1. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    How much is too much?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shaylyn, Jun 14, 2012.

    I'm writing a book that will fit more into the Young Adult fiction genre than any other. When writing my two MC's first real romantic encounter, how much description is too much? It will go no further than them kissing/making out (that's all I'm describing. Anything further I'm leaving it to the reader's imagination) but I want to make it descriptive enough that it gets the reader's heart racing but not enough that it makes the reader uncomfortable. I also don't want to spend a whole page on it, but also not just a short paragraph. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Concentrate on the feelings that the two main characters have while their kissing and maybe any passing thoughts. Don't go into detail about the mechanics of it, be vague. Most of us know how making out looks and feels anyway.
    A make out scene isn't going to make a young adult that uncomfortable, me thinks.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Personally, I'd go with the short paragraph. That'll be enough to let the reader know what's going on, and YA readers don't need much of a jump start to get their hearts racing. Anything more than a paragraph may come across as self-indulgent at best, kind of creepy at worst.
     
  4. marinarawr
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    marinarawr New Member

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    I would go with about half a page for this "ordeal". I would also do half emotions, half physical. I feel like that really won't go overboard, but will still convey what you want it to convey.
    I also find that detail in the physical aspect helps set the emotions in stone. Just emotion, without physical, sometimes can get lost with the reader.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a little unclear from your description -- do you mean that the characters themselves are only going to be kissing/making out and not go any further or do you mean your description won't go beyond kissing but the characters are going to do more, but the "more" is only implied?

    I agree that you need to concentrate most on the feelings and thoughts of the characters, rather than what is physically happening.
     
  6. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    well I figure I'd describe more of just the kissing and whatnot. If anything else happens, it would be implied. Here's an excerpt of what I have so far, if I can do that. Just let me know if you guys think I should change anything :p

    I continued crying, the tears spilling from my eyes with no end. My arms found their way to Jack's neck and my fingers tangled into his hair. His cheek brushed my forehead and he brought a hand down to wipe my tears away. As they subsided, I pulled back from Jack's chest and looked up at his face. Even in the dark I could make out his features. His eyes, sharp and staring straight into mine. The shape of his lips, so close to my lips. Dangerously close.
    They brushed against mine sending electricity down my spine. My heart pounded in my ears. Or was that his heart? Jack's breathing became shaky as brought one of his hands up to touch my face.

    “Everything will be alright, Hailey,” he whispered. “I'll keep you safe.”

    With that, he pressed his lips against mine and suddenly I was falling. My stomach began doing somersaults and my head spun as his mouth moved on mine. Everything in my brain began swirling together. My thoughts crashed into one another creating tsunamis of color and light that flooded my vision and caused my ears to ring. Goosebumps covered my skin making me shiver even though, with Jack's body pressed up against mine, I was feeling feverish. His hands were rough but gentle as he slid them both up and into my hair, pulling my face even closer to his...




    I just don't know how much further I should delve in before moving on to the next day.
     
  7. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    and this is in reference to something outside of what is going on in this excerpt.
     
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like what you have, but I think you have to decide how far your characters are going. Even if you're just implying they go "all the way," you need to know that. If they do, I would put in a little bit more description, but not much. If it's ending pretty much here, just describe more of the kiss.

    In short, I can't answer the question without knowing what your characters actually do. Implying something means you're leaving the details to the reader's imagination, but you've shown them where they're going. It doesn't mean everything is left vague, and either interpretation is equally valid. (Although there might be other reasons for leaving something vague and wanting either interpretation to be possible, depending on the reader, I'm not sure that's what you want in this case -- or is it?) If this is the characters' first such experience, that's kind of a big deal, and I think we should have a sense of whether it happened. It can be implied without sharing explicit, graphic details.

    You do have to be careful with sexual scenes and themes in YA. There are two questions here -- 1) do the characters go all the way?; 2) how much description is needed to show what they do? I think you need an answer to the first before tackling the second.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Everything was fine until this paragraph. "My stomach tightened" would have sufficed - somersaults made me wonder if she was throwing up. "Everything in my brain began swirling together" gave me an awfully strange image - I'm wondering what on earth is "swirling" and since it was the brain that is swirling, what resulted was an image of... bloody grey goo? "Creating tsunamis of colour and light that flooded my vision" - seriously? What on earth are tsunamis of colour? It sounds like she's gone mad, is losing her mind, or else she's suffering from some attack. And also, "tsunami" is WAY too dramatic - I'm thinking destructive waves killing off entire cities. This has become way melodramatic and not romantic at all.

    I'm also not sure you could be "rough but gentle".

    I liked the line "I was feeling feverish" however.

    Just my two cents :) You're trying way too hard IMO.

    PS. I'd personally delete "Everything will be all right, Hailey." There's no need. It carried a lot more impact/punch if you just stick with "I'll keep you safe." That line is very romantic, and it says quite enough - if he's there to keep her safe then of course everything will be all right. In other words, I find it repetitive if you keep both, and of course the lines "Everything will be all right" almost always sound redundant. It takes away from the romance for me.
     
  10. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    Mckk, thanks for the honesty. This isn't my final draft so I'll change things up until I'm satisfied. Sometimes I get lost in my writing and don't really think about what I'm writing (ie. emotional nonsense that really doesn't sound right) I always have to step back and reread what I wrote like a day later and usually I make changes. I'll keep what you said in mind.
     
  11. Silhouette
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    I agree that the second paragraph gets a little dramatic with the description. However I really like the last sentence (though maybe 'insistant but gentle' would work better) and I think leaving it ambiguous is just fine. It seems to strike a good balance where a reader could go either way on the 'did they or didn't they?' discussion. If it isn't plot relevant that they do or do not have sex at that moment, then I don't think you necessarily need to tell us one way or the other.
     
  12. NeedlessOwl
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    NeedlessOwl New Member

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    If I were you I would try and focus on the emotions that are going on in the main characters minds. What they feel I think will have a bigger impact than a lot of kissing/making out would. I think that you should still use that for sure but try and make sure you are really descriptive with what they are feeling, it will touch the reader more.
     
  13. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    When I was saying "rough but gentle" I meant that his skin was rough, scratchy like sandpaper but he was touching her gently.
     
  14. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Oh I totally agree that in YA fiction it doesn't take much to get the 'heart racing.' If there's been sexual tension leading up to this point than even a little romantic nudge it enough. Just think of the sexual tension created between characters in TV shows. The audience craves that outstretched tension and every now and then you tease them with a short 'scene' that keeps the interest going. If you're writing two characters with this sort of romantic tension then a short paragraph is all you need.
     

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