Historical Fictionistas discussion

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Goodreads Author Zone > Do you ever feel stupid writing sex scenes?

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message 1: by J. (new)

J. Gleason (joegleason) | 43 comments Not unlike Christopher's discussion of historical profanity, I wondered if anyone else found writing sex scenes as frustrating as I do. I feel like all the words we have for sex at our disposal have so much baggage. They're either too clinical (how do you make "penis" or "vagina" lyrical?) or they're the stuff of bodice rippers ("burgeoning manhood," "nether lips" etc). I posted a more complete blog on the subject here: http://www.sunnichild.com/virgin-terr...

Just wondered if anyone else had the same issue?


message 2: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3387 comments Mod
Moving this to the author's zone folder, since it's geared toward other writers.


message 3: by Steven (last edited Nov 19, 2013 12:15PM) (new)

Steven Malone | 139 comments Lol! Thinking about it, I find I too often feel more stupid having intimate relations more than writing them ;o)

I look to Shakespeare and Chaucer for euphemisms that can work for older stuff. Dewey Lambdin's nautical fiction, somewhat racy, can supply some terms from the Napoleonic era. 'Seems like there used to be a collection of 19th cent. 'porn' called 'Pearl', I think, that might help as might the Marquis de Sade for other eras.

I often look to Slang and Euphemism also.

Hope this might help.

P.S. I liked your post and the advice Ms. Dimmick gave.


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments In my medieval novels I always fade to black. That way I don't have to wrestle with trying to describe it in medieval terms :).

Lisa


message 5: by Leonide (new)

Leonide Martin | 87 comments I'm finding that subtle approaches are better. Hinting at what is to occur or is occurring spurs the reader's imagination. Getting too descriptive is both a language challenge and may be less evocative than poetic suggestions and metaphors.


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Leonide -

Part of it too is about what the reader wants. Some readers don't want to read about it at all even in the slightest. Other readers enjoy and seek out the juicy details :). But luckily there are enough readers in all categories that no matter what a writer wants to write, there should be a body of readers out there interested in reading that style.

Lisa


message 7: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 112 comments The sex scenes in my two published books involve gay men. I tend to the fade (albeit slowly) to black school of writing. Because of the sexuality of the protagonists, the books appear as LGBT novels and (according to some critical comments I've had) many readers expect these to be more explicit. I'm not really comfortable with that, whether gay or straight. Different markets definitely expect different amounts of detail.


message 8: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2231 comments Tom wrote: "The sex scenes in my two published books involve gay men. I tend to the fade (albeit slowly) to black school of writing. Because of the sexuality of the protagonists, the books appear as LGBT novel..."

That is interesting. How is your book categorized on the shelves? As solely LGBT or as historical?

The only HF book I've read (that I can recall off the top of my head) that had a m/m love relationship was The Song of Achilles. However, I don't remember the love scenes being explicit. There was plenty of interaction between the characters though that made their relationship lovely and so explicit detail really wasn't needed to show their love for each other.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

My latest book was just accepted by a publisher. However, they said they do not allow graphic sex scenes in their books so I took them out. Beleive it or not the book reads much better with "fade to black" as one commentor said.

Richard Brawer


message 10: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 112 comments I'm showing my ignorance here. (Helpful comments would be appreciated.) I haven't classified the shelf but it should go on but users seem divided between "gay" and "historical" with several people shelving it as some combination of the two. I think I do suffer from not sitting comfortably in either genre. As you say, historical novels don't seem to feature gay people very much. (Mary Renault is a fairly obvious exception, but that was a while ago.) Nan Hawthorne wrote a lovely review of 'Cawnpore' for GLBT Bookshelf (you can see it here on Goodreads)discussing this point. Cawnpore by Tom Williams


message 11: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments Richard wrote: "My latest book was just accepted by a publisher. However, they said they do not allow graphic sex scenes in their books so I took them out. Beleive it or not the book reads much better with "fade t..."

Congratulations on finding a publisher!


message 12: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments Tom wrote: "I'm showing my ignorance here. (Helpful comments would be appreciated.) I haven't classified the shelf but it should go on but users seem divided between "gay" and "historical" with several people ..."

Interesting problem. You might put in both, but I would make sure it is clear about the m/m relations. Someone who doesn't realize what they are getting could rate the book poorly if they are unhappy with that.


message 13: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2231 comments Tom, I meant more like what you classify your book on bookselling sites. I think if you just label it as LGBT you'll miss out on an audience.

I am surprised that readers would want more explicit detail. However, maybe developing your character relationships more and adding some extra sexual tension can give you a pass. A lot of historical readers I know don't like explicit sex scenes, but they don't mind reading about the foreplay action.


message 14: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 26 comments Such a great thread! I had an agent tell me my book wouldn't sell unless I added more, explicit sex scenes and I just couldn't do it!. It eventually sold anyway. So, again, I think it just depends on the imprint/editor. It is funny how the most awful adjectives (throbbing!) are the only ones that come to mind when I try to write these scenes!

Tom, I'm a straight, married woman who loves Mary Renault and Sarah Waters (her first books were very much lesbian love stories but now she's categorized mostly as a HF writer). I do believe that as long as a book is well written, it can branch out to a wider audience.


message 15: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Such a great thread! I had an agent tell me my book wouldn't sell unless I added more, explicit sex scenes and I just couldn't do it!. It eventually sold anyway. So, again, I think it just depends..."

I would agree - the writing is key. I've read some well researched but badly written books, and some badly researched books that were well written. A well written book will always get a better rating from me than a poorly written one does. Assuming I can manage to finish the badly written one!


message 16: by Y. (new)

Y. MIROIR | 13 comments Leonide wrote: "I'm finding that subtle approaches are better. Hinting at what is to occur or is occurring spurs the reader's imagination. Getting too descriptive is both a language challenge and may be less evoca..."

I agree with you. I write historical graphic novels but never ever have I drawn explicit scene. I use other objects as suggestive.


message 17: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Garlock (kathykg) When you break it down, sex is a very funny function. The soft porn of the 1970's was hysterical: 'His hardness pierced her softness.' Seriously. That's a real quote.

Personally, I don't write sex. I used to like to read it, but not anymore. I find it embarrassing, and strangely enough, boring. Which is not any kind of judgement on anyone who does enjoy reading it. It's just me. And since I don't like to read it, it goes without saying that I don't do well writing it. Writing about the mechanics of sex makes me giggle. When it's happening in real life it's sublime and primal, oddly both at the same time. And yet on paper...it's his hardness piercing her softness. Such a puzzlement. :)


message 18: by Y. (last edited Nov 22, 2013 10:06PM) (new)

Y. MIROIR | 13 comments Kathleen wrote: "When you break it down, sex is a very funny function. The soft porn of the 1970's was hysterical: 'His hardness pierced her softness.' Seriously. That's a real quote.

Personally, I don't write se..."


I feel the same way. Probably because there is no element of surprise in those intimate scenes. We know how it ends.


message 19: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments "I am surprised that readers would want more explicit detail."

Jackie - There are vast numbers of readers who adore explicit detail. They actively want to read them. I imagine for the same reason that people ride rollercoasters. They like that adrenaline coursing through their body.

There are others who enjoy a peaceful kayaking trip, and that is fine too.

That's why it's great that Amazon has over 12.5 *million* books in its listing. Sure some are probably duplicates, but that's still a vast number. I would have to believe that no matter what niche interest someone has, there's probably a book in there about that interest.

In any case, there's a lot of people who prefer quiet non-explicit stories, and there's also a lot of people who actively seek out the racy stuff, to get their heart racing.

Lisa


message 20: by Y. (new)

Y. MIROIR | 13 comments Lisa wrote: ""I am surprised that readers would want more explicit detail."

Jackie - There are vast numbers of readers who adore explicit detail. They actively want to read them. I imagine for the same reason ..."


You are so insightful. Rollercoaster...I never saw it like that. We know it will land at the same place where it started, but still enjoy the thrill of the ride. I see. I may have to work on it in future though I cannot bring myself to draw explicitly at this moment in my graphic novels. The very thought petrifies me. It'll kill my parents.

Regards,
Mirror Miroir


message 21: by J. (new)

J. Gleason (joegleason) | 43 comments Mirror wrote: "Lisa wrote: ""I am surprised that readers would want more explicit detail."

Jackie - There are vast numbers of readers who adore explicit detail. They actively want to read them. I imagine for the..."


Mirror how odd you bring up what your parents will think. That was the second question I asked on this subject (different post). "What do your kids say about the sex scenes in your novel?" I never thought twice about including sex scenes in my novel, Anvil of God. They were a necessary part of the story. But I didn't think through how my kids would react to them once the book was published. I explore it more here: http://www.sunnichild.com/blog/


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Mirror -

That's what pseudonyms are for. Simply write it under a different name. They never have to know.

In the end, though, I feel it's good to be honest about what we enjoy. My parents read my racy novels to help me proof them. Sure, it's not what they normally enjoy, but they wouldn't think less of me just because I have different interests than they do.

If you do have family members who would judge you like that, then that's a shame, but simply don't involve them. Use a pseudonym and keep it separate from them. In the end you can't change other people.

Of course this all assumes it's something you want to do. Again, if you don't like racy stuff, that's OK. There's a big audience who will read your works. But if you DO like racy stuff, the audience for it is massive, and there's no reason not to reach them.

Lisa


message 23: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments J. -

The same could be said for stories involving drug use or alcohol use or so on. Kids are only kids for a short period of time. Your stories are eternal. I think it's important to write stories that are true to your inner vision, and not worry about short-term family member issues. A family that truly loves you will support your desire to share your own stories in your own way.

I apologize, but I don't follow external promotional links. It makes the conversation too convoluted. If there was an important point from the blog post, I think it's more ethical to post it here for us to read here.

Lisa


message 24: by Christine (new)

Christine Malec | 169 comments Mirror wrote: "Kathleen wrote: "When you break it down, sex is a very funny function. The soft porn of the 1970's was hysterical: 'His hardness pierced her softness.' Seriously. That's a real quote.

Personally,..."

That's an interesting way to put it. It makes me think of a good song/piece of music. It's usually pretty clear how that will end too, but if it's well executed, the feelings it evokes transcend plot or outcome. It goes without saying that it's a matter of personal taste, but for me, wondering about how people in other times experienced sexuality ended up being one of the kernels around which my novel grew, so writing sex scenes sort of came naturally/easily. It's also a truism that lots of people love reading about sex. Before I published my novel, I posted the sex scenes on an erotic literature website. This site is free, and if one measure of success is how many people view/read your work, as an author it's a heady feeling to see that your stories get 10s of thousands of views/reads. I don't think this would be true of writing on any other topic.


message 25: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2231 comments Lisa wrote: ""I am surprised that readers would want more explicit detail."

Jackie - There are vast numbers of readers who adore explicit detail. They actively want to read them. I imagine for the same reason ..."


My post was directed at Tom's post, but I suppose I should have specified "HF readers". Most HF readers I know do not like explicit sex scenes.

I'm actually a smut reader, so I do know "about actively wanting to read them" or seeking that rollercoaster ride, as you put it. :)


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Stewart (goodreadercomIanStewart) | 106 comments Great comments by all in this thread!

I think sex scenes only work if they feel integral to the story. And are well written - which is very hard to do!

I have generally tended to avoid explicit descriptions of the sex act. I like to think of myself as a story-teller and hope I can attract readers by the stories I tell without having to include steamy scenes of copulation!

However, in a book I wrote some years ago ( and was published in hard cover) I included a foreplay scene intended to emphasize the lust of the chief protagonist and the reciprocated ardor of the woman he desires, which is the catalyst for the dramatic events that follow.

But one reviewer was so put off by this short sequence, which she belittled as the “obligatory” sex scene, that it overshadowed her positive comments.

So when I recently republished it as an Amazon eBook, I rewrote the sequence, excising the sentences which I assumed had been a distraction for the reviewer. Interestingly, I am more comfortable with it in its revised form. (And a reviewer has given the eBook a five-star rating!)

But you can’t get away from sex! The book on which I am currently working will have the word “Lust” in its title. But the context is entirely different from the earlier work.


message 27: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Ian -

Ah but it's interesting you chose to say that you want stories that don't "have to include steamy scenes" to attract readers. For some readers that would drive them away! Sex isn't a magic bullet. It's simply a topic. Some readers adore that topic and others don't. It's important to mention in the marketing. If you "surprise" readers with it, you'll upset the ones who don't want it.

It could also be that by removing it, you'll lose out on the swath of readers who enjoy reading about sex.

So it's a balancing act. It depends on which readers you want to attract with a given story. If this one is to be a 'tame' book I'd somehow mention that in the marketing so you actively draw in the readers who are looking for that.

And for the Lust book, assuming it's going to have explicit language, I'd put one of those "intended for 17+ / adult situations" sentences at the bottom of the blurb. That way people aren't surprised by the content and you draw in your target readers.

Lisa


message 28: by Kate (last edited Nov 24, 2013 07:12AM) (new)

Kate Quinn | 544 comments For historical fiction, I'd say it can be hard to get away from sex. How much female-directed HF is about queens and princesses and ladies - and for such women, that all-important wedding night and what happens there, and how soon they can have children/heirs, is not just a detail but their integral function for existing. It's going to be a very important scene in the book, consequently - it's just a matter of how much detail the author decides to offer.

As a general trend, most male-direct HF tends to be lighter on the sex. Both Bernard COrnwell and Ben Kane have said they do feel dumb writing sex scenes, so when their heroes have sex, it's all very much off-screen. Female directed HF tends to have a few more details, but then again, as I said above, it was often the JOB of historical women to have sex/provide children.


message 29: by J. (new)

J. Gleason (joegleason) | 43 comments Great insight about women's roles back then, Kate. I hadn't thought of it that way. You also have to consider the whole "men sharing feelings" thing in the men v. women directed HF.


message 30: by Y. (new)

Y. MIROIR | 13 comments J. wrote: "Mirror wrote: "Lisa wrote: ""I am surprised that readers would want more explicit detail."

Jackie - There are vast numbers of readers who adore explicit detail. They actively want to read them. I ..."


Children may be all right with it. They will probably avoid talking about it because I for one, cannot picture my parents in that situation.


message 31: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Mirror -

I've never had an issue thinking about my parents having sex. I guess, to me, sex is a normal biologic function that most couples are drawn to doing. It's like eating and sleeping. It would be odd, to me, if my parents *didn't* want to have sex.

Lisa


message 32: by Ian (new)

Ian Stewart (goodreadercomIanStewart) | 106 comments Lisa wrote: "Ian -

Ah but it's interesting you chose to say that you want stories that don't "have to include steamy scenes" to attract readers. For some readers that would drive them away! Sex isn't a magic b..."


Thanks, Lisa, for your suggestion but I am not into rating my own books sex-wise (except as required by sites hosting Kindle freebies). I leave that to reviewers and readers (by word of mouth).

And I don’t target any particular kind of reader. If you like action, adventure, history and political intrigue, seasoned with a little romance, then you may be attracted to my books. The blurbs provide an idea of the content – and with a Kindle eBook you can read several chapters by going to the Amazon site and clicking on the cover.

But, hey, the lust in the title of my new book may just attract a new readership! :-)


message 33: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Ian -

I probably didn't phrase my message clearly enough. It's not that you write a book with a target to "attack" - but the book, as you write it, is best suited for a certain audience. If your book has explicit sex in chapter 4 and you never warn people about it in your marketing material, then that's being a bit unfair to your audience. They can't see that on Amazon. They can't flip through every single page like they could in a bookstore. They can only see the first chapter. So it's your duty as the author to make clear that that is in there in your marketing material.

Otherwise it's like a food maker having peanuts in the middle of a food, hidden, and not mentioning that on the label. To many people that sort of thing matters immensely.

It's not the duty of other reviewers to do that type of disclaimer for the author. It's the author's duty.

For my latest ebook, the Kindle preview doesn't even show the entire first chapter.

Lisa


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian Stewart (goodreadercomIanStewart) | 106 comments Duty? Seriously? Wow!

Reminds me of my Boy Scout days when we pledged to "do our duty to God and The King, to help other people at all times and obey the Scout Law".


message 35: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 112 comments Eileen: sorry for the delay in replying.

It's quite irritating that I have to classify myself as historical or "gay" or even (though I completely understand your point) "warn" people that it has an m/m relationship in it. 'The White Rajah' was deliberately written with the protagonist unaware of his predilections until well into the book. One Goodreads reviewer said how much she liked this, but, of course, most people won't be taken at all by surprise because of the way that we have to present stuff. Another reviewer wrote a very long review saying how nice it was to read a novel about a historical character who was gay without it being a "gay novel".

I hate genres. :(


message 36: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 112 comments Jackie: also apologies for leaving this till after the weekend. I'll message you.


message 37: by Tom (last edited Nov 25, 2013 09:42AM) (new)

Tom Williams | 112 comments Jackie: have just discovered you are not accepting messages, so I'll post here. Apologies to everyone who finds this completely boring.

My books are published by JMS Books, who specialise in GLBT stuff. 'The White Rajah' was briefly agented, but the agent gave up after four leading publishers sent sympathetic letters saying that they liked it but it was "difficult" for a first novel. I'm sure this wasn't just the gay relationship, but that certainly wasn't helping, so I went to an independent publisher who would not be put off by it. This does mean that I am now lumbered with being presented as writing for gay people. Whilst some gay people have been really kind about both books, there's no doubt that many people turn to gay novels for a particular approach to the mechanics of sex, which isn't where I am at. Hilariously, many m/m novels are written by women and one author has explained to me how she has had to spend many hours watching gay porn in order to get the mechanics of her bedroom scenes just right.

The problem is that, while I have gay readers who are unhappy not to see more explicit sex, I am sure that many people who might be interested in my books as historical fiction would find the idea that they have any gay sex at all quite disturbing. I reconciled myself ages ago to the fact that neither of these books were ever going to be commercial successes and I am now desperately trying to sell a more straightforward novel with a decidedly heterosexual hero.

I have left all the marketing to JMS, which, again, means something of an emphasis on the gay element, but it does seem to be listed as historical as well.

Like many people who have got as far as actually getting the book into print, I have found myself overwhelmed with the whole marketing thing and I'm happy to accept any advice that anybody offers. If you have any ideas about what I should be doing, I would be very grateful to hear them.


message 38: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments Tom wrote: "Eileen: sorry for the delay in replying.

It's quite irritating that I have to classify myself as historical or "gay" or even (though I completely understand your point) "warn" people that it has ..."


Genres can be limiting but people use them as a way to find books they know they will find interesting. It is a way for an author to find an audience. Diana Gabaldon's Lord John series is about a gay man, and even includes a graphic sex scene or two, but they have not been anywhere near as popular as her Outlander main books (Lord John is a character in the Outlander books).


message 39: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 112 comments Eileen, yes, that's why we have to write in genres and market in genres. I understand the need, but I don't like it.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

I couldn't write a sex scene. I don't like reading them. I don't belong here because I am not an author but this thread keeps showing up. :)


message 41: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 544 comments The dumbest I ever felt writing a sex scene was when I was trying to write one at about fifteen, and I was trying to write it realistically before I'd had any. :D

Nowadays I don't feel dumb writing them, they do take a while. I can write 3,000 words on a good day, but a 300 word scene with non-specific love-making will take the whole day by itself.


message 42: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Eileen -

You bring up an awesome point, and this is a topic I discuss frequently in my writing group.

Genres are helpful in many ways. If a person adores cozy mysteries and they want to find a new one, then having a "category" to look in is quite helpful. If they are petrified of horror stories, for example, then it's important to them that they find a book that is cozy but not horror-filled. To start reading a book and then, four chapters in, encounter something quite horrific could upset them greatly.

I absolutely agree that "pigeon-holing" a book is a shame. Books shouldn't have to be "exactly square" or "exactly round". That being said, I do feel an author has an important duty (and yes, I feel the word duty applies :) ) to inform the audience what is coming. If a person is very much against sex and it just appears part-way through the book, the person has now wasted their valuable time and money.

Some of us might scoff that an hour or two is meaningful - but for some people it is. If this is an emergency room nurse who barely gets an hour a week to herself, then she deserves to spend that time exactly the way that best helps her relax. We as authors should strive to do our very best to work with our audience. We have an awesome responsibility and also an incredible amount of direct-mental-access and trust with our readers.

I'm sure some readers are sitting around bored and don't care if they spend hours on drivel they'll forget the following week. But not all readers are like that. There are the readers that have precious few minutes to invest, and who make a soul-deep connection with a story. We should write - and market - with those readers in mind. We should take seriously the trust they invest in us.

So in terms of genre, I've always been in favor of a "shades of grey" approach. A book isn't just a cozy mystery. It's 80% cozy, with 10% romance, with 5% horses and 5% northwest Arizona. If we had that kind of a breakdown of books then people could easily track down the books they adore out of the 2.5 **million** books in Amazon's library. They could ensure their time is spent in a way that best helps their path in life, and their money is equally best spent. To me that would be the ideal world. I think readers deserve that.

Lisa


message 43: by Eileen (last edited Nov 25, 2013 06:52PM) (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments Lisa wrote: "Eileen -

You bring up an awesome point, and this is a topic I discuss frequently in my writing group.

Genres are helpful in many ways. If a person adores cozy mysteries and they want to find a n..."


Lisa- you make many good points. And pigeon-holing a book can be unfortunate for the reader. For example, I listen to audio books all the time due to having a day job that is at least an hour commute each way (this evening it was 2). The local public library knows many customers have this same issue, so they have a great selection of books. Even so, there have been a few occasions when I could not find anything and picked up a book that seemed less boring than the other available options. One of them was John Julius Norwich's A Short History of Byzantium which began my obsession with the Byzantines. The other was Diana Gabaldon's Outlander which I had disdained since it mixed time travel with historical fiction. I was a bit of a purist with my genres then. Sometimes we have to be dragged kicking and screaming into something new, and then find out we love it.

But you are right - we don't all have the time to get half way through a book, only to discover something objectionable. Sex, violence and profanity stand as the big three of objectionable materials, and writers should be aware of that. Making readers aware of graphic language or descriptions in a book could head off a negative review.


message 44: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments Eileen -

Exactly. One probably does't have to mention "character loves to drink coffee". That won't be a make-or-break for most readers. But working in "character struggles with an intense heroin addiction" into the marketing material is probably more important. It's not that it's a warning as much as it's a heads-up about something which could be a trigger for people.

For example, some women (and rightfully so) are very sensitive to any description of rape. They've had to endure rape and a description of it can upset them immensely. So if a rape scene is described in a book, I think it's important for the marketing material to allude to it. Again not in a "warning" way but in a "this is what to expect in what you're about to invest in" way. Some people won't care. Some people will. The author should present the critical information for the reader to make that informed decision.

It's not even that it might just cause some people to "lose" the time and money they've invested. For some people these types of triggers can be much more upsetting and cause an emotional state change. I suppose I feel quite strongly about the responsibility an author has to those who entrust their emotions to a story.

Lisa


message 45: by Mary (last edited Nov 26, 2013 03:21PM) (new)

Mary Woldering Mary R. WolderingChildren of Stone: Voices in Crystal

I didn't mention sex scenes in my description on the back cover because I consider them "love" scenes. They aren't that explicit and they aren't fade to black either. I leave some of the graphic details up to the imagination. I never struggled with the writing part, but I did struggle with the presentation on two levels.

The first point was: "How was sex (of all sorts) viewed or treated in the time period I chose?" After doing quite a bit of research I felt quite confident in writing the scenes. I made the first scene funny and miraculous in parts, the second scene cathartic for both characters.

As for the names of body parts involved, I let the characters name them something not too out of character for the time period. A man is going to "show her his boat" as opposed to "taking her to his room to show her his etchings."

The second point was the so-called "rating" I spoke to one critic who said my book should be marketed as an "adult" book because of the sensualism that's woven throughout the book. Ancient Sumerians and Egyptians were a sensual lot - Ahem! It's a Historical fantasy.

Another advisor said the book should be YA, because labeling something 18+ or adult meant PORN. I don't write porn, just steamy and suggestive.

The resolution was to start the novel out with a hymn to A fertility goddess, and an early statement that the hero sang to her because he was impotent and thought she could cure him.

People have asked if the book is suitable for a 14 year old. How do you say "Depends on the 14 year Old?

I've answered it's for Mature teen & Up. I hope that works.
-Mary


message 46: by J. (new)

J. Gleason (joegleason) | 43 comments Mary wrote: "Mary R. WolderingChildren of Stone: Voices in Crystal

I didn't mention sex scenes in my description on the back cover because I consider them "love" scenes. They a..."


Mary, It sounds a lot like what I went through and a fun book at that. Anvil of God (my book) is definitely an adult book. I'm sure there are 14 year-olds out there who could handle it, but I don't want any responsibility for them.


message 47: by Christine (new)

Christine Malec | 169 comments Kate wrote: "The dumbest I ever felt writing a sex scene was when I was trying to write one at about fifteen, and I was trying to write it realistically before I'd had any. :D

Nowadays I don't feel dumb writin..."


Gosh, as long as I'm in the right mood, such scenes come really easily. In fact, I have way way more trouble writing about violence. This was a far greater hurdle in my novel writing. I feel like maybe the book should have had more somehow. I'm reading The Sunne in Splendour, and I'm struck continually by this paradox where Richard is a very sympathetic character: thoughtful, kind, loving etc., and he's also a renowned battle strategist, essentially a really good killer.


message 48: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 544 comments Now, battle scenes and fight scenes have always come easier for me - who knows why!


message 49: by K.C. (new)

K.C. Morgan (KCMorgan) | 1 comments I've always had trouble writing them! I keep thinking that one of my parents might read the finished book one day.


message 50: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Shea (lisashea) | 81 comments K.C. -

I imagine your parents have had sex :).

And I imagine they want you to have a healthy sex life, within whatever age / relationship norms they have.

One can't worry about that sort of thing when writing. A writer needs to write what they want to write.

Living in the shadow of your parents is not going to serve you well long term. You have to stretch your own wings and fly.

Lisa


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