Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not Quite Coming

Sex scenes.
Better just to blurt it out.

People who are comfortable writing sex scenes are full of great advice. I would normally quote a few here, but treat yourself and put some keywords into your preferred search engine and watch your screen turn purple. Lately, if I want to procrastinate (and who doesn't?) this is my diversion of choice.
It's the kind of thing that everyone has an opinion about, and that's been a paralysing prospect for me in relation to poor Edwina. Early on I knew that this year's Nanowrimo project had to have plenty of sex. After all, I wanted to write something fun, and what's more fun than sex? (Ok reading, sure, but really that's a given in the writing of something). Trouble being, I've never been able to write a convincing kiss scene let alone getting down to the business. It was the first scene of the story I imagined, but here we are at 15 300 words and *I'm just getting to it* - and sadly, very little of that is foreplay! Plainly, I've just been putting it off. I've worked Edwina up into a hot, horny state and just left her panting because suddenly, I felt shy.
That's right, in the privacy of my own mind, I've had performance anxiety. I couldn't make it happen. Between the page and I was an uncomfortable tension. I didn't want to make a wrong move, but couldn't figure out what the right move was. The page waited, the moment started to go stale, I paced, the page turned on the tv, I'd lost it again.
There's so many darn things going on! Hair?! How many hands?! Every move or broad strokes? Physics - how's who's on top staying there? And this is just the mechanics - the stuff that needs to make sense but needs to be utterly utterly invisible. I can understand now why actors laugh when asked about on-stage romance under the cameras for their sex scenes and say "it's tightly choreographed" (tightly!). At the same time that I have these two wire-frame bodies twisting and shifting in my mind trying to maneuver into a docking position, I need to be evenly describing and building the emotional state, the physical arousal, the pertinent mutterings and exclamations. That's a lot to juggle, but it's not everything.
Aside from this is the thought that other people are going to read it. Are they going to cringe? Laugh? Read passages out to their colleagues in the lunchroom, just skip ahead, nominate it for a bad sex in fiction award? Or, worst of all, ring my mum and complain to her? (people did after Trojan Moments - Grandad in particular apparently found some of the poems "... a bit blue. Off". Great. Just what I don't need to know and can never un-hear).

So, here we are, stuck at a frigid impasse. My characters are up for it - they're practically gagging for it. It's me, I'm the prude in the corner with the clammy hands and the self conscious attitude, and that's no fun at all, for anybody. I didn't have this problem with the murder scenes. Maybe I need to watch some more late-night SBS films, or just refresh my own docking proceedures.
Hold on Edwina - I'm coming!


Joel said...

This is so true! So difficult to pull off - but good on you for trying. And stick at it! It'll come. So to speak.

J9 said...

OMG, thank you for the words of encouragement (and for working in a double entendre)! I think next time I try I'll take myself out to dinner first, butter me up with some nice wine, and put on some make-out music....