The Dynamics of Writing (and Editing!) a Love Scene

Today I am working on edits of chapter eight of A Heart Not Easily Broken. It is the first love scene in the book. I’ve been working on it off and on today because my children have decided, despite the fact I took them out to play in the communities outdoor water fountain – we’re home now and they have gone back outside to play – yet they continue to come back inside to talk and ask questions. Talk about a mood killer! (This is a great way to make sure you promote safe sex in your story though! LOL!) Parents who have kids know how hard it is to get alone time without your child knocking on the door. Apparently it goes the same when writing/editing love scenes too. One of my kids always seems to appear when I’m working on one of those scenes. If I’m writing straight dialogue or action, he never shows up. But if a love scene is on the screen he is suddenly standing by my side, takes one look at the screen and says, “Mom! Not again!” LOL!!!!

Which made me decided to take the time to write this blog.Why not, I can’t edit right now anyway…..

 Love scenes. As romance readers, we love them. They are the window into the soul of the characters we’ve come to fall in love with and root for. As a romance writer, they are the best way to truly show what motivates and drives our characters into making the emotionally charged decision to give the most private part of themselves to the one they love, lust after or flat out gotta jump.

But how do you write them?

I’ve researched different romance authors and have discovered some just flat out hate writing love scenes! Janet Evanovich, for instance, wasn’t a big fan of writing them in her earlier works. But yet, in her Stephanie Plum series, she still manages to bring enough heart, and comedy, to the brief love scenes with her character’s main love interest, Joe Morelli, and enough heat to drive me, the reader, crazy with Ranger. (Personally, I love a bad boy and really wish Stephanie would give in and sleep with Ranger again!) Some others put it off until they’ve written the entire MS, leaving it a blank page to be filled in at a later date.

But not me….. I dig right in from the moment I decide to write the story.

Two years ago when I started writing the original MS for A Heart Not Easily Broken, I was scared to death of writing a love scene. My thoughts were: “What if my mom got a hold of this and read it?” “What if people I went to school with read it? What would they think of me?” So, I started my story off writing chapter one and when I approached the first love scene, I was wary. I almost felt like I was writing a porno…lol. It was technical, I wasn’t sure what descriptive words to use without naming body parts like a high school biology text book, yet not so graphic I felt like I needed to wash my eyes with soap because I offended myself. The first time was cheesy, the next round was pornographic; I didn’t want to write Erotica. After about eight different tries I finally wrote a scene I felt comfortable with. By the time I got to the second and third scenes, I felt better. But what about now?

Well, now, my whole way of writing has changed. When I decide on the basic storyline, I imagine my characters, their likes, dislikes, physical attributes (here’s where the in depth character outline comes in) so I know my characters like the back of my hand. One of the best ways to do this is to decide what astrological sign they are. Google astrology signs and you’ll find several different web sites that will give you in depth information about the sign, even what type of sex drive they have, and will help you dive deeper into your character. Once I’ve found my characters ‘astrological match’, I imagine what it would be like for the two of them to have the first kiss, the longing that leads to the bedroom. What got them there? What were they thinking? What motivated them to decide to do the horizontal mambo? (No, I don’t use horizontal mambo as a description in my books, it’s just a lot of fun to say! Okay, that’s a lie. I went back and re-read a scene where a character does say it, but at least it wasn’t during the love scene! And I swear, I’m only using it that ONE time!!!) I imagine the scene over and over again in my head, like a DVD when you hit the back chapter button, then play it through again, changing positions, words that are shared, feelings that are felt. Once I’ve gotten to a version I feel is hot enough, I write it down. I now know what my characters were feeling at that exact moment.

But how did they get there?

That’s where I back track and the chapters leading up to that first magic moment are born. In some cases, the scenes involving the second and third time emerge, each one telling a different part of their story. “We did it once, now what?” My characters, like people in real life, have their own reasons for diving into bed with one another. Someone is always expecting more than the other is willing to give, or even if they weren’t, they are surprised to find out no matter how much they try to deny it, they really do want more than just sex. Thus, the change in the character’s motivation, wants, or needs is decided. Moves are made to get the other to let go of whatever is keeping them from falling in love and well, their story is told.

Crazy huh? But that’s how my mind works.

So, now that the house is getting quiet, I’m too tired to do anything else with my scene for the day. Guess I’ll hit save and try again tomorrow. If there’s one thing I do know, my characters are somewhere tucked in bed together and very happy…..LOL!

So, fellow authors, what are your takes on writing love scenes? Please share!

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4 thoughts on “The Dynamics of Writing (and Editing!) a Love Scene

  1. Lol! You were right! This MADD me laugh. As a non-romance writer I did enjoy learning more about how you develop tour craft. It's interesting because I often start with what I call a scene and then go back and figure out how my character got there. So in some ways we both do that. 🙂 you just do it with them in bed and I do it with a death scene or even sometimes a first kiss! 🙂 Happy Writing! – Abby

  2. You know I hate writing love scenes. Either they end up too bland and flat or too raunchy. I can never seem to write something right in the middle. LOL!

  3. I loved this! I did the same thing the first time I wrote a love scene. How much is too much?? I had no idea. I'd read love scenes, but I didn't know how to balance things at the time. I hope I've gotten a little better, practice makes perfect, right? I had to leave an amorous pair in the shower the other day…they were pretty wrinkly by the time I got back to them. 😉

  4. @ Suzanne Payne…LMBO at leaving them in the shower. It takes time to work it out doesn't it? But Once you get the hang of it, they can be pretty darn fun. It usually takes me about a week to visualize the scene different ways before finally breaking out with pen and pad, write it down and free my mind to move onto something else. Got one on the brain right now and it's kinda getting on my nerves. The couple can't make up their mind…LOL. Thanks for the comment!

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