Bringing the Sexy

My publishing contract states there must be at least one consummation scene in every book. Most people call these sex scenes, but an article I read on writing them (yes I need instructions!)  said they are really “love” scenes because  when the hero and heroine make love for the first time, it’s a turning point in the story. They are committed.

Last time my critique group met, I gave them pages with the love scene deleted. Just a little note where the scene went. They insisted I send it to them. This is a first for our group, and we’ve been together for several years.

These scenes are the most difficult to write. When I reviewed romance novels and women’s fiction for a living, I saw too many mixed metaphors and cliches. The only consummation scene I’ve ever read and liked was in Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. I prefer the flirting and the attraction and the yearning. When they get there, I want to close the door.

Still, they’d all asked for it, so I sent the scene, which was less than a page and a half. Here are my favorite comments:

“Can you begin the the sentence with a word other than ejaculation?”

and

“I don’t think she’d be thinking of biology class at this time.”

Ha. Those critiques were both from women. A male member, no pun intended, asks me to switch paragraphs. I need to look at that a little closer to see how it flows. The other male in our group gave his wife the pages and she commented for him:)

I like writing the first kiss, the first touch, the major attraction moments, the almost did it but were interrupted scenes. I have lots of those. Consummation? Only what the contract calls for.

Actors always say things like “filming a love scene is anything but romantic.” Same goes for writing one. At least for me. If you’d like to read my consummation scene from The Paris Notebook, it comes (sorry!) early, Chapter Four, pages 22-25. Page 24 to be exact.