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How not to write a sex scene.

Here’s the real truth about writing. Eventually your brain says, “I’m not working very well anymore. I need a break.” But you don’t listen, because you have your own personal deadline, and you’re going to keep it…

I sent The Thing About Weres into my patient editor without a love scene. In my email, I admitted that it needed one, but my acid reflux was acting up, and drinking the bottle of merlot wasn’t going to happen. I’ll get it in rewrites, I promised…

5:30 a.m.  Eyes open. Brain says, “That’s it. No more avoiding it. Today is the day.”

6:15 a.m.: Open manuscript. Go to the place where you plan to insert sex scene. Hit space bar, many, many times, so that you have space to fill with brilliant, steamy prose.

6:20 a.m: Stare at blinking cursor. Hit return a couple more times.

6:22 a.m.: Go for a 2 hour walk.

8:31 a.m.: Sit down at computer. Decide the problem is that you’re unsure of the turning point in the scene, and reasons for it. Read a few pages ahead in the manuscript. Then go back and read two chapters before the placeholder. Ask self, where are they emotionally? What should happen? What will you make happen instead?

10:15 a.m.: Not a hell of a lot, that’s what.

10:30 a.m.:  Obviously, you need visual aids. Go downstairs and ferret through boxes looking for darling daughter’s Ken and Barbie dolls. Don’t find them, but do discover box of GiJoes.  Stare at that thoughtfully.

11:00 a.m.:  Make a playlist because all great writers use music to put themselves into the mood.

11:33 a.m. Remember conversation you had with your hair colourist yesterday where she affirmed that Michael Fassbender really could play golf without using a club. Wonder if movie is as steamy as she said. Rent the film, “Shame.” Feeling guilty, resolve to watch it standing upright, sound on mute and button set on fastword, pausing only where necessary. A few minutes into the film, hit pause. Stare at screen for a long, long time. Holy Hannah, that really is better than a 7 iron.

12:30 p.m. Okay, despite the fact that you speed watched the movie SHAME in about 14 minutes, you are STILL not in the mood. Obviously, you need to put yourself within the scene. Go up stairs. Study Queen size bed.

12:41 p.m. Lay on bed, feet dangling. You are Trowbridge. What do you see?…That scrape on the ceiling where we tried to move the four poster, that’s what.

12:42 p.m. Kneel on bed, legs spread. You are Hedi. What do you see? … The mud I got on my knee when I knelt on the trail to take a picture with my cellphone.

12:43 p.m. Examine contents of frig.

1:00 p.m. Acknowledge total defeat. Admit that you are not one of those writers who can make a cup of tea and toss out 3K of hot, hot stuff.  You have 500 words on the page, and they totally suck.

1:02 p.m: *gloom*

1:05 p.m.: *misery*

1:15 p.m. TIME FOR DESPERATE MEASURES: Go to basement. Gaze wistfully at bottle of merlot. Open beer frig instead. Steal husband’s last Stella Artois.

1:21 p.m.  Discover that you don’t have a copy of Bob Seger’s “Why Don’t You Stay,” on your iTunes. Buy it. Set it on continual play.

1:30 p.m. While waiting for beer to kick in, write blog post, because that proves you’re productive, when you know you really have been majorly slacking, and you really shouldn’t be, because you’re in freakin’ EDIT HELL, and damnit, that requires discipline.

1:33 p.m. Beer is kicking in. Jack up the song…. We’ve got tonight. Who needs tomorrow. Let’s make it last….

1:36 p.m. Prepare to hit publish.

Come on Bob. Do your stuff. I’m counting on you…

10 Comments

  • Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    OMG…That is just the best….You need a list with dirty kinky songs to get you going..

  • Bibi Silver
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Want from my playlist? 😉

  • Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Right there with you, Leigh! I’ve always believed that writing a good sex scene is a cross between writing a fight scene (choreography!) and a food scene (senses!), but unless I have an inkling of what it should be before I go to write it, it’s pure hell. Alas, Merlot is no longer considered breakfast-appropriate…

    • Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I’ve switched to Johnny Lang’s “Breakin’ Me”. Bob wasn’t doing the job…*grin*

  • Posted June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    This whole post makes me feel so much less alone in my process, lol. Of course, all writing is taking place at the crack of dawn these days. Perhaps I just need Baileys in my coffee? (Yeah, that’ll work).

    • Posted June 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Sad about the crack of dawn. In your case a necessity. In mine, a mind that will not sleep until it is DONE.

  • JanetLee
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Googling Michael Fassbender. I am so out of the know!

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