I wasn't alone in my feelings and how to work around them.

I'm holding a 500 followers contest, if you'd like to visit my blog.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

No head-shaking or laughing here. I don't think love scenes are for everyone, and they are hard to write.

Gail M Baugniet said...

I don't write love scenes or read romance novels but that's not to say others shouldn't.

I signed up for my first A-Z Blogging Challenge, #472, and saw your blog listed so I just stopped by to say "Hi". I look forward to reading your "alphabet" posts in April.

Eric said...

Theresa - That workshop sounds great. And I will definitely stop by your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine ;)

Sandra - Somehow I think you're getting used to my craziness. That might not be a good thing for you LOL.

Gail - Hi there. I am so psyched about the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I don't know what I'm going to say every day, but it should be interesting. Good luck to us both, and thanks for stopping by.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Hmmm... I have to admit I think you may be right about having to be careful being a guy writing love scenes. I know that if I was to ever pick up a romance novel written by a guy, I would be a little bit suspicious;)

Margie Gelbwasser said...

Love scenes ARE hard to write and they are not always necessary. If your book needs it, go for it, but if not putting them in will confuse people. Like those movies where the male and female cop start making out because they should. It's like "No, dude. Stop the kissing and catch the bad guys!"

Christine Fonseca said...

Eric, dude...love scenes can be really hard to write. So no stressing over it!

kat said...

I love, love, love your choice of song for this post. (Mostly because it reminds me of that scene in The Wedding Singer.)

No laughing here. I completely get where you're coming from. :-)

Eric said...

Kate - Don't let Travis hear you say that. That's exactly what he writes as I understand it. Surprising, coming from a huge Texan, huh?

Margie - LOL, you got that right. Them dang movie cops are rarely doing what they should (like being able to fire a pistol accurately).

Christine - I don't stress about romance. I just avoid it at all costs LOL. Maybe someday I can do a halfway decent job of it though.

Kat - Cool, glad somebody does :) Thanks, Kat.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I had a long comment here but blogger tossed it. Must not have been good. Either way, good response to this. I think there's a definite point at which writing sex/love scenes becomes creepy.

Pk Hrezo said...

It depends on the story. I don't mind it if it's the natural flow of things. I don't need graphic but it dosn't hurt to play out the scene if it's right for the story. I've written the scenes before but I prefer the tension between potential lovers rather than the actual deed.

Eric said...

Shaun - Dang, I always love your long comments LOL. Email me your longer comment so we can chat about it. Those are always great conversations.

Pk - Thanks for stopping by. I like your idea of "potential lovers". That's a very apt and nice way to put it.

lbdiamond said...

LOL, love your response! Love scenes are challenging--you don't want to fizzle and you don't want to get too poetic...

What a hard thing to do. (That's what she said. ;)- )

Michelle H. said...

Interesting thing that you pointed out, being a guy and writing about love/sex. Unless you're uber-famous, like Stephen King, then you have to be careful on what you write. I read over at the Book Ends literary site a looong time ago about how most male romance writers take women pen names.

Michelle McLean said...

always interesting getting a guy's POV :) great answer :D

Cole Gibsen said...

I hate Hate HATE writing sex scenes. I have a good friend who makes serious bank writing erotica. She's always trying to get me to write under a pen name but it would be a disaster. I imagine it would sound like something out of Beavis and Butthead.

"She placed her hand on his throbbing...

heh, heh, heh, you said throbbing..."

Eric said...

Lbdiamond - Well good, glad somebody likes it LOL. Nice pun too :)

Michelle H. - You know that's the truth. It's dangerous for a guy in certain realms, and romance is definitely one of them.

Michelle M - There aren't as many of us out here, so I gotta put that in there where I can :)

Cole - LOL, I can so see you saying something like that. Of course, if you were going for humorous, you'd be awesome!