OK, so you’re writing a romance novel. Obviously there are lingering glances and touches and sighs. And of course, there’s Lurve (note the capital L). But what do you do about sex? Do you write a sweet style romance where the bedroom door is firmly closed with the reader on one side and our heroes getting their happy ever after on the other side? Or do you write a saucy and salacious erotic novel with a bit more slap than tickle?
When we first wrote Yesterday’s Shadows, it was with the intention of entering it into the Clendon Awards. We already knew our story was a paranormal romance and that affected both the word count we could have and also to some extent the amount of sex. We didn’t think our story was a 55,000-word ‘category’ type romance so that was out. It was suggested that we might have a single title stand alone novel which doesn’t have a category. Convention with a single title is that they are about 75,000-100,000 words and generally there is some sex in them before the protagonists have their happy ever after.
Funnily enough, Sam and Christa’s first sex scene was the very first scene that Caro wrote. She wrote it eyes closed, blushing furiously and feeling VERY uncomfortable indeed. I blushed reading it! Then it came my turn to write one – I’d done lots of the longing glances and sighs and small fantasies, but writing a whole sex scene is very different. Much like Caro I did it eyes closed, and terribly embarrassed.
With practice, writing sex scenes did get easier, and actually Verity and Noah’s sex scenes (including one memorable garden scene and an even more memorable dream sequence) mostly wrote themselves.
The hero and heroine of our new book get together extremely fast. In fact we’d written the sex scene and outlined the first couple of chapters before we finished Noah and Verity’s story. But actually getting our heroes together properly and having a truly meaningful love scene? That proved extremely difficult and we were a LONG way through their story before it happened (yes, there’s a big spoiler that you’ll have to be a bit more patient this time – but it’s worth it!). Caro couldn’t proof read it after she’d written it and had to send it through to me to look at.
Romance readers seem to be divided about sex – how much is too much? When is the story sacrificed to too many sex scenes? I know some of the Clendon readers were deeply uncomfortable with how much sex we had, but we felt the balance was about right.
What are your thoughts? Sex? No sex?
***Disclaimer – at least some of our embarrassment is knowing that at least one of our parents, siblings and/or in-laws is likely to read anything we write (they’re kind that way). Also, people we ACTUALLY KNOW, IN REAL LIFE, are kind enough to support us by buying our books. And some of them read them as well. We worry sometimes that they might start looking at us a bit funny…