Yeah, so I wrote a sex scene… or four.

RebeccaUncategorized2 Comments

First off, there’s an AWESOME giveaway of books at the bottom here (to include Full Measures!), so stick with me.

Okay, mom, just stop reading.  Click off, and stop.  You too, my 16 year-old daughter.  Yes, you.

Did you stop reading?

I’m serious, mom.  Stop.

Is she gone?  Okay.

So Full Measures releases in five days, and I’m trying to be cool, and mellow, but really?

Review are coming in, and so far, they’re really good, which makes me basically:

And there’s a couple bad ones that make me kind of:

But you know what?  You can’t expect everyone to like everything, and getting judged is kind of what we authors sign up for when we put our work out there to be read, so it’s kind of a “suck-it-up-buttercup” kinda moment.

But anyway…

So I write YA and NA, which can be confusing.  In completely over-simplified terms, YA is Young Adult, aimed more at high school, when you’re discovering who you are.  NA is New Adult, when you’re struggling with how to be an adult in a world you don’t quite understand yet.  Another blurred-line delineation?  It’s more “acceptable” to have sex scenes in NA.

Okay, peeps.  Full Measures?  It has sex scenes.  Yup.  I said it. S-E-X scenes.

So when my grandmother asks me when does she get to read it?

And I try to explain to her that it has, “scenes” without using the word “sex,” because… come on she’s my GRANDMOTHER, and the last thing I can even say in her presence is “sex.”

And I know she’s going to read it.  Because she’s so super supportive and awesome, which I love her for… but I cringe.  I mean, who wants to have THAT conversation at the dinner table?

Right.  So I figured we’ll just have this conversation now.  Mmmkay?

Let’s start with this.  I’m kind of a geek.  Geek like, I find things like This:

utterly hilarious and try not to make my kids look geekier by making them wear it.
Yup, seriously.

Okay, now that admission is out of the way, let’s get on with the most awkward blog EVER.

Yes, I wrote a sex scene… Writing these scenes is definitely NOT the easiest part of a manuscript for me.  Would you like to see what goes through my head?  Sure.

First, have the right playlist.  It’s impossible to think realistic, sexy scene if one direction comes blaring out of the toy room.  Sorry, boys, it’s true.  And that brings up another point: writing a *scene* while kids are running around?  It’s almost impossible for me.  They walk in, and all progress just STOPS.

Now some New Adult is pretty tame, and steers clear of any sex.  Some is downright… um…  on fire, and uses words that can make even me blush.  New Adult is not synonymous with Fifty Shades, people, and not every NA uses those… words.
It’s all about balance, finding a middle ground between the two spectrums and finding where you’re comfortable, as well as your characters, which kind of feels like:
And you realize, if you’re that in tune with your characters, that the scene just… evolves naturally. If it’s not… try again.  No one likes awkward sex.  😉
Right.  So you throw on some Florence and the Machine and you rock it out.  Your characters are tastefully hot and heavy, and the scene… flows.  And you start thinking…. “Huh, this isn’t that difficult…”
You finish your scenes, and your MS is complete… and this…. this is where you find out what you’re made of.  It’s one thing to write the scenes, and another to let someone else read them.  So you hand your scenes over to your first CP (I chose Nola Sarina because she’s a close friend, agency-sister and writes uber-hot books, so I figured she could tell me if I was completely awkward).  Then you sit… and wait, while she’s reading the scene and her little facebook icon is green.
And then your CP hits you back with the exact words, “Well, I’d like to say, congrats on your sex life.”
And you have a moment of utter embarrassment, where you swear the characters aren’t engaging in sex you’ve had, but you kind of have to admit that just like anything in writing, you’re slightly drawing on personal experience.  That’s when you really have to high-five your husband.
Okay, so now you realize you’re not a completely awkward sex scene writer, but what if you went the completely opposite direction and now you’re about to offend everyone with the inner workings of your personal red-room?
Right, so you pick another CP to check your scenes, someone who’s on the opposite side of the spectrum.  I chose Lizzy Charles, who is another close friend and writes YA, so we know there’s no nookie in her books.  She comes back with:
So now you figure that you have to be on the right track.  The MS is finished, you’ve done your initial read-throughs, and now it’s time for real betas.  So you hand your baby out to your trusted circle of beta-readers, and you’re feeling very…
Because in case you didn’t know it: the default emotion of just about every author is absolute and total insecurity. And your CP’s all reassure you:
But you’re deathly afraid that the first time they reach a *scene,* they’ll be all
But you know they’re in the trenches like you are, doing the best they can, and you’re not the only one writing scenes.  Oh no, then you get a call from another CP (In my case, another good friend and Agent-sister, Molly Lee), who has to ask you the awkward question: what else is there to call Lady-parts?  Because she’s jumping into New Adult from Young Adult, too, and characters are just like people: everyone has a different vocabulary, so we help each other out, and spend the next half hour debating what a character would really call said part of anatomy, which then turns into a debate on how our own vocabulary and sexual identities are flavoring our characters because there are certain words (which shall not be said here), that neither of us can even remotely use in our normal speech, let alone write it out, which limits us in our *scenes* and we both realize how insane our careers are, that these are the discussions we’re having as moms, wives, and authors…. (and this is now the longest sentence EVER)…
Right, and you inevitably get the one response from someone who doesn’t read New Adult that the book has too much sex:
And the one that says there’s just not enough:
So you figure, hey, that must be a pretty good balance, right?  But we’re not done here.  Oh no, because now it’s polished, edited, and you hand it into your agent.  YOUR AGENT, the person responsible for your career is now going to see the workings of your little sexual mind.
A month later?  She loves it, any typos are found and you’re ready to Sub.  Skipping the neurotic waiting, biting your nails, glee at an offer, signing a deal, let’s just skip ahead to your editors.  You get back the first edit letters, and they’re editing your scenes… you know, since you totally took the guy’s boxers off twice in one scene.  What, like he wears two pairs?
Right.  Then you’re realizing you have an over-use of specific words, and suddenly it’s up for debate of character motivations and when we should really remove panties (did you hear my sister cringe at that word?  She totally did) with your teeth.
And for just that moment, when you’re working your track-changes, it strikes you that not only have you exposed your sexual mind to your editors, but they’re now rooting around in it, making changes that have you basically like:
And you realize there’s so many people involved in this *scene* that it’s not just your characters any more, it’s you, your characters, your editors all directing it, polishing it, until it’s almost clinical.  It may be a sex scene, but to everyone involved, it’s just another scene that needs to be edited to perfection.  
And now it’s ready for release.
So yes, there you have it…  the insanity of writing a sexy scene.  Now while everyone is gushing over the fact that Full Measures comes out in 4 (EEEEK!) days, and believe me, I’m right there with you, I also know that my mother preordered it… (Come on Mom, I know you’re still here, you never actually do what I ask you to… 😉  )… which means my mom will be reading these scenes, and then my grandmother.
 
Do I regret writing them?  Not one bit.  I love Full Measures, scenes and all, and I’m saving the whole “necessity of sex scenes in NA” debate for when I get to author post on the awesome almost-launched Debate It site.  Now, let’s just hope my mom doesn’t bring it up.  Yeah, right.  If she doesn’t, my dad will, and we all know that’s about to get hella-awkward.
And there you have it.  I wrote a sex scene, well… a couple.  So if you’re up for reading Full Measures, you’ve got a heads-up.  I promise, they’re heat-worthy, but won’t send you crying for the banned-books people.
And meanwhile, while you’re patiently waiting for Full Measures to release on Monday?  Here’s an AWESOME giveaway and a chance to win some amazing books!!

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2 Comments on “Yeah, so I wrote a sex scene… or four.”

  1. Virginia Brasch

    This post is hilarious! I don't quite write sex scenes. I leave the doors mostly closed, but it's still totally relatable and so funny.

  2. Joe Casadonte

    Except for the professional editor and actually being published thing? I totally get every cringe-worthy thing you said.

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