The Love Scene

“See it as PLAY!”

April Kilhstrom said that in our interview  and never could it be more appropriate to use, I think, then while writing the love scene. Maybe I’m trying to convince myself of that so I can shake some of the… shall we say… performance anxiety involved in writing that scene.

A love scene is not just about the act of making love. It’s about the issues each character brings to bed with them. It’s one of my favorite scenes to write because you can really break the character down and get inside their minds. They’re at their most vulnerable point. They’re guarded at certain moments, totally raw at others. And while in life we might give in to wild abandon, in fiction, we must make it seem so while maintaining or exaggerating the issues our characters will carry into the morning… and beyond.

The love scene, I’d always thought, was the ‘ahhhh’ moment. It’s not. It’s the ‘uh-oh!” moment. It’s the moment when the characters let down their guard and then regret it because this involvement has complicated their lives in more ways than they could have guessed.

My hero is concerned about kidnapped family members. He needs to save them. He can’t. Not yet. Not until he receives the next orders from the kidnappers. He’s frustrated, a hero unable to act heroic. My heroine is involved in his life by accident. She was minding her own business, clawing her way out of a hostile past to face a future somewhere new, without ties to bind or hurt. Hero can’t save his family just yet, but he knows he can save her from her frightening past. Heroine can’t afford to believe in the possibilities hero describes and knows while she needs his affection this night, tomorrow… tomorrow she will run since running keeps the past far behind.

That’s a lot to keep in mind while thinking of what touch makes her swoon and what position makes him shudder.

In romance, the love scene isn’t just about sex. It’s about emotions. It’s about fears. It’s about change. With all of that, we (I) sometimes forget, that most of all, it’s about giving the characters grief, causing them both pleasure and pain. Creating their hell, dangling rewards just out of their reach, then making them suffer until they work it all out and reach their happily ever after.

Playing has never been such fun.

6 Responses to The Love Scene

  • Debbie,
    What a great reminder about writing romance in general and the love scenes in particular. It’s all about the emotion. I too often forget and dwell on the events.

    Thanks too for the reminder to have fun with my writing. That’s one of my goals for today.

    Linda

  • Debbie, you’re absolutely right that it’s all about the emotions. The love scene is a great time to get deep inside one character’s head. That’s what makes for a compelling scene, not the physical aspects of lovemaking.

    Linda

  • I love to write love scenes – but I know some writers have a hard time – it can expose you to criticism or bring up insecurities if family members or friends read your work. Have fun.
    Sandy

  • Debbie-
    I really like how you said that ‘In romance, the love scene isn’t just about sex. It’s about emotions. It’s about fears. It’s about change. With all of that, we (I) sometimes forget, that most of all, it’s about giving the characters grief, causing them both pleasure and pain. Creating their hell, dangling rewards just out of their reach, then making them suffer until they work it all out and reach their happily ever after.’
    I have really learned to love sex scenes for that very reason. It’s a chance to explore a character while they’re open and some of their defenses are down. I have learned so much about my characters and their relationship to each other during these scenes. They’re not just action scenes (insert tab A into slot B), they are what allow characters to open up to each other and expose their emotional needs.

  • Debbie, all of us here write some form of romance, and that probably means we’re interested in people. Love scenes we write can range from sweet to steamy to erotic, and the choice depends upon the genre for a particular publisher. During the editing stage, an author might be asked to lengthen or deepen a love scene. Readers like variety– where and how long it lasts depends on the couple’s situation. Oh, it is fun.

  • I must admit, it’s kinda nice to not have to deal with the love scene stuff. I write middle grade, after all… 🙂

    Hey, I tagged you for a meme!

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