Writing: Sex (and other) scene tips

This is from tumblr… since I wrote so much I thought I should post it here. Also in case anyone finds this useful.

anonsextips

lol I have no idea… I didn’t realize those scenes were seen as well-written ones until we started getting feedback from readers that they thought they were really good. I guess for me, personally, I don’t differentiate between topics; to me, a sex scene is dealt with exactly the same way as any other scene in the way it’s approached. I’m not sure if that’s a common thought process but it seems sometimes when I read books that authors have some difference in their mind between them which I think affects the writing of it, and thus the reading of it.

I don’t know if it helps but I wrote (as always, a lot) about the sort of stuff I usually do/think about. I also included some excerpts from ICoS (DC Evenfall volumes I and II) at the end to try to illustrate a little better what I was talking about in comparison.

I suppose the tl;dr answer would be that I personally treat all scenes the same in terms of wanting it to be meaningful to the overall story, but I do write normal scenes differently than emotionally-charged scenes (including sex scenes) by trying to make the reader feel more like they’re actually there in emotionally-charged scenes, experiencing it too, so they understand why these scenes might affect the character so much.

Anyway, these are my thoughts/tips from my perspective as a writer (and also a reader) in no particular order:

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Julian Files, excerpt 9: Cedrick, Boyd, and the great ice cream debate

I know I keep doing a lot of excerpts for Julian Files–sorry. Hopefully there will be some new material you haven’t read yet when it’s finally finished ^^;

But the thing is, I love writing Cedrick with Boyd. He messed with that kid so much sometimes XD It amuses me to imagine. Another excerpt is below, in which Cedrick and Boyd basically fuck with each other because they’re both stubborn dorks.

As always, unedited and possibly will change in the final book.

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Julian Files, excerpt 8: stories

Another random excerpt. I don’t think I’ve shared this one before, but I’m not sure. Sharing now because I like the lines in the last paragraph.


 

Cedrick always found himself wondering what the story was of people he saw. He built fables in his mind; sometimes dramatic, sometimes heartbreakingly not.

To these strangers, he built a story:

The young man was named Max. He had always tried to find love in the girlfriends he had in high school, but it never worked out. Something was missing. In his first year of college, he met Trevor. They became best friends and Max had never been happier. They spent all their free time out of class together, and sometimes even skipped class to go on suddenly devised adventures. Max’s favorite thing to do was to go urban exploring, and Trevor had decided to go with him last night. They were looking for ghosts, which was particularly alarming for Trevor who refused to acknowledge just how afraid he was of the supernatural. They visited the old, abandoned hospital in Carson City; rumored to have housed the worst psychiatric patients the state had seen in decades.

Cedrick had visited the hospital once, and even as someone who was fascinated by mysteries and the supernatural, he had found it to be unbearable. The air had felt suffocating; metallic, as the taste of blood. The shadows had seemed so much darker, an umber hue on the edges but fading so quickly to pitch black it was akin to sharp drops in the sea floor.

That was how it had felt to Trevor, when he’d gone: the cold flutter of air on his skin like skeletal fingers dancing across his back; the creaks of the old building settling like the cracking groan of bones grinding against one another; the piercing silence as the pause right before Death drew in a rattling, endless breath. Trevor’s heart had been a drumline in his chest; tripping over beats and melodies but staying enough of a tune to keep him alive.

Julian Files, excerpt 7: Vivienne POV

This Julian Files excerpt has Vivienne POV. Again, it’s unedited and some things may change, but I can’t remember if I ever released anything with Viv that showed a bit of what her childhood was like. I know she mentioned it in Fade but I don’t think she gave many details because, to her, the details are unimportant.

What’s interesting to me is as I’ve been writing Julian Files, especially Cedrick POV, I’ve realized the parallels between Vivienne/Cedrick and Hsin/Boyd, particularly the slight parallels between Viv and Hsin, and the way Cedrick and Boyd viewed their respective partner. Those parallels had existed before but I’d never thought about it to any extent to realize they were there.

Anyway, there will be more on Vivienne’s life in Domino, but here’s a glimpse.

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NaNo 2014: Julian Files, Excerpt(s) 5: a study in Beaulieus

nano2014cert

I hit 50,000 words early this month! First time that’s ever happened! I still have a long way to go before Julian Files as a book is finished but I mentioned earlier maybe I’d do an excerpt from Julian Files in celebration.

Well, I decided–why just one? Why not three? Because overkill! 😀

So here are a few excerpts below, from different parts. NO EDITING HAS BEEN DONE so it’s probably all levels of bad with lots of repetition but you can still get an idea from it. I tried to pull from a range of moods so it wasn’t all the same thing. This is sort of like a glimpse at the different ways the Beaulieus interacted with each other. I’m starting with the sad one first but then it’s better I swear!

ALSO, not in these excerpts but in the book there are a number of cameos– and one is someone you know very well from ICoS. Just sayin’.

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NaNo 2014: Julian Files, Excerpt 3 || NaNo Day 10: 33,230 words

More Julian Files! I had planned, briefly, to post the chapters as I wrote them. And then I realized that would be bad for my mental health and creativity for writing this, so I decided not to do that and to stick with random snippets. I’m sorry 😦 I have this terrible tendency to think something is brilliant late at night, and then the next morning go, “Oh, but then reality.”

Anyway, did you notice the word count?? WTF. I’m bizarrely ahead of schedule–I’ve never been this fast at writing a story in NaNo, ever. But honestly, this has been so much fun to write. So far I have POVs for Julian, Cedrick and baby Boyd, and I don’t know yet but it’s possible Viv will even get a go. (If she doesn’t it’s only because I will be writing Domino which is all Viv, all the time). It’s unedited (of course) so expect terrible wording and typos– and there are some details I still need to fact-check to make sure the timing is right–but I don’t even care! I’m sharing it anyway! ohoho!

My goal this NaNo is to actually finish the book in this month–which is likely to be much higher than 50,000 words–and not just stop at 50k because that’s the goal NaNo set.

Ok, ok, all disclaimers aside, let me just say that I chose the below excerpt because it’s just, very… It’s very Cedrick. It’s why I love him, whether or not anyone else ever will, same as I love Vivienne whether or not anyone else ever does. It’s been really fun writing him, and yet it also underscores to me how different life would have been for Boyd and Vivienne both if the past had been different.

Ok excerpt now!

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NaNo 2014: Julian Files, excerpt 2 || NaNo Day 2: 10,399 words

Another Julian Files excerpt. As I mentioned yesterday, I might stop these excerpts if I decide to post the whole thing as a book, or even if it just seems like no one is interested and it’s taking up unnecessary space. Whatever works! We’ll see!

By the way, as this is NaNo, the below excerpt is unedited–as will be any NaNo excerpts I do.

Anyway–look! This time you get Cedrick POV with baby Boyd cameo.

 


 

The receptionist looked ready to deny him entry beyond the front area at first, but then she gave Cedrick a second, more searching stare. At first he was too harried to understand why, until he realized why she looked so familiar to him.

Cara Jorgenson, sister of Timothy Jorgenson. Almost five years ago, when they were both teenagers, Timothy had been murdered in their house when Cara had left to find food rations. It hadn’t been long after the bombs, which had claimed their parents’ lives. Cara had been left suddenly alone, with no one to help her, and no one to find her brother’s killer. She’d been desperate when there had been almost no investigation, and had finally resorted to calling the local news media to see if anyone would pick up the story, maybe put pressure on the police department. Cedrick had been the only one who had listened, and while he hadn’t been able to do much through his job, he’d exhausted his resources trying to find someone who could.

It was how he’d first met Julian, the only private investigator who had given a damn about the story. With Julian’s help, and Julian’s contacts in Lexington PD to the decent cops left on the roster, they’d eventually found out who had done it–but there had never been a trial, because the perpetrator had been killed on the streets not long after the murder. He’d been mugged for the cash he’d stolen from the house.

When Julian and Cedrick had stopped by her house to tell her that, she had been drawn and hollow-eyed, and with bloodless lips she’d said maybe there was justice in the world after all.

“Cara,” he said in surprise. “I didn’t know you worked here now. How are you doing?”

Maybe it was the genuine concern infused in the last question, or maybe it was simply that she appreciated being remembered four and a half years later, but she smiled widely. “I’m… Well, I’m okay. Some days are better than others. I still expect him to walk through the door, but I think over time that will fade.” She leaned forward to peer over the counter. “Oh my God. Is that your little one?”

Cedrick grinned proudly. He nodded and grabbed Boyd from under the armpits so he could hoist him up for official presentation. Simba-style. “This is Boyd. Tell Cara hi, Boyd.”

Boyd obediently stuck his hand out, which Cara took in slight confusion. He shook her hand while saying politely, “It’s nice to meet you, Cara. I’m Boyd. I’m five.” He splayed out all the fingers of his free hand, as if she needed help visualizing such a large number.

Despite the fact that he was being held up like a cat slowly falling out of his dad’s grip, he managed to sound dignified and solemn. Cara did a double take and then burst out laughing. Her cheeks flushed, and she grinned even larger than Cedrick had. She stood up so she could lean at a better angle over the desk.

“It’s very nice to meet you too, Boyd. Should we have your dad put you down?”

“He won’t drop me. He’s very strong. My dad could probably lift a car.”

“Oh really?” Cara’s eyes sparkled as she looked up just in time for Cedrick to smirk. “Is your dad a superhero?”

“Hmm.” Boyd considered that with all the solemnity of a five-year-old with his little train underwear peeking out from his pants while his shirt rode up past his belly button. “He’s not Batman, but he can be close.”

Cara laughed again.

“Gee, thanks, son,” Cedrick muttered, but he couldn’t hide the amusement in his voice.

He set Boyd down carefully, and then tightly grabbed his hand again. He knew Boyd wouldn’t wander off without him but he was always strangely afraid of Boyd disappearing in a crowd. The thought of losing his son was so unbearable that even just imagining it constricted his lungs and set his mind abuzz.

“So, what are you doing here?” Cara asked, eyebrows furrowing. “Are you visiting someone?”

“Actually, yes. An old woman should have been brought in almost an hour ago. We wanted to check her status.”

“Hmm.” Cara dropped back down into her chair and swiveled it back to face the computers. “What’s the name?”

Cedrick hesitated. “I… have no idea.”

Cara gave him a strange look, and Cedrick felt oddly abashed.