Monday, August 29, 2011

Sizzling Scenes

The first love scene in a book is really crucial to nail I think. I’m not too bad at writing sexual tension, but I always find it more difficult to allow the heroine to finally give in to the gorgeous protagonist, and grace his bed with her presence.

Some authors allow their main characters to leap into bed together within a few pages, but I prefer to make the male MC work hard for his woman! When I reached the (long awaited) love scene in Fledgling, I did wonder at the time whether it had been worth waiting for, and as my editor thought not – albeit very politely – I felt the urge to spice it up.

Easier said than done. Getting the balance just right is not as easy as it you might think. In the UK there’s an award for the ‘worst sex scene in a novel’ and some very famous UK celebrities have won it. But the very fact there is such an award, shows just how easy it is to make a love scene laughable.

Of course we authors at Black Rose write about paranormal romance, so that presents even more of a challenge. After all, if the hero is a centuries-old vampire, he would be very experienced in the art of making love. Vampires exude sex, they’re sensual and predatory, and if they just happen to be drop-dead-gorgeous as well ... who would ever resist them?

My heroine, Ellie managed to keep Will at bay for some time, she’s definitely a stronger woman than me – I think I’d have given in long before she did. Although if memory serves, Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake didn’t succumb to the beautiful Jean-Claude until the fifth book in the series, although possibly that stretched things a little far. But once Anita got going, there was no holding her, and her role call of lovers now sounds like the Twelve Days of Christmas (as in, ‘One Werelion, Two Wereleopards, Three Lovely Vampires,’ and so on!)

The most difficult thing in writing a love scene is to make it believable. If you’re writing in the first person, it’s a little easier, because you can write from inside the MC’s head. Senses, thrills and fears can be experienced through the heroine, enabling the reader to become the heroine.

In Ellie’s case she felt really nervous, inhibited, and terrified she wouldn’t be able to hold Will’s interest, yet she wanted him with all her heart (eventually). I think these would be natural emotions to feel the first time one sleeps with a vampire – not that I have!

My editor advised me to never write anything I felt uncomfortable with – anything that wasn’t really me. This was very good advice, because it’s all too easy for embarrassment to show through the writing. I admit when I first started writing the scene, I felt awkward, almost like a voyeur, but then the characters took over, and the more I wrote, the easier it became. I’m very proud of the end result, and I’m now actually in the middle of a passionate love scene in my new book – without a blush in sight!

Excerpt . . .

When we were both in the bedroom, I turned to find him closer than I’d thought, and a twinge of panic fluttered through my stomach.

Will leaned down and rested his forehead briefly against mine. As he raised his head, he cradled my face in his hands. “Elinor, I will never hurt you, you know that.”

His soft lips brushed mine, and his arms encircled my waist, as he pulled me close. I breathed in his expensive cologne and the heady masculine scent of him, and reached up to wrap my arms around his neck. His tongue flicked a path along my lips as it sought its way into my mouth and began to tease my own tongue in a slow sensuous dance. Any coherent thoughts I had scattered, as I melted under the onslaught of his hot passionate kisses. I felt positive my legs wouldn’t support me for very much longer.

His hands slid down my back, and with one swift movement, he cupped my bottom, lifted me effortlessly, and carried me over to the bed. When he’d put me down, he positioned himself close to my body, and propped himself up on one elbow, watching me with feral eyes that glittered with nefarious promises. I looked at his handsome face, so close to mine, as he ran his forefinger slowly down my neck and between my breasts. “We appear to have too many clothes between us.”

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