My local RWA chapter’s contest for unpublished romance novelists, Between the Sheets, has a February 14 deadline. We’re looking for entries, so check it out.
Love scenes (despite the name of the contest no actual sex has to happen) are not my forte, so I didn’t think I’d enter this one, even though there are some great judges who, if they read your entry and like it, could sign you to their agency or house.
So, I knew it would be a good thing to enter. Support my local chapter. Give me a good reason to work on the spot in my WIP I know needs the most work. And bless Stephanie Laurens who wrote a kick ass article in the RWR this month breaking down love scenes. I saw everything I was doing wrong and found out everything I need to do to get it right.
Her best advice was to write the emotion first and then overwrite the physical stuff. Her other best advice was to show the lead-in motivation and the change that happens afterward because love scenes always change the relationship. Another gem was that this is the place where “show don’t tell” hits its upper limit. You don’t want dialogue or even an internal monologue. Another thing I learned that you really need to reveal the emotional content. That’s the most important thing and it was almost completely missing from my scene.
Laurens went in depth on how to get the emotion across. Think sensory. All five senses. There’s so much more, the article was four or five pages long and I have highlights, underlines, and margin notes all over the thing. Plus I pulled out my big love scene (what Laurens calls a “transformational” love scene) and got a solid start on a rewrite.
It will be ready to go on or before February 14. If you’ve got a love scene hanging around, I hope you’ll enter too.