The “Almost” Scene

Today I’m working on a long scene that ups the sexual tension between my characters. Anybody who reads romance knows that it’s a tightrope walk between conflict and attraction. Unless the author is really really good, I almost never believe it when two characters are bickering enemies in one paragraph and falling into bed the next. Coming together (pun alert!) is an arc.

So the arc moves forward today. I am not good at creating sexual tension. For example, I put them in bed too early, and the whole thing felt off, so now I’m pulling back and letting them have an “almost” scene first.  I love reading sexually charged scenes, so, in an effort to figure out exactly how I can become proficient in the sexual tension department, I turned to my beloved C & H. Here are my notes from Chapter 15, “Sex Scenes and Sexual Tension.”     


There’s sex, and then there’s sexual tension. I love reading sexual tension scenes. Can’t write them.

Ways to put more sexual tension in this scene:

Men are such guys. (Just think Al.) The word C & H use is “blatant.” 

Women are more emotional. They are the heart, while men are the, ahem, head.

Sensory Details: can’t keep eyes off each other, any reason to touch, smell, taste, hear…also:

  1. Thoughts: like dialogue but more honest. And for men, more blatant. For women, more emotional than they show. Sensory is good here.
  2. Mood. Sensory. Again! But also as relates to plot
  3. Dialogue: “words they wish they could take back”
  4. Character: Who they are, their quirks and habits. Gestures they make. Sexy or sweet.
  5. Doubts: Fear of emotion, fear of intimacy

So that’s what’s keeping me busy this morning, getting all or some of that sexual tension into a believable scene.

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  1. You know, it’s funny I’ve been watching old episodes of The Nanny lately and it reached a point where Niles and MIss Babcock, who had been at each other’s throats for as long as they’ve known each other, have actually gotten together. And on the face of it you think it’s ridiculous because how can these people who have hated each for so long suddenly be lovers? But I guess once you’re so invested in a relationship and there is such passion, it’s because something is being aroused within you. Vitriol isn’t the worst thing that can happen, indifference is.

    Good luck with your ‘almost’ scene!


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