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Sunday, September 2, 2012

CAN A GUY WRITE A LOVE SCENE? SEPTEMBER 2, 2012


How a guy writes a love scene.

If he’s talented, he’ll write it just like everybody else. If he’s super talented (or working on it), he’ll build a cogent theory that fits his style and purpose and . . .

At the Romance Writers of America national convention, held this year (2012) in Anaheim, an agent asked me how a guy (me) writes romance. I swept my hand around the room and said, “everybody here has to wear different hats, they just have to make sure they fit properly.”

Writing romance is a little different from writing a love scene. Right? Conventional wisdom would say yes. I sometimes find it funny when I read love scenes where the prose seems to be written by a stunt substitute writer while doing a backflip and is entirely different than the prose in the rest of the novel. I still enjoy it, especially the gymnastics. I get what the author is doing. I mean sometimes the mind thinks differently during lovemaking. Sometimes poetic writing fits the character. A love scene is almost a timeout to write an ode to love at its finest moment. But couldn’t  the finest moment be an uncommon act of kindness? That moment you realize you’ve fallen for her or she loves you.

My theory on writing love scenes is a work in progress, but I currently believe the story, scene, and character arcs should be addressed in a love scene. Time doesn’t really stop (although it may feel like it). Even if very little changed, it’s still part of the story. The purpose of a romance is the happily ever after. Lovemaking is just one of many acts of love between a man and a woman.
 
Here's two famous scenes (total four minutes) from SOME LIKE IT HOT that doesn't forget the story, scene, or charcater arcs and it's just plain fun.
 

 

8 comments:

  1. You blog helped answer a problem I've struggled with. I once made the mistake of writing up to the love scene, then deciding to come back to it later. when I went back later, I couldn't get it right.

    Now I see why you should never do skip and go back. You'll forget where you were, lose the mood and your place in the writing, not to mention where you were in the character's arcs. Thanks, Bob, for helping me figure this out.

    Toni

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    1. Sorry Toni I hadn't answered sooner. I was inundated with family. I'm glad. I probably just shown a light on something you already knew. However, sometimes you have to add scenes. I know I'll have to read through the whole manuscript sooner or later.

      Bob

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  2. Some Like it Hot is one of my very favorite movies. Especially the Tango scene. Thanks, Bob.

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    1. Hi Mary,

      Some like it Hot . . . one of the funniest movies ever.

      Too bad, some younger people aren't aware of the oldies. When i grew up, I was allowed to watch the late show at 11PM on Friday nights. I caught quite a few great old movies I wouldn't otherwise have appreciated.

      Bob

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  3. Great blog Bob! And good luck with your love scene...

    Lisa :)

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      My biggest fear is reading the scene in front of my mixed group, some very conservative, some not liking honest or raw emotions (IMO).
      Bob

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  4. I don't think every author should try to write a love scene, especially if it makes them uncomfortable. There are graceful ways around it, simple allusions we can apply that make the point without going into the details.

    Me personally, I like reading them and writing them but I've seen other authors who completely drop the ball and forget who they're writing for. Their scenes conjure up comparisons to Penthouse Forum. An entirely different approach with a very different audience. I don't think gender has anything to do with it if you keep in mind that women prefer love scenes to be emotional as well as physical. We're looking for the hearts to touch too.

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  5. Hi Tara,

    I agree with your ideas. I write them taking care of the emotional aspect as the most important element. I have two manuscripts without a direct scene (and three with).

    Bob

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