Author Guest Post
Ten Quickies For Writing Love Scenes
Hey writing is a tough business! Whether you write mysteries, suspense, romance, or thrillers it is hard to stand out in the crowd, and you definitely want to stand out in the right way. I’ve talked to so many writers who tell me that they struggle with or perhaps even shy away from love scenes. Truth is many writers avoid it at all costs because they feel awkward or lack the confidence to write so intimately. So with the timid writer in mind, I’ve compiled a list of ten quick suggestions to help you throw your inhibitions aside and write a good love scene.
1. Define your comfort zone: What are you comfortable reading/writing?
Not everyone (authors or readers) are comfortable with such strong scenes as those that E L James penned for Christian Grey’s “playroom”. Perhaps you are more at ease writing suggestive scenes: your characters touch, feel, explore, but you will only take the reader to the bedroom—not between the sheets, and that’s okay. When I began writing the Unbridled Series in 2005 suggestive scenes was where my comfort zone lived—I have since tossed some of my inhibitions aside to go farther with the First Force series, yet I’m still not as bold as some romance writers.
If you struggle with the idea of writing intimate scenes then you should take care to start slowly and build up. If you start out writing beyond your comfort level your scenes will reflect your unease, so its best not to force a scene that you are simply not prepared to illustrate.
2. Write for yourself, not your family, friends, or your pastor.
As I’ve said in past blogs, I have very conservative in-laws—they are simply uncomfortable with the subject matter of my books in general. That said I write love scenes that are explicit and yet tasteful. Some writers are concerned that their minister or church members will frown upon sexual scenes in their books. Hmmmm, then why are they reading your books? I’ve noticed that if I don’t bring up my books at church neither does anyone else—although I do have fellow parishioners who will approach me to tell me how much they enjoy my books—they never mention the love scenes—for whatever reason. ;}
3. Make sure the cover of your book matches the story inside.
The cover is so important to the marketing of your book. If your storyline is really smokin’ hot, then definitely put that erotic half-dressed couple immersed in a sensual kiss on your cover. If your storyline is more on the suggestive side—find something a little less provocative for your cover. You don’t want to promise something that you don’t deliver because then you could possibly upset two groups of readers: those who are expecting and looking forward to more than you are giving, or readers who are not comfortable at all with sexual scenes. The wrong cover can ultimately turn both sets of readers away from your books permanently. So make sure your cover sends the right message.
4. Heat it up! Sexual tension adds sooo much to the storyline.
Build the sexual tension between your characters from the very first moment they meet. The hero is bound and determined to win her heart, but the heroine isn’t exactly ready to give it—make him work to win her over and for that first kiss to be scorching hot. Sexual tension isn’t exclusive to those who write love scenes. You can use sexual tension even in the most innocent of books where an author doesn’t go any farther than that kiss.
5. Develop your characters well before tossing them into bed.
Your audience will find the story more believable and sensual if you have taken the time and effort to develop your characters before that hot love scene. Readers want to know that the love scene is right—that the hero and heroine are meant to be. Tossing them into bed before developing their relationship and personalities will leave the reader feeling cheated, and your carefully penned love scene could fall flat.
6. One POV please!
Only reveal one character’s POV during the love scene. Alternating thoughts, feelings, or sensual sensations from one character to the other during a love scene can confuse or frustrate the reader. Allow your reader to experience the sensual encounter through one character’s POV only.
7. Use subtext.
What’s subtext? Subtext is when a character says something without coming right out and saying it. Example: He leaned across the table, his hot gaze burning into hers. “You know I just love caramels.” He whispered, “I can’t help myself, I always end up eating the whole bag.”
8. Whoa! Watch those descriptions!
Most recently I began to read a book that actually started out with what the author considered a “hot” love scene. I put the book aside by page sixteen and haven’t picked it up since. Why? Because the author was using car parts to describe body parts. Can you guess what the gearshift was? Yep. Please, keep your automotive paraphernalia where it belongs—in the garage.
I had one author tell me that he liked to refer to the woman’s most intimate area as a… what for it… “honey hole”. E-gads!! One must be careful as to how to describe intimate body parts or it completely destroys the experience for the reader.
9. Use the senses.
Absolutely! Touch, taste, and smell—candles burning, the shadows dancing about the room, the smell of his skin, the gentle caresses over smooth silky flesh, and the taste of the wine still lingering on their lips. These descriptions (if done correctly and compassionately) will deepen the readers experience by drawing them into the moment.
10. Make sure it fits!
The scene I mean. Don’t write a love/sex scene just to do it—make sure the scene moves the story forward. The characters should share something during the scene: a deeper sense of their relationship, a secret can be revealed, or information that you have not shared with the reader can come forth during or as a result of the scene, but make the scene count. Love/sex scenes that are thrown into the story for no apparent reason are annoying, and yes your readers will notice!
So there you have it…some simple ideas to help you write a love scene. Here’s one more: read love scenes. The more you read love scenes the more you will learn how to write them—it’s really that simple. What did you like about the love scene that you just read? What didn’t you like? Learn from those who do it well.
About The Author
Why didn’t Cindy write about my experiences with dance? You might ask. “Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy.” Cindy says. “The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.”
Cindy didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. When the series didn’t sell, Cindy recalls, “One of the readers said to me, ‘Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.’” And so she did!
In May of 2011, Cindy took the big leap and exchanged her dancin’ shoes for a lap top—she retired from dance. “It was a scary proposition,” Cindy confesses. “I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house.”
Does Cindy McDonald miss dancing? “Sometimes I do,” she says. “I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with readers.”
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Shady Deals - Book Trailer
Shady Deals by Cindy McDonald
Book 5: The Unbridled Series
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Publication Date: January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback - 298 pages / Kindle - 3448 KB
Genre: Romantic Suspense
BUY THE BOOK: Shady Deals
BUY THE SERIES: The Unbridled Series
Book 1: Deadly.com
Book 2: Hot Coco
Book 3: Dangerous Deception
Book 4: Against The Ropes
Book 5: Shady Deals
Book 6: The Dead Of Winter (Publication Date: TBA)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.
Kate's family is determined to get to the bottom the of horse drugging ring, and when the West's get too close to the truth the Drug Lord sends them a brutal message that can't be misinterpreted. Now Holden is on the run, and he's dragging Kate with him.
Can he escape his indiscretions?
How long can he keep Kate in the dark?
And how damning will the truth be when it's finally revealed?
My Book Review:
In the latest installment of The Unbridled Series, author Cindy McDonald transports the readers back to the rolling hills of Rosemount, Pennsylvania, for another riveting romantic suspense novel featuring the West family's Westwood Thoroughbred Farm and Keystone Downs Thoroughbred Racetrack.
Kate West is the vet assistant and fiancee of Dr. Holden Reese, the veterinarian at Keystone Downs Racetrack. While these two lovers should be making wedding plans, there is trouble brewing at the racetrack with Holden stuck in the middle. There is a horse drugging ring run by shifty horse trainer Chip Walker, and he won't let anything or anyone stand in the way of his operation, especially the West clan, who are determined to get to the bottom of the scam. When Chip sends the Walker clan a vicious message to back off, danger and deception abound sending Holden running out of town with an unaware Kate at his side. When shady deals occur, no good outcome can come out of it for Holden and Kate, or can it?
Shady Deals is a fast-paced and action packed romantic suspense novel that easily captivates the reader's attention. Author Cindy McDonald weaves a riveting tale set in the scenic horse country setting of Rosemount, Pennsylvania, that takes the reader on a dramatic roller coaster ride as she slowly builds upon the suspense revolving around a dark and scandalous activity at the local horse racetrack.
With a large cast of characters, some who are returning characters from the previous novels in The Unbridled Series, the reader is kept on their toes as the intriguing story unfolds with deception, danger, murder, and a police pursuit. Subtle spicy fantasy sex scenes is woven into the excitement of the story, but it doesn't overshadow the drama and suspense of the main subject of the story. The reader can't help but get immersed into the lives of the West clan and Dr. Holden Reese. With every suspenseful twist and turn that unfolds, the reader is kept guessing as the tangled web of deceit unravels in a dramatic and climatic style.
The author does a wonderful job of providing an exciting story filled with a fascinating and richly descriptive horse farm setting and in depth look into the thoroughbred horse racing industry. Shady Deals is a sexy romantic suspense thriller that is a must read!
RATING: 4 STARS ****
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