Thursday, February 26, 2015

Veritable Quandary

Thursday is my usual day to work on the story I've been writing.  I was doing fairly well with this routine of edit and rewrite on Thursdays, post the next chapter on Fridays.


The BFF reads my stuff, then we discuss things in our weekly Sunday phone call.  Two weeks ago, she tells me that she likes the build-up of tension between the two main characters; they aren't just leaping into bed after two days of knowing each other.

Dead silence on my part.  She asks me what's wrong and I tell her the first big sex scene is coming in the next chapter.  She says it's too soon.  I say, "Would you turn down this guy if he was hot for you?" She laughs, says, "Hell no, but...Kate would."  And damn, she's right.  Kate might want him, but she's too wary and cautious.

I tell the BFF that if I remove the scene, I'll have to merge two chapters and somehow keep the narrative cohesive.  And I whinge a little because, wow, the sex between these two is just plain scorching and it fits in with where the story is going and I like it...lots.

But I listen to her, eventually agree...

And spend three days last week trying to cut and paste and move and rewrite to keep the story flowing so it doesn't seem chopped or senseless.  I finally post the newly revised chapter last Saturday and then wonder how to salvage the rest of the story.  This couple has to connect because their feelings drive the plot and if they don't care about each other, no one reading will give a crap what happens to them later on when shit hits the fan.  By late Saturday afternoon, I decide to give my brain a rest and put all thoughts of the plot aside until next week.

Which is now.

This morning I realize, while looking over the next few chapters, that they're totally wrapped around the ones I altered last week--there are conversations that now don't make sense, touchy-feely moments after obvious intimacy.  Now I'm having serious regrets about changing the plot, but have to forge on and somehow figure out a way to get these two together that doesn't come off as contrived or gratuitous. And damn, it was so right the way I wrote it the first time...buggers.

Then, as if I wasn't already sinking into the abyss, I talked to my mother...

Mom:  "Hey, I love your story."
Me:  "What? You're reading it?
Mom:  "Yes, it's really good."
Me:  "No, Mom!  You can't be reading it!  There's sex!"
Mom: "I'm pretty sure I know about sex." (She's laughing)
Me:  "No, Mom, seriously, you can't read the story!  There's like, real sex!  (I don't think she can hear me over her laughter)

So, now I have two issues:  One, writing steamy sex scenes while I imagine my mother reading them. And, having rearranged two chapters into something entirely different than expected, how do I get back on track with the original story line and make sense of the next chapter?

I've lost the plot.  In more ways than one...


  1. I remember when my mother read one of the drafts of my book, and her one complaint was there was so much cursing, which is kind of funny; sailors and teamsters were known to cross their legs and blush around my mother.

    1. Maybe when the "good stuff" starts, I can up a warning for that chapter so Mom won't read it. **sigh** Yeah, like that will work...

  2. I've never been shy about writing sex scenes (hussy that I am), but the first time my nice church lady mom read a story I wrote that included graphic content I warned her upfront and gave her the option to pass. She didn't, and after reading it she didn't complain. She's been a lifelong romance reader, though, and has read a couple of authors who write way more sex into their stories than I do.

    As for when/how soon characters should have sex, I go with when it feels right for them and serves the story versus deliberately timing it to happen at a particular point in the pages. That makes it feel more natural and realistic.

    1. Too bad I didn't just go with my gut: leave the plot alone!! The sexy stuff fit just where it was supposed to. Even though it might have seemed too soon, it wasn't for my two characters. Ah well...too late now.
      I told my Mom I would warn her when the sex started. I don't understand why she keeps laughing at me... ;D