As a former reporter, I’ve always been capable of writing about anything. My assignments included just about every kind of sport, but I was also tasked with writing about how potato chips are made, the wonders of dairy farming, and archeological looting, to name a few. On top of that, I’ve written nine books.
Now, for the first time ever, I find myself stuck. The problem is…a love scene.
I’m not sure why I’m struggling. No one has ever labeled me a prude. (Stop giggling! I know who you are.) And still, every time I try to write the words, I get halfway through a sentence and stop.
Most of my novels have elements of romance, but that has never been the main theme. Scenes of that sort have always been mostly kiss and fade to black. But now I find myself needing a real love scene.
Because I was struggling, I contacted some of my author friends who specialize in romance and boy did they have a lot of suggestions.
“Refer to small things,” said author E. J. Lane. “(The) touch of their hands, he breathes in her hair, as he watches her drop her robe. She takes a quick breath in excitement at the expression on his face, as if he is seeing something precious.”
“I concentrate on feelings and emotions rather than continuation of the physical process,” said author Stella May. “All my love scenes were dictated by my lovebirds. The temperature of that ‘steam’ defined by the characters and their relationships. I just need to pay close attention, and find out if the whole scene will be more like a black-and-white sketch, or heavy on details (like an) oil painting, or a blurry surrealistic picture.”
You can probably guess I’m leaning toward blurry.
Author Tina Ruiz compared a love scene to a football game, a lovely analogy for me, since I spent forty years officiating the game.
“Remember when you were on the grass during a game? There were tensions between players while spectators cheered or booed,” she said. “This moves the story forward. A hand touches a breast and she doesn’t pull away, he scores a point. She leans her body closer to his, he scores another point. His breathing changes and she now knows that this is going to go all the way.”
I now want to cue Chris Berman. I know some of you are now thinking about all those sports/sex analogies. Get your head back in the game!
Author Eris Perese made me feel a bit better when she admitted that she also struggles with love scenes. “I don’t exactly pull the blinds when I write love scenes, but I do have trouble. You have to give yourself permission to feel hot love again to write it.”
Hot love. Got it!
“One might assume that they have each been in love with someone in their earlier years. It might have been glorious, embarrassing, hurtful, or even degrading,” Perese said. “And so the love scene now might be more encompassing: their dreams, values, hurts, and willingness to try again. But because of that past experience, they may be tentative at first and then able to enjoy the freedom of being in love. Close the drapes, put on some music, and let the power of love flow.”
Why do I hear Barry White singing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe?”
“My best advice is…action,” said author Vonnie Hughes. “Just don’t do a list of what they did, how they felt, what the room was like, etc. Some people like to write laundry lists, but I doubt the readers bother about all that. They want ACTION interpreted through emotion.”
Now, after all this advice, you’re probably wondering how my love scene turned out. I’m embarrassed to admit that I…um…skipped it. I wrote in big, red, capital letters Finish Later!
I’ll let you know how it goes.
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
February 2, 2022
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
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3 thoughts on “Stuck on a love scene! Romance writers to the rescue”
Love the advice! Hopefully, you’ll get the gist of writing love scenes, Anne. Even if your book isn’t destined to be a romance. Cheers, lover-girl!
Thanks, Sharon! I got some good advice, don’t you think? 😉
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Yes you did! Good luck with the revise! 😉
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