1. lordofhats
    Offline

    lordofhats Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,023
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    The Hat Cave

    Writing in some tension

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lordofhats, Feb 3, 2009.

    In my current project I have two characters who are experiencing varying degrees of sexual tension between one another. Now my current problem is I've never written this sort of thin into a story line and I'm unsure how to handle it. I want it organized in a way that the reader is well aware of the tension while the characters are completely oblivious (they're in denial...).

    I've been trying to brain storm how to do this but can't say I have much romance in my reading list that has dealt with ST before. Are there any suggested readings or advice anyone has for how to get this to work out?
     
  2. Penny Dreadful
    Offline

    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    deep south
    I love, love, love writing sexual tension. :D

    There are plenty of books, movies, tv shows, ect that have examples of this sort of thing. I'd be shocked if you've somehow gone through live avoiding all of them, so I'm not sure what reasearch materials I can suggest.

    What sort of relationship do the characters have? Are they friends, coworkers, rivals? There are always subtle things you can add in to have the reader pick up on feelings before the characters do.

    What POV is the story from? In the novel I'm working on now, the main character often feels excluded - though the other two are supposed to be his friends. Jealousy is also a handy tool. In the same novel, character A picks a meaningless fight with character B to vent over another man flirting with her.

    If it's the main character you're working with and another major character of the opposite sex, your readers are usually going to assume they're going to be a couple later without much work on your part.
     
  3. Iaevich
    Offline

    Iaevich Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    I haven't written this in before, but I suspect you could use the sexual tension to fuel other emotions. E.g. arguments, fights, antagonism, as the characters need to find some release for the energy they have when they're with one another.
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I don't have any books in mind at the moment, but consider Carter and O'Neill in Stargate SG-1. Watc episodes, and pay attention to dialogue.

    Dialogue is an art all in itself. A key concept in dialogue is subtext, a subject that runs through a dialogue exchange without appearing in the literal quoted lines.
     
  5. NaCl
    Offline

    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    58
    I am currently working on a Vietnam war story in which a tough black-ops recon sergeant meets an equally tough female CIA operative. They clash instantly as the sergeant is not interested in having his operation slowed down by a woman participant. After several sharp and profanity laced exchanges, in which she establishes her "place" on the team, the sergeant finds out that she flew the "company chopper" that rescued a couple MIAs deep inside enemy territory. It was an unauthorized mission where she acted as a maverick, taking the initiative to save those men when a brief window of opportunity presented itself and there was no time to get official sanction.

    The sergeant is conflicted. He knew all the details of that rescue...it was two of his men who got plucked out of that NVA jungle-prison. For the next few pages, the female pilot and the recon master trade verbal jabs, including one or two thinly veiled references to anatomy and probable sexual insufficiencies. Just as she delivers him into a hostile LZ (Landing Zone), her last words are to take care of himself...she wants him back to "finish" their conversation.

    This sexual tension is subtle and grows as an undercurrent while the overall mission unfolds. It is obvious to the reader, and perhaps to the female pilot, but our hard-nosed sergeant hasn't figured it out yet. He notices her last comment before he leaps from the helicopter, but her sudden change from sarcasm to friendly concern puzzles him.

    I think there are thousands of ways to build sexual tension in a story. Should it be interwoven into the general storyline as a subtle force building between two people or is it better to make it the focus, as in an openly raging romance? As a writer, you get to enjoy building that tension...any 'ol way you want. So, have fun with it. Indulge your fantasies. Just remember, there is not much "tension" between consenting adults. The "tension" must come from some conflict, some barrier (real or imagined) that causes an obstacle to overcome in the growing feelings between characters.
     
  6. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    That is exactly what all kinds of tension does, especially sexual tension. From everything I know about relationships, while you obviously can't generalize, if it's a happy relationship there is a good chance that they are having good sex, and the reverse is also often true. It's relatively easy for even Orthodox Jews to get a divorce (I haven't read it myself, but supposedly the Talmud says that a man can divorce his wife for burning dinner) but they have a relatively low divorce rate. They also have pretty healthy attitudes toward sex. Admittedly, where they cause and effect lies in different for every relationship.

    Also, think of how people can behave when they are sexually attracted to co-workers. That can lead to all kinds of frustration, as well as very silly behaviour.
     
  7. lordofhats
    Offline

    lordofhats Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,023
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    The Hat Cave
    Oh that solves my storming problem right there XD. God I haven't watched an episode of SG-1 in so long I practically forgot about O'Neill and Carter :p. That's exactly the kind of tension I'm looking for (and the two characters involved have a similar relationship which should make taking ques and implementing them easier). Now I just have to find someone with the DVD's or hope that a good episode comes on soon I can study XD.

    Thanks.
     

Share This Page