There are some authors who dread writing love scenes. I am not one of them.
Big shocker, I know.
I seldom give them much thought beforehand, and when I do, I regard them like a good crème brûlée – something to anticipate near the end of a meal.
From the start of LET IT BREATHE, I knew I’d do something a bit different. I don’t mean that in the handcuffs-and-tub-of-mayonnaise way. Without giving too much away, I’ll say these characters have a history, and the final love scene isn’t their first. There’s some significance in how things unfold, a little more to it than, “we’ve overcome obstacles, and speaking of coming…”
That said, I don’t like assigning too much deep meaning to a love scene. It’s a pet peeve of mine as a reader. At the top of my list of things I could never write is a heroine who’s sexually naïve until the big, manly hero arrives and brings meaning to her life by showing her how to batter-dip the corndog. While many authors use that device and many readers enjoy it, it makes me want to scrub my brain with steel wool.
So now that I’ve yammered on for five paragraphs about the final love scene in LET IT BREATHE, I’ve illustrated the problem I had yesterday when I sat down to write it:
It’s been built up too much.
That’s a line from a well-known movie (can anyone name it?) and one Pythagoras and I quote whenever we’ve discussed something to the point that we no longer wish to do it.
I can’t be the first writer who’s stalled out on the brink of a climactic (snicker) scene, so maybe these tips will prove handy for others who’ll come (snicker) after me:
Set the mood. It’s crucial for all scenes, but for love scenes especially. I got lucky yesterday when Pandora.com kindly hit me over the head with a song that was the perfect vibe for the scene. I promptly downloaded it and set it to repeat.
Give yourself a deadline. Some writers don’t work as well under pressure, but I had to force myself into action yesterday. I saw a couple authors kicking off a #1k1hr on Twitter, and invited myself to join. At the end of my hour, I had 1,500 words and the motivation I needed to keep going for another hour.
Get lubed up. Though I’ve touted the benefits of occasionally sipping an adult beverage to get creative juices flowing, I don’t drink when I’m writing a love scene. I like to stay sharp so I don’t miss the little nuances and gestures important in a scene like that, but I made an exception yesterday and poured a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Like magic, I loosened right up.
I know when I open the document later this morning, it won’t be perfect. I have a sneaking suspicion I gave my hero three hands and the ability to lick the heroine’s neck from three feet away, but I did get words on the page. Editing is a lot easier than staring at a blank screen two days in a row.
So that’s how I got over the hump (snicker). What do you do? Have you encountered a situation where a scene has been built up too much? What do you do?