Monday, June 28, 2010


I recently started reading a book written by a high school friend of my sister's. Mara Altman's Thanks for Coming, is thoroughly entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud enough times that my husband would step outside and insist I explain what I'm laughing at. Of course, he did not think a description of a vagina as an inside out, upside down bat was humorous. Oh well. He doesn't have to read it.

The sexual theme, though obvious, is not as dominant as the theme of human connection and trust. This was unexpectedly helpful to me in regards to writing passionate scenes. Lately, when I read romance novels, I seem to read them more for research than for enjoyment. I'm analyzing the industry, not really reading. Thanks for Coming broke me out of that rut.

It also got me thinking about the actual passionate scenes in romance novels. Everything is so perfect. Flawless. All the heroine has to do to achieve the climax that her perfect partner is skillfully giving her, is:
  • throw herself of a precipice
  • dive into an ocean of sensation
  • dissolve into the stars
  • become one with the powers pulsing through the earth

Lovely and poetic. The actual orgasm is equally beautiful and abstract. I believe that my one of my heroines "fractured into millions of points of light."

Passionate scenes in romance novels are idealized and romanticized. Now, I'm not saying the scene should be described with more biological and anatomical terms. That's not pretty. And it's not fantasy.

Romance novels are not self help manuals. If a person has a sexual dysfunction or terrible body image, they will not find a cure by reading about a heroine who doesn't drool while she sleeps, has no sweat glands, and whose private parts smell like apples. That said, the reader may find escape. It would be boring to read about muscle contractions and goo --that's real life. Most of us have plenty of real life -- that's why we read romance.

Of course, I read my first romance novel while I was still virginal. Super virginal. I mean I didn't know that the process was anything more than insert A into B and make a baby. That romance novel, and the ones following, really raised my expectations. Was I let down? TOTALLY! Maybe it would have been better if I'd read Mara's book before reading Fabio's.

At this point, I don't remember where I was going with the blog. Maybe I'll remember and edit before the publication date/time comes along. If not, that means I was actually writing my WIP, like I'm supposed to be doing.


Erin Kane Spock said...

Lol. I guess I never got back to this. But that is because I actually have been writing my WIP. Yay me!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Whose private parts smell like apples. .. I was guffawing at your

You're hilarious!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

I might have to check this book out, thanks! I'm writing romance but am a little gaga about sex scenes. You're telling me that YES, by all means, write those puppies in. Is that what I'm hearing? My favorite romance novels go there, why was I thinking I wouldn't. Or shouldn't. Duhhh. Great post!

Thanks for the big duhhh, Olivia :)

Erin Kane Spock said...

There's a big 'heat' jump between sweet romance and erotica.
Most of the Romance authors I read go between a PG and R rating, but I have enjoyed some nice G's (and I won't discuss my relationship with erotica).

My only advice here is to make sure the passionate stuff is relevant to the plot/character progression and not gratuitous.

BTW, those scenes are the most difficult for me to write -- pacing, right sequence of events, making sure it's not like an instruction manual, etc...

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