You know how sometimes, you just aren’t in the mood for romance?
Yeah, me neither.
But I’ll admit there have been moments I’m not in the right zone to write love scenes. Since that’s a big part of what I do as a romance author – and since deadlines often force me to get in the mood RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT! – it can be a challenge to produce the desired results under less-than-ideal circumstances.
So what’s a struggling romance author to do?
Provoke your senses
We read it all the time in women’s magazines – the key to stimulating the libido is stimulating the senses. It’s not much different when it comes to prepping for love scenes. Is there a fragrance that tends to put you in the right mindset? I keep an array of candles in my office and try to pick the scent that’s likely to get me in the right mode for a certain scene. Ditto that for scented lotions and perfumes. Music? Check. I make iTunes playlists that tend to trigger certain moods.
Even what I’m wearing can have an impact on my writerly mojo. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve found myself churning out ho-hum dialogue and looked down to realize I’m dressed like a colorblind, homeless yoga instructor. That’s usually enough to send me marching upstairs to don something with a little more sex appeal. That doesn’t mean I sit here writing in stilettos and a sequined bustier, but if you’d wandered into my office yesterday afternoon, you would have found me in a short skirt and cute top. Hey, whatever works.
Learn your triggers
A lot of people believe romance authors work in a perpetual state of sexual arousal. OK, sometimes that’s true. But I’ve discovered there’s not necessarily a direct correlation between my mood and the tone of the scene. Many of my sexiest love scenes have been written when I’m in a more melancholy frame of mind. If there’s a thunderstorm outside, even better.
While I don’t necessarily need to be in a flirty mood to produce a playful love scene, I’ve learned never to attempt one when I’m angry. There’s something decidedly unsexy about two naked people bitching at each other as a form of foreplay.
Find a fluffer
Raise your hand if you know the term “fluffer.” For those of you less familiar with the pornographic arts, a fluffer is a hired member of an adult film crew whose job it is to sexually arouse the male performers prior to filming.
I’ll pause for a moment so you can go scrub your brain with sandpaper (or for those of you intrigued by the idea, so you can go google the phrase “fluffer job opportunities.”)
In all seriousness, there’s a lot to be said for this concept. Is there a scene in your favorite book or movie that leaves you feeling warm and tingly? Take advantage of that when you need it. Is there a person in your life who produces the same result with flirty words or a smoldering look? Put yourself in that person’s proximity when the need arises. Find a source you know consistently leaves you squirming, and keep that source handy for when you need to flip the switch.
With a little imagination, you can extend most of these tips to apply to just about any sort of scene you might need to write. Bottom line, it’s worth knowing what sort of mood you need to have to create the tone you’re aiming for. Once you’ve nailed that down, figure out what it takes to get yourself there.
How do you set the mood for specific types of writing? Please share!
And please let me know what you learn about those fluffer job openings. Hypothetically, of course.