Those Dirty Spades
The thrill of another page turned, a breathless paragraph, or a full chapter dedicated to the rippling Adonis’s rough passion. I’m talking about scenes that sizzle right off the page and make you gobble each word up and crave more. Sexy words of body parts written in explicit detail. Trying to write these things used to sound like a chorus of slamming brakes in my head.
The first time I wrote a sex scene I blushed the entire time. I would type the naughty word then immediately delete it and try to soften it up. After doing the Doubt and Delete routine I ended up with garbage. It was clear that I was a virgin at book sex. Reading it was simple, writing it was like breaking my arm and telling me to arm wrestle with it. It was difficult for me, so it was even more awkward for my characters. My poor, poor characters. I couldn’t help it. No matter how I tried to sweeten the sex, they seemed like amateurs trying to figure out how to make it work properly.
Don’t get me confused with being Ms. Discreet. I’m not usually modest, far from it. Around friends, my mouth is unfiltered most of the time when the topic of sex comes up. So it took a lot for me to convey my free speech into my work. By a lot, I mean at least seven manuscripts. Some that will not ever see the light of day and were perfect practice for finding my cojones and calling a spade a spade where genitalia was concerned.
How did I overcome this blockage of the written book booty? Simple. My husband made me feel completely melodramatic about the subject. “It’s easy,” he said and then proceeded to create a verbal erotic scene off the top of his head. When he finished, he ended it off with, “Just feel it. Don’t change what comes out. Write it the way it’s supposed to be.” I’m glad his back was to me at that time, because I may have looked at him like he’d sprouted a second head. For one, the impromptu scene was pretty damn hot. Another thing was, he was right. I was making it more difficult than I should have been. Second guessing was only holding me up and weakening my manuscript’s sexual chemistry.
So, I finally got past blushing about writing sex—or so I thought. I subbed my first piece, The Fire of Thieves, which is only a level two in heat. Just steamy enough for a new author that was shy about writing book sex (happy to say I’m making level three’s now :D). I was happy it was accepted and couldn’t wait to journey into this new publishing endeavor.
I learned my editor was a male. That old shyness crept back into me again as I went over his edits and blushed that he’d read those wicked words of mine. I was certain he thought me a hussy. Didn’t matter he was probably editing level fives that made my book look like a kindergarten playground. I worked hard on his edits and blushed at his selection of words that were in reference to mine. Heaven forbid when he wanted me to clarify a gesture because it didn’t “flow” properly. I probably sounded like a school girl giggling at her desk.
After awhile, I focused more on making the book shine instead of the words I typed. Eventually, it wasn’t a big deal and I didn’t understand why it got me so worked up before. By the second round of edits my bashfulness was obliterated. I’d simply grown out the awkwardness that seized me by the throat and choked my writing in the beginning. Thank the book gods for such a blessing too because I’ve started calling those spades what they are and haven’t looked back since.