CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS AND SEX
NOTE: Paperback Writer(PBW) has organized an awesome group of bloggers doing Left Behind and Loving It workshops all this week and weekend while everyone’s away attending the RWA National Conference. Click here to find the links to all the workshops, including PBW’s!
Depending on your plot devices and motivations, your characters can be acting a variety of different ways for a variety of different reasons when they are conversing. But when they are making love, they are wholly themselves (even if they’re trying to hide) and give themselves completely to the exchange of affection and desire and, at times, unspoken love.
Most readers find it difficult to believe two people are going to hop right into bed without some relationship development. Unless you’re writing straight porn, you’re going to have to make the reader believe these two people have some emotional attachment to each other. The amount of relationship before sex will vary based on:
· The market you’re writing for
· The tone of your story
· Your characters
· And lots more
In more traditional romances, love or the stirrings of it comes before sex. In an erotic romance, sex typically leads to love.
In either event, readers want to believe there are strong feelings between the hero and heroine, whether they are feelings of love, lust, anger, uncertainty, reluctant fascination, or some combination of all. USE THESE!!!
Know where your characters are at emotionally before sex. Know the sorts of emotional triggers that are likely to induce them to fall into bed with someone. Start setting these up from the beginning of your hero/heroine interaction.
Convince the reader! That sounds basic, but without touches of reality, the relationship will fall flat—and your love scenes will follow suit. This is where the old "show, don’t tell" adage is crucial. You can’t tell readers the characters are feeling close or sexy or ready to jump one another (or fill in the blank). You have to start setting up the characters, the emotional dynamic between them, their unique push/pull…then take it all the way to the bedroom.
You shouldn’t have to TELL the reader what the characters feel. If you do it right, they should know–they should feel it themselves. If I’m reading a great book, I feel everything the characters do. Transferring that emotion from the characters to the reader means you’ve down your job right. You’ve brought the reader into the story. You do that by engaging the reader’s emotions, their senses. And we’ll get into that later.
Remember, in a romance, you are building that first sex scene from the moment your characters meet. Don’t ever forget that. Start creating tension from the first meeting and build on it. How do you do that? With a look, with body language, with the dialogue, the way the characters interact with each other. All of these things in combination serve to create sexual tension between them. Use them throughout the book to lead up to the love scene. Make it tense between them, like a ticking time bomb…tick tick tick tick tick. Remember, you’re leading up to an explosion here. You want the reader to feel it.
When you work on your manuscript, think about the following:
-Your heroine’s initial impression of your hero and what makes that change
-Your hero’s initial impression of your heroine and what makes that change
-Why are they perfect together? How do they complete each other? What do they give one another emotionally they can’t give themselves or get elsewhere?
-Conversely, why wouldn’t they be perfect together? And why wouldn’t that matter? (What would make them cross that barrier to be together?)
Any ideas you have about showing these impressions and changes via love scenes.