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Thread: Too Old To Write Sex Scenes?

  1. #1
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Too Old To Write Sex Scenes?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1380393/The-end-bonkbuster-Jilly-Cooper-74-old-write-sex-scenes.html

    Jilly Cooper fans will be disappointed to discover the author is thinking of abandoning her racy novels in favour of 'good, proper' writing.


    Oh dear . . .


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  2. #2
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    I like the term "bonkbuster." Very evocative.

    Maybe she'd define "good, proper" writing as writing that can have sex, but doesn't have to?
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  3. #3
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    I like the term "bonkbuster." Very evocative.

    Maybe she'd define "good, proper" writing as writing that can have sex, but doesn't have to?
    I hope so, otherwise that is a very unfortunate comment.
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  4. #4
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    Authors have many reasons for changing the emphasis of their writing careers, and she should be given a full pass for admitting writing sex scenes just doesn't do it for her anymore (= they are difficult for her to write). This marks a change in her writing career that may not be well-accepted by some of her readers. It may even decrease her future sales. But she is entitled to write what she wants to write. Although several jokes have come to mind concerning sex and the elderly, I have to give her kudos for being upfront about her writing and about her personal life. Anyone who thinks personal challenges, including aging, don't impact one's writing should hold his/her breath and hope no major personal disasters are waiting around the corner.

    And about that one comment, I would like to have seen her expression when she said it, and how her surrounding comments put it into her intended context. It comes off as stark in the isolated quote, which I agree, is unfortunate.
    Last edited by NeuroFizz; 04-25-2011 at 09:31 PM.
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  5. #5
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    The original article:

    When you get older you suddenly realise you don't have long left. You've got to get going. I've always wanted to read all the books in the world but I won't ever be able to. It's frightening because I've always thought I'm going to live for ever, and I'm not. I'd like to write a good book, a proper good book. My mother always admired Margaret Drabble…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011...ay?INTCMP=SRCH
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  6. #6
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    I agree it's unfortunate because some may take the wrong message (in my mind). Here is the follow-up to the last quote, which puts it in context for me:

    Do you think you're a good writer?
    No, I think I'm a reasonable writer. Although Alan Clark [the diarist and former Tory MP] once said I wrote like an angel, the sweetheart, but I'm much too colloquial.

    So maybe a proper good book is less colloquial, not just less "sexy"? I may be a bit lenient here because I feel for her and the way she talks about the changes in her writing. I'm not a fan. I'm just getting long in the tooth myself.
    Last edited by NeuroFizz; 04-25-2011 at 10:11 PM.
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Official AW W1S1 Badge Wrangler Lillie's Avatar
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    I'm too married to write sex scenes.

    Every time I try there is always a sharp knife in there somewhere. Or a cup of tea.


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    practical experience, FTW Son0fgrim's Avatar
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    I find sex scene are almost always a rather odd De-tore from the story itself, it doesn't really add anything in or move the plot forward. in some cases they can be appropriate, but unless you've been building to this point, it's just kind of a pointless narrative. That said, no you are never to old for a sex scene. just use your imagination.
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  9. #9
    The Surreal Thing AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Of those whose age I know, I think I'm the oldest here, and maybe the married-est, too. Still, I have no problem writing sex scenes. But if I no longer wanted to, I'd just stop. As the Fizz said, the author can write whatever she likes and doesn't owe anyone more of the same if it's no longer what interests her.

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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Watching the awards ceremony at EPIC made it clear to me that most of the winners in the erotica categories had white hair, or very little hair, or a walking stick. I can only assume being older helps with erotic writing based on that.

    Nothing wrong with changing genres, but the implication that her former books are "improper" is unfortunate.

  11. #11
    Angelic by name, fiendish by nature Reservoir Angel's Avatar
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    Surely the older you get the more experience of sex you've had so the better you'd be at writing erotic scenes?

    Me, personally...I find you're never too old for a good bit of erotica.
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  12. #12
    The Anti-Magdalene KellyAssauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son0fgrim View Post
    I find sex scene are almost always a rather odd De-tore from the story itself, it doesn't really add anything in or move the plot forward. in some cases they can be appropriate, but unless you've been building to this point, it's just kind of a pointless narrative.
    ^ This. A thousand times this. Damn I wish I'd written that.
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    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Now that's just silly, although I'm (not quite) 74. I can't imagine stopping writing erotica and novels with sex scenes in them.

    What's the point of writing without smut?

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  14. #14
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeuroFizz View Post

    Do you think you're a good writer?
    No, I think I'm a reasonable writer. Although Alan Clark [the diarist and former Tory MP] once said I wrote like an angel, the sweetheart, but I'm much too colloquial.
    She sounds a little like a literary snob trying not to be a snob.
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  15. #15
    Fantastic! zegota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerousbill View Post
    What's the point of life without smut?
    Fixed that for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by dangerousbill View Post
    But she's the captain of her soul and the master of her fate.
    ...The master of her domain, so to speak?
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    Looking after your husband with Parkinson's must be very difficult, especially if you've just had a stroke yourself. I imagine it really would put a dampener not just on your ability to write, but to come up with anything new or fresh - 39 books she's already pumped (haha) out!

    Just a thought: How hot and heavy can scenes be in serious fiction? Can hardcore shag scenes belong in 'proper' novels? Does everything have to be romantic and loving, even if it really isn't character appropriate? Is this a topic for another thread altogether? ... Sorry, I'm procrastinating.

  17. #17
    resident curmudgeon
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    I read an awful lot of popular novels, but it's been at least twenty years since I've read one that had anything I'd call an onstage sex scene in it. Can't say I've missed a thing.

  18. #18
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Having read that article, I get the impression that Cooper feels that she's never really lived up to other people's expectations of her. I thought the comment about her mother was most telling.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerousbill View Post
    She sounds a little like a literary snob trying not to be a snob.
    I think she sounds like a person who writes successful commercial fiction which follows a certain reliable formula but who wants to write something more literary. After thirty nine novels I imagine she fancies a change: her usual stuff is fairly improper : )
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  20. #20
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timewaster View Post
    I think she sounds like a person who writes successful commercial fiction which follows a certain reliable formula but who wants to write something more literary. After thirty nine novels I imagine she fancies a change: her usual stuff is fairly improper : )
    Why, is there something wrong with writing successful commercial fiction? It does have a hint of snobbery in there.

    She doesn't write the kind of books I like to read anyway, but if I had been her I would have just written and published. Under a pen name of course, I don't see the critics taking a literary book under her name seriously.

    I understand the struggle between writing and being a carer. Personally, I would sacrifice writing first. There are some things in life more important than books.
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  21. #21
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    I just don't get why some people, mostly critics, seem to think that only literary books are 'real' books, and that commercial fiction success isn't as good as literary success.

    I've heard writers say it sometimes too. It's sad. A good book is a good book.
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  22. #22
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaldna View Post
    I just don't get why some people, mostly critics, seem to think that only literary books are 'real' books, and that commercial fiction success isn't as good as literary success.

    I've heard writers say it sometimes too. It's sad. A good book is a good book.
    Definitely, and this is exactly the vibe that I'm getting from this interview. It's as though she is saying she hasn't fulfilled her potential because she wrote romance rather than literary.

    I love both, but I've made a conscious decision towards crime/historical fiction. I would rather people say 'that was a great book' than 'oh, that works on so many levels.'
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  23. #23
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerousbill View Post
    What's the point of writing without smut?
    .
    I do hope that's a joke/irony/sarcasm!

    Quote Originally Posted by gothicangel View Post

    I understand the struggle between writing and being a carer. Personally, I would sacrifice writing first. There are some things in life more important than books.
    Exactly. But as a carer and a writer, I've somehow managed to do both, and I think my best writing and best book came after the time I had to knuckle down and be there for someone else.

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  24. #24
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruna View Post
    Exactly. But as a carer and a writer, I've somehow managed to do both, and I think my best writing and best book came after the time I had to knuckle down and be there for someone else.
    It's all about prioritising. If she is finding being a carer is tiring her out, she may find that the writing has to go on the back burner. I'm not saying that she can't do both, the question is does she want to?
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  25. #25
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gothicangel View Post
    It's all about prioritising. If she is finding being a carer is tiring her out, she may find that the writing has to go on the back burner. I'm not saying that she can't do both, the question is does she want to?
    Oh, I wasn't critisizing her at all. I completely understand; especially since she's had this great career and can afford to slow down on the writing! The only reason I continue in spite of the demands as a carer is because of need. If I was already a best-selling novelist I (probably!) wouldn't write a word more, trust me! At that age and with that success anyone can choose to change direction or stop completely and it's a bit presumptios for anyone else to tell her not to.

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