It's been a while as it's been half-term here so I've had both kiddies around, plus we've been away visiting one of my oldest chums who has just had twins - and yes, they are adorable and tiny and very cute! - so there's been very little writing going on. Even so, my writing has had to take a back seat to "research" and "revising" as it has become blindingly obvious that my writing is lacking in some areas. I want to produce the best work that I can and that means learning my craft and honing my skills.
Aside from my usual moments where I drop into narrative mode briefly, I freely admit that I find it really embarrassing to write love scenes... and I don't even mean S-E-X. My scenes aren't explicit or especially graphic as I'm writing romance, not erotic romance or erotica and definitely not P-O-R-N, but even soft fluffy romance involves kissing and cuddling and some more - ahem! - intimate moments.
When I read back my first attempt at a love scene, I realised it was akin to a running commentary. I found myself describing the action and forgot all about my characters - the dialogue dried up and I couldn't tell what my heroine was thinking anymore having dropped the introspection in my haste to get to the end of the scene. Oddly enough, when I switched perspective to the hero, it wasn't nearly as bad and I did at least know his thoughts. I can only assume it was easier to write because I was more detached when writing from the hero's point of view, seeing as it couldn't possibly be mistaken as an extension of me, what with me not being a man and all.
I guess it doesn't help my embarrassment when my husband cringes, his face paling at the mere thought of somebody he knows reading what I've written, especially his mum. Add that to a childhood of the TV being turned over at the slightest hint of a sexy scene and I appear to be left with a few hang-ups. Why does it have to make me feel "dirty"? I'm in my mid-thirties, happily married and mother of two children, but I bet I'd get all tongue-tied and blush like an idiot if you asked me if I'd ever had, um, you know, "it", er... s-e-x (and to those who know me in real life, please don't accept that as a challenge!)
Never mind, I will conquer this. Writing can be fairly therapeutic that way; I control the world in which my plot is set, even if I can't always control my characters - tsk! - and I have always found it easier to write about trickier stuff than talk about it. Writing lets me plan my responses and set the tone, it gives me time to engage brain before speaking etc and I am far less misunderstood when writing than when talking. Sometimes when I speak, the only difference between a scathing remark and a joke is my body language and stupid grin - if you don't happen to be looking at me at the time, I can sound like a cold hard bitch. Ugh! Anyway, I digress...
As long as I keep reminding myself that my work is not my auto-biography, that I am writing about pretend characters and not about my own life, I can do this. I WILL get over the embarrassment... eventually. So repeat: I AM NOT WRITING ABOUT ME! My characters and the things they like or do or fantasise about are not necessarily the same as me. If I was writing about a vampire or a werewolf or something else paranormal, I doubt it would be anywhere near as embarrassing. But I'm not. I'm trying to bring two fictional characters to life, two somewhat normal ordinary people, by getting inside their heads and telling their story.
What would be the point in writing romance if my characters didn't love each other or find a way to express their love? Or if I did it in such a way that the reader didn't give two hoots about them or whether they ever get together in the end, opting to toss the book aside and pick something else up instead?
Just in case you're also a writer, I can recommend these writing skills books by Liz Fielding and Stacia Kane as they are helping me, but be warned that Stacia Kane doesn't pull her punches ;o) (ETA I've just treated myself to Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide too 20/2/12)
So, if you are a writer, how do you go about writing "those" scenes? Does the embarrassment ever truly go away?