I couldn’t put it off any longer, so last night I took my notebook out of my office and trekked to our living room. I sat in my chair (yes, I have my own chair which I do share…but not always), nibbled on a freshly baked biscotti (my husband is a baker and how!) and got to work. I thought a more comfortable atmosphere would help me overcome my nervousness. It did, long enough for me to write the scene…but once I started to think about people actually reading what I wrote – and knowing who wrote it – well, that changed things. I’m referring to the sex scene. I knew I had to have one in my story – not because readers expect it – but because it was necessary to the plot and development of two characters.
I knew I didn’t want an overly graphic scene, nor one that called things what they were…if you understand my meaning. Something more seductive, less about the details. The writing part was rather easy. The read through was more difficult – because I kept thinking to myself oh, crud – my mom’s going to read this some day. Yeah, that was the tough part. Could I somehow arrange to send her a copy with that part blacked out? Or rip out the pages before she could read the book? Seriously, I considered both options.
At the PNWA conference I asked a question about writing sex scenes. How graphic, how much? All three agents leading the panel responded with this – if you can write it, fine. but if you are embarrassed to write it, we’ll know, the reader will know and that will be bad. As to how graphic, one agent said that yes, there are intensely graphic scenes in some books. And more taboo subjects of a sexual nature. But not all books have that, nor do they all need to. Which did give me some room to breathe. Knowing I didn’t have to include a graphic scene actually gave me the freedom to choose. And that freedom helped me realize that yes, a sex scene really was necessary and yes, I could write it any way I wanted to…so long as it was true to the characters and story. And I think I did that. Course, there’s always time to revise if not!