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Writing Jedi
05-14-2006, 06:34 PM
Okay, I don't think I worded that question properly but for the life of me I can't think of a better way right now. LOL.

Basically I guess I'm asking, would a reader feel too cheated if there is never a moment when the hero and heroine make love?

The problem is, the book is not entirely "sweet" because there IS sexual tension, and a build up of the physical relationship, but it never goes "there". It just doesn't fit into my vision of the characters that they would be at that stage just yet, but that is where I feel the book should end. I don't want to be a tease. LOL.

I sometimes feel as though I should either just lean the entire thing toward the erotic, or else eliminate a lot of the desire altogether so as not to build up the expectation.

Or is lots of flirtation and tension with no consummation okay?

Thanks for putting up with my rambling.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Susan Gable
05-14-2006, 06:57 PM
Okay, I don't think I worded that question properly but for the life of me I can't think of a better way right now. LOL.

Basically I guess I'm asking, would a reader feel too cheated if there is never a moment when the hero and heroine make love?

The problem is, the book is not entirely "sweet" because there IS sexual tension, and a build up of the physical relationship, but it never goes "there". It just doesn't fit into my vision of the characters that they would be at that stage just yet, but that is where I feel the book should end. I don't want to be a tease. LOL.


Or is lots of flirtation and tension with no consummation okay?
.

Even in a sweet romance, there needs to be sexual tension. :) I think you're fine in labeling it as sweet.

Susan G.

Sheryl Nantus
05-14-2006, 07:28 PM
I don't think anyone's going to feel cheated if it's realistic enough that having them consummate the relationship is going to feel "forced".

My book isn't specifically a romance, but there is a relationship developing between the characters - but given the situation I really can't have them hook up because it would seem unrealistic, given that they're being hunted and in fear for their lives, etc. I could have put it in, but it's just not something that most real people would think of while running for their lives. It can be made to work, and some have, but it depends on the individuals involved.

I blather.

:)

Gillhoughly
05-14-2006, 08:02 PM
So long as you're aiming for a "sweet" you can keep them out of the bedroom (or wherever).

But if the publication line you want (like a Blaze or Temptation) has books featuring at least one hot circus sex nookie payoff, then you may need to rewrite.

I've read some perfectly well done books with lots of tension that were spoiled because the writer put in the "expected" sex scene. It was clear to me that it was tacked on, and the authors' discomfort was all over the page.

You're either going to be enthusiastic about it or uncomfortable, and if the latter, then your reader is going to pick up on it. You won't do yourself any favors by pandering to what's expected. When the writer was doing that I ceased to read her stuff.

One of my editors wanted me to change (a non-romance) book's ending to include a third character she happened to like. She wanted him in on the action in the last chapter.

I tried. I really did. But the other character's didn't need him there, and none of us wanted him there.

So I went back through the book, gave his dialogue to other characters and trimmed his part down to make him less important and kept the climax as is. My editor didn't complain. (Neither did the characters.)

Had I thought my editor had come up with a blazingly great idea the writing would have flowed, but she hadn't and it didn't.

In writing--always go with your instincts.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif

veinglory
05-14-2006, 08:20 PM
I sometimes see consummation is implied as happening just after the end of the book, but if it is off the radar entirely that would feel a bit odd to me in a genre romance...

Writing Jedi
05-15-2006, 05:12 AM
I've read some perfectly well done books with lots of tension that were spoiled because the writer put in the "expected" sex scene. It was clear to me that it was tacked on, and the authors' discomfort was all over the page.


Yeah, that is exactly what I'm fearing.

I suppose I will leave it as is...it would be a miracle if some editor or agent even got that far into the book to have such a complaint!!!

How about enclosing little sticky notes with my manuscript...Do you want them to have sex here, do you, do you huh? Huh? Do you? Because if you're thinking right now you would publish me if only they would get it on, then they will GET IT ON, baby!

I know I'm pathetic.

Gillhoughly
05-15-2006, 07:25 AM
If it's not right for these characters to have sex, then leave it at that and relax. There is a market for *sweet*, not to worry!

Should the book sell, then you can discuss the issue with the editor--but only if she wants to see some nookie. Don't add on any sticky notes, just let the book sell itself as is.

Don't let your head explode while you wait; work on the next book. Write the hottest, most smoking sex scene first, then plot backwards from it to see how the two of them got there! :D

DeadlyAccurate
05-15-2006, 11:19 PM
I skip the sex scenes in romance novels, and truth be told, I would rather they weren't in there.

Me (skimming the pages): blah blah blah nipple blah blah blah throbbing blah blah...ah, they're talking aga--nope, still going at it--blah blah fireworks. Finally, they're done and we can get back to the story.

Writing Jedi
05-16-2006, 02:38 AM
I skip the sex scenes in romance novels, and truth be told, I would rather they weren't in there.

Me (skimming the pages): blah blah blah nipple blah blah blah throbbing blah blah...ah, they're talking aga--nope, still going at it--blah blah fireworks. Finally, they're done and we can get back to the story.

Good to know. And I think I am the same way, but I was falling into the trap of thinking it would be "expected".

I guess there is truth to the school of thought that you should write what you would like to read.

dragonjax
05-16-2006, 07:11 PM
I skip the sex scenes in romance novels, and truth be told, I would rather they weren't in there.

Me (skimming the pages): blah blah blah nipple blah blah blah throbbing blah blah...ah, they're talking aga--nope, still going at it--blah blah fireworks. Finally, they're done and we can get back to the story.

OMG, this is too funny!

In books where the love scenes are...well, not moving the plot along, let's just say...I sometimes roll my eyes. The bad guys are coming! With guns! To kill the hero and heroine! I know--the hero and heroine should Make! Love! Right! Now! On the cold cave floor! Before the bad guys arrive! And they should be fully attentive to each other's needs! Again, before the bad guys arrive! And don't worry about safe sex, because the bad guys are arriving!

((pant, pant))

Sorry, couldn't help myself...

Anyway, to answer the question...I think that as long as there's ROMANCE (which doesn't necessarily mean a love scene), you'll be fine even if the characters don't get to know each other in that Biblical sense.

Lady Cat
05-19-2006, 06:42 AM
Just because there's no sex doesn't make it "sweet" in my mind. I read a Silhouette Bombshell and it wasn't until the very end that the couple even kissed. There was enough action and sexual tension that I never even missed it. And I don't mind sex in romance at all :e2brows:

aruna
05-20-2006, 01:12 PM
Anyone here read Captain Corelli's Mandolin: It was a huge bestseller a few years ago in the UK and of course a rather bad movie with Penelope Cruz and that Nick cage fella. The book had one of th emost moving love stories I've ever read. Funny, heartwrenching, romantic al rolled into one, and yet they didn't even kiss - not once.

I also get bored with sex scenes and skip to where the story continues, neither do I write them. A friend of mine hwo is a bestselling author of 14 books told me that she gets lots of letters form readers thanking her for NOT including sex scenes, as such books are hard to find these days. I find the tension is kept much higher when the relationship is not consummated, at least not graphically so.

ValkyrieRavenfeather
05-20-2006, 08:49 PM
I was actually wondering the same thing. ^^ I definitely do not want to force my characters into bed, because it seems like a bad time right now. Sometime down along the road, maybe, but right now I'm just happy with the sexual tension.

gothicfaery2001
05-21-2006, 02:57 AM
Tension is everything. It makes the actual sex act unnecessary if it's pulled of well, which is why an attractive woman in a bikini can be more erotic than simply a naked woman. You sound like you're on the right track without having to give in to the consummation.

Tracy
07-03-2006, 09:52 PM
I agree - in a romance we don't necessarily need all the detail. We're all adults, we know what goes where and when, we don't need it spelled out. I've written four novels and am well into my fifth and my description has become less specific with each one, and I haven't had any complaints from the readers. The tension and the wondering and then one slow touch on a cheek with a trembling hand and fade ... that's erotic. We don't need any more, IMHO.

Serena Casey
07-04-2006, 01:46 AM
I agree that a "payoff" is not necessary. I myself enjoy books that don't go into graphic sex but where there is lots of sexual tension and romantic moments, etc. It's kind of hard to find romances like that anymore (it seems to me, anyway - maybe it's just our tiny library) so I'm writing a love story that fits those criteria. No sex, but I don't believe anyone would miss it because the rest of the MCs' interaction is so tender and moving, at least in my biased opinion. :)

Good question.

JanDarby
07-04-2006, 03:05 AM
Okay, I may be a tad biased here, as the author of erotic romance, but the trend among romance publishers today is away from sweet and toward graphic. For assorted values of "graphic," which range from a brief, euphemism-filled sex scene to all-out erotica.

Any author's decision with respect to going all the way is neither "right" nor "wrong," but it is a marketing issue. The available markets for sweet (which is what I wrote until I challenged myself to try hot, as an experiment, and found out that acquiring editors liked these stories better than my sweet ones) are shrinking -- I think we discussed this recently, and there's just one H/S line and Avalon left publishing sweet books among the traditional publishers, plus perhaps an epub or two -- while the markets for non-sweet are growing by leaps and bounds. Which may change tomorrow, of course, and we should never write to market if it's not what we care about, but we should know if something is a hard sell, and then decide what would best suit the story AND get it in front of readers.

JD

davids
07-04-2006, 03:32 AM
It really comes down to you as the author-what is important is you and the writing-honesty can be seen easily in any novel-dishonesty as well-be true to yourself and that is that-don't change for what you suppose may be expected but for yourself and your work-Dave

StoryG27
07-04-2006, 03:35 AM
Does there HAVE to be a sexual payoff?

Yes!!!!

Oh, *sheepish grin* you mean in the book and not real life. Silly me. (Just joking)

I say it all depends on your story and your characters. Authors who are obviously not comfortable with sex scenes but sort of shove one in the book because they feel they have to tend to write terrible love scenes, IMO. On the other hand, when the sex is a natural part of the story, when the writer is very comfortable with the scene and it seems very natural for the characters, then the sex scenes are a wonderful part of the story that actually serve to move the plot along, and none of the sexual tension is lost afterward. But if that isn't in the cards for your characters, don't do it! Forced love scenes are as awkward for the reader as they are for the writer.

fredfuller
07-07-2006, 05:36 PM
Writing as a novice writer who actually doesn't know what he is talking about, I found I could not control what my characters wanted to do in my first novel. Once granted life, they did what they pleased; I took dictation.

My two protagonists had a sexual urge in the kitchen of her apartment, and, dang, if they didn't get it on right on the floor. I DID NOT WANT THEM TO DO THAT! But, after the scene ended, I saw that they were right.

I know, this sounds like I'm a few sand grains short of an hour, but it happened. In fact, the staff here at the mental hospital think I'm correct about it. Just wish they'd stop bringing in bags of sand!

booray
07-07-2006, 08:37 PM
Unlike most of the other posts, I shall take the contrary view.

Unless the lack of sex is a necessary plot point, a teenager who decides to do the "right thing," or something like that, then the following rule applies:

"If you have a shotgun on the wall in chapter one, then make darn sure somebody shoots it before "the end."

It does not have to be graphic.

She took his hand and led him into the bedroom. That night she did not say, "that's all there is?"

Sonarbabe
07-07-2006, 10:47 PM
It depends on the story you're writing. For me, I tend to write stories geared toward Harlequin's Blaze line. If there isn't a sexual payoff, I'm in BIG trouble. I also read those types of stories, so I look for those scenes as well. That's just me.

Kathie Freeman
07-09-2006, 08:16 PM
I agree that the characters should drive the story. I once wrote a futuristic story called The Retro in which a female bounty hunter was tracking down an escaped prisoner. They spent several weeks together in the mountains, and to this day, I don't know if they ever had sex or not.

Goddess
07-10-2006, 06:18 AM
Talk about characters driving the story. I had this big plan and the outline and the story and then my heroine decided to fall for a man who was not even originally a character and hopped into bed with him half-way through the book. I swear, I did not plan that at all. But, now that it happened, what can I do. I like the writing of that plot a lot, so I made the rest of the book fit with it.

As far as the payoff is concerned, I need it as well. But that is my opinion. I do value the fact that some people do not deem it necessary, but I find that if there is too much tension and not enough action, it's like "Get on with it, alerady!" Having said that, if the circumstances are not realistic, and they are for instance being chased by some herd of bad guys, or something like that, then it's fine to leave it out. Either way, I like my stories realistic. If it is logical for them to "get it on" then let them, otherwise don't. Whatever you do...keep it real!

kristie911
07-10-2006, 04:32 PM
It might make me the oddball out but while there does not have to be sexual payoff, I find myself disappointed at the end with no sex. I can't believe that I'm the only one out there that feels the same! lol But if it's not logical for them to get it on, then of course, they shouldn't. It's never good when it feels forced. But, yes, when I pick up a romance, I want someone to have sex by the end...that's why I read them. Of course, I wouldn't knowingly pick up a "sweet" romance because that's not what I read.

I'm not sure that is answers your question...

Barnabas
07-11-2006, 05:07 PM
I'm sick and tired of books that must give us explicit details of every sexual encounter. We KNOW how it happens, plus we have imaginations to add wonderful new details all by ourselves.
Every book I've read recently has included an extra-marital affair described in glowing detail. In addition, every unmarried couple MUST eventually end up in bed. . .sometimes the "eventually" is at the first meeting. Is that the norm? I don't think so.
Stick with your guns. Let's have a little romance as opposed to a lot of sex.

Lolly
08-20-2006, 12:42 AM
I skip the sex scenes in romance novels, and truth be told, I would rather they weren't in there.

Me (skimming the pages): blah blah blah nipple blah blah blah throbbing blah blah...ah, they're talking aga--nope, still going at it--blah blah fireworks. Finally, they're done and we can get back to the story.


That's how I feel! :) If the characters have sex in the middle of a story, I feel a sense of letdown. It's like, "Ok, they've had sex. Now what?" I mean, isn't the point of sexual tension to build to sex? So where do you go after that?

I also agree with Gothic that it's not necessary. I mean, when Mr. Darcy showed up in that wet shirt in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejuidice, millions of women drooled, and yet there was no sex in the story. (Or the novels or the latest movie)