Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Forgive The Expression
One of the endless writing workshop debates along with Can you start a story with a dream? and Did you earn that ending? and Why is reading this so boring I think I'm going to gouge my eyes out? is how to write about sex. Most of the time I favor the jump cut approach to anything direct -- And then the next morning with all that behind them . . . But the truth is that sometimes a sex scene is necessary to the story and as much as I am loathe to write it, I find myself, well, if you will forgive the expression, forced into a corner. My favorite sex scene that I've written involves a narrator who finds herself in a strange bed with a small blood stain on the sheets. She's left to speculate how it got there and finds herself in dark waters pretty fast, that of becoming a corpse in her mind, sheet over her head, all the demons that drove her to this horrible setting all in place the next morning on the drive home. I didn't write the story that way to start, I left out the dried blood and the dialogue even as I knew I'd have to write it.
If you find yourself avoiding writing a scene for fear of its inherent difficulty, you know it's going to be the scene that makes the story work, the one you will take you the longest to write and will require the most from you. For me, this is most often involves a terrible intimacy between characters, a moment when the mask drops and everything is revealed. Most of these scenes would be considered failures in the world of erotica -- there's not much happiness to be seen, not much bodice ripping, and then they rode away on a cloud of love stuff. Let's face it, in real life we take off our own clothes more often than not. But the horror of exposure, the risk, the sadness, that's sex as I understand it on the page where there's only words which is the least of it in real life.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Writing is the opposite of sex. It's only good when it's over." Hunter S. Thompson
Drinking music suggestion: Graceland Paul Simon
Benedictions and Maledictions