1. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Fatally stuck on a scene I'm not sure I should be writing...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Unsavory, Apr 21, 2009.

    After a bit of a haitus due to computer issues, I finally got back into making some real progress on my novel last night. As I started delving into the 13th chapter of a novel that has primarily been based around fantasy/action, I came to a point where I felt that it was necessary to write a sex scene.

    Sure, the scene could be brief and implicit, but I felt it served my story better to delve into the emotion and impulse of the moment. I ended up drafting an entire sex scene that terrifies the heck out of me and probably breaks a lot of protocol for what is acceptable in this genre.

    However, I do not know if that is the case or not. To be honest, I'm not sure what is acceptable in a fantasy book intended for adult audiences. Where does it turn from a relevant romantic subplot into something generally reserved for erotica?

    I don't think I'm willing to show anyone the scene yet because I feel so exposed even reading it myself. How do you handle sex scenes or similar subject matter in stories that don't necessarily revolve around romance?
     
  2. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Most adult fantasy novels that I've read don't have explicit sex scenes since they aren't really relevant to the plot. If you're this afraid of the scene you've written, then you need to re-examine the book you're writing and ask yourself if it would work better as erotica. If you decide no, I'd say that you should probably cut out the scene entirely.

    Just my thoughts

    ~Lynn
     
  3. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Well, something needs to happen for the sake of the plot, but the more I think about it, the more I know I have to tone it down significantly. Oh well. It will be an interesting outtake to have.
     
  4. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    Heck just write it, I was given advise yesterday from a guest lecturer in my writing class, he said. 'If you are not comfortable with it then its bound to be good.'

    If the piece is uncomfortable to you as an author then it is bound to give the piece more depth as it shows a little bit of you as a writer, in which other of your written works might not.
     
  5. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    So the scene was contrived to advance the plot in some way? Maybe if something other than just a gratuitous sex scene happens...otherwise the scene itself won't work in this genre like Lynne said. Everything you write should strengthen your story or it's just fluff.

    And I suspect that your hesitation means you know it doesn't belong there also.

    gar
     
  6. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    I can understand that to an extent. Some of the scenes earlier involving different subject matter really left me feeling emotionally drained and unsure, but I also think they're the most powerful parts to my novel.

    Still, I'll hold onto what I wrote, but I don't plan on keeping it in the book. Thank you for the alternate opinion though. I'm now interested to see what others have to say.
     
  7. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    The event does need to happen to advance the plot as I see it, but I don't need to divulge every detail. I think it's an interesting read to be sure, but I understand the problems. I've already trimmed a few paragraphs and will probably find a way to imply the events that happen rather than explicitly show them.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If the glove don't fit, you must acquit.

    If you are finding yourself forcing the scene, it probably does NOT belong. Soft sell it. Imply it, and show how the characters are affected afterward. Are they more relaxed and comfortablearound one another, and more intuitively linked? Or perhaps the incident left them feeling awkward and uneasy with each other.

    Don't write it in if it doesn't feel right. Reach out with your feelings, Luke. Trust in your instincts.
     
  9. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    It sounds like it needs reworking, but it depends on the target audience (publishers/your mum) etc. Maybe save the scene for the next project if you think it is well written?
     
  10. othman
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    othman Member

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    What's wrong with ditching the explicit and diving into the depths of the subtle? (Yay for Ds) I mean this by if you've ever read His Dark Materials either at the end or towards the ending of the third and final book they have a sex scene, and that particular trilogy is for young adults (I read when 11) with it's subtlety I didn't pick up on it as it wasn't erotica but when I reread it a few years later I realised it was ... basically if you feel that your future publisher and audience might not like to read a sex scene then you ought to jump past the explicit bits, get rid of it entirely or use some well done subtlety.
     
  11. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    Just because your genre is fantasy and they don't normally have sex scenes doesn't mean you can't write one. That being said, from the sounds of it, it sounds like from what you've said the scene doesn't fit and is out of place. If that is the case I would perhaps cut a lot of it out.

    Think of it like poker. Sometimes you're dealt an awesome hand or in this case wrote something really good. But if the cards don't match up you gotta know when to fold it.
     
  12. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    At this stage of the game, I don't think you should be making this type of decision. Honestly, if you're just on chapter 13, you're still in "first draft" mode. You don't need to decide "if it fits" until "editing" mode which happens after you make the first draft.

    You might, once you're editing, find that this sex scene really adds something to the development of the characters, or you might find that it is horrible but it makes you think of something to add to the plot that is wonderful.

    For now, leave it...write it down to get it out of your system and forget about it. Deal with it in the editing process *after* you get the first draft on paper.
     
  13. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Thank you all for the comments. I ended up rewriting the scene. It's still suggestive but not explicit in the same way it was before. I held onto my original draft if I feel like referring to or using it for any future reason. I think I'm happy with what I have now, and while it wouldn't surprise me if I had to tone it down even more, it's well within my comfort zone and doesn't feel nearly as out of place.
     
  14. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think people need to let go of what they believe are the rules for fantasy. Any plot element is potentially acceptable, since it is for an adult audience and you don't have to worry about being age-appropriate. The most basic definition for a fantasy is a story with an element of the impossible. As long as it has something magical, or beings that don't exist in our world, or talking animals, etc, then it is fantasy. It can equal parts romance novel and fantasy if you want it to be.
     
  15. Piestein
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    Piestein Senior Member

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    I've read some fantasy series which described sex. Here are my thoughts as a reader (not as a writer) about one of the books:

    The first one was ~half a page, maybe 3/4 of a page. It wasn't too describing, held more onto the emotional before and after and the MC was drunk, so it was all kind of blurred out. It was also needed for the plot, so I accepted it. The scene was rather hinting than stating, that helped to tolerate it.

    Later though, these scenes got frequent (more characters decided suddenly, after 6 books, to have sex with everyone instead of advance the plot, when there was close to none before). I found that annoying, because I wanted to find out what happens next plot-wise.

    What I'd say is, if you think it needs to be there, keep it. But, you said it yourself - you feel exposed. Hide some parts, hint the others instead of just stating them and see where this gets you, to be honest.

    At least that's my opinion.

    Edit: didn't see it was two pages, I probably need glasses. I think you've got the idea of what to do already, so ... yeah... Hope my example helps you anyway.
     

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