Archive for July, 2015

Well i am by no means the authority on this. It takes me a long time to get the sex scenes in my stories right. Im not talking about erotic fiction here – I don’t know if i would be able to do that – i would get bored. Last week I had to write a crucial sex scene in my book, it was important to get across the feelings of both characters as well as insert (snort) the mechanics of the act itself. I was chatting to a very conservative friend of mine who said that she hated when sex scenes were too vague in books and so I pushed myself a little further in my descriptions than I normally would.

I think the difficulty for me is that in a normal scene you don’t write where peoples arms and legs are, and its not long before you just have a long list of “he did”‘s and “she did”s making it quite annoying to read. So what i did was wrote the mechanical elements – the ergonomics of the situation and then I diluted it with talk or thoughts or feelings. In the end i had about 800 words worth of lovemaking. It took me 4 days. A part of that was trying to find replacement words for things like knickers – which just didn’t work in the context I was giving them. Pants, underpants, underwear and shorts replaced the offending word in question.

By the time I had finished I was happy with my efforts. I think what made it harder (snort) is that while i am not a prude, there is an overriding fear of being judged on your own sexual performance – but that’s where you have to make sure you set up the characters and story properly so that people forget the person behind the words. Its a strange thing because i don’t read a sex scene in a book and think – jeez – that author is fucked in the head. The way I write doesnt really allow for the naming of body parts, and so I had to insinuate strongly what was going where and when. It would just look weird If I put the word penis (dick, cock, member etc) into the prose. I hope in the end i have done my characters justice because they really did deserve to have a good time, they had both been through a lot 😉

A friend of mine shared a sex scene he had written, complete with dicks and knickers and it worked in the context of the story he had written. i couldn’t actually think of any sex scenes I had read in books, now the only one i can even vaguely remember is the BIRDSONG one, which was beautiful.

I don’t really have any advice here only that I persevered and went beyond what i was comfortable with in order to deliver the scene I wanted. Its vague enough to still be poetic but not so vague that you aren’t entirely sure what the hell is going on.

So maybe its time for you to give me some advice. Do you have any rules about writing sex scenes? What do you think is most important? What annoys you when reading sex scenes in books?

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I started writing a long time ago, but it was a secret, it was shameful. Who the hell did i think i was?  Is this a familiar feeling? It always amazes me the people who just out there and are writers, its like how??? aren’t you afraid of judgement? criticism? aren’t you afraid people will think you are a freak? So i used to write in secret. I remember telling my friend i was writing a screenplay, it was greeted by a scoff and a silence – like she had no idea what to say to that. I still have that screenplay – and one day Ill finish it and it will be a damn film! i worked on my craft hard and long, I have been learning to write for the pleasure of other people for around 15 years. and yet its only been a year that i have had the confidence to share and show my work. Its only a recent thing where i read other peoples work and think – oh right – my stuffs better than yours – or – i wish i could write like you (without getting down on myself at the same time)

It seems everyone is a writer these days – and a lot of it is shit – Im sorry but it is – Im not Tolstoy by any stretch of the imagination and I know where i sit in the market but there is a lot of unproffessional work being pumped out thanks to the ever increasing world of free ebooks and self publishing (some of its great though!)

I used to treat writing like it was my dirty little secret. hiding my documents, keeping my stories to myself – generally acting like some kind of junkie who had to keep her habit on the down low. I have even shredded books before because i didnt want anyone to find them and know i had written them  – not because they were shit – but because i didnt want anyone to think i was that self indulgent that I had the audacity to try and write a book.

Be proud if you write – I am nearly 40 and im not embarrassed by my habit anymore, I dont think there is anything wrong with little old me trying to impart my wisdom on the world. It wont be the best thing you have ever read – but hopefully if you do ever read something i have written – some part of it will stay with you – and thats all any writer can ask for.

until next time

I’l admit it, the idea of getting my book published is terrifying to me, and I am not even sure why. My mother has read my book already and so I’m not overly concerned with what she will think. My kids are too young but i am sure one day they will read my book – that does make my skin crawl a little but hopefully they will understand that mummy is not in fact a mass murdering psycho and its all just pretend – they are pretty smart and so hopefully… As for anyone else, well, I’ve written a book, i wrote it, me , not them. Write a book and get it published then tell me whats wrong with my book – obviously i dont expect any massively hostile confrontations from people about my story, sure people will talk behind my back and realistically I am cool with that. So where does this anxiety come from? I have no idea. It took a lot of courage for me to put myself out there, and I am open to criticism for sure. So why am I nervous? I think one of the big issues for me – is people seeing what I have written and looking through it to see me, to see what makes me tick. Its stupid really because i dont do that to other writers. i am a very private person and so it makes me feel very vulnerable – I dont like feeling vulnerable.

I got an email from my agent on friday saying 2 publishing houses were taking my book to acquisitions meetings (I had to look this up) and so thats a good thing, especially as 2 people want it – thats good, right? i dont know what to think in all honesty – its so easy to put self doubt on myself, far too easy. At what point do i start believing in myself?

Until next time

Sometimes its just that simple. You just have to persevere. I’ll be honest with you and say I’m not feeling it at the moment. I dont want to write anything today and yet at the end of the day i will have written something, because once I have done my morning chores i will come back to this infernal machine and sit here staring at the screen (music videos, cat videos, documentaries, a new tv show I HAVE to watch NOW etc) and I will have my book open at the same time – occasioanlly i will allow myself to get sucked into my own story, sometimes I will resist it and continue watching whatever bullshit I have decided is good enough to distract me for now. But In between all of that nonsense, I will write something. Even on my worst days, if I use this method I can usually squeeze 500 words out of myself – and if I am lucky an idea will take over and I will do over 2000. I dont feel yesterday was a total loss because i started planning my police procedural chapters, which are the bits I have to finish at the moment. I have bullet pointed the things I NEED to include within the chapter, nestled between chapters I have already written. My self imposed deadline for a first draft is 5th August, so I have less than a month to get at least 20k words out of myself – but more importantly, I need to be confident enough for the rest of the story to find an ending and so I must persevere and find out what other gems my wonderful imagination will fill me with. The only confidence I have at the moment is that I can finish it, not to a standard that i am happy with, but thats not important right now. This is generally one of the moments when I tend to self sabotage, when the end is in sight – and it is. I know all the players now and I know how I want it to end, and so its just a matter of getting there. Its been an ordeal really, the last few weeks – trying hard not to allow my self doubt to take over. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am not in fact shit, but the creative process is a fickle bitch – one day she loves you and the next she thinks you’re trash.

Listened to an interesting radio interview last night. Well I caught the tail end of it .and i just found it on youtube so im going to share it with you. Stuart Maconie interviewing Hanif Kureishi.

enjoy

until next time

Well I am in a funny place at the moment. We all go through times when we think our work is crap – I am going through such a time. I think its possible that because everything was moving at such a fast pace and i got an agent etc and I was flowing along with the hype. Now however things have slowed down and I keep waiting for my agent to call me and say “ive made a huge mistake” (In Will Arnett’s voice). Instead of giving up and throwing my computer in a bin and dousing it in petrol I have decided to just weather the storm and keep plodding along.

I literally hate every sentence that is coming out of me at the moment – I look over the crap I am writing with disdain – but i know – I KNOW that when i finish the first draft – the world will open up to me again and I can fix things in the editing phase – if i allow disillusionment to get the better of me then i will get stuck in another writers block. I refuse to let that happen. I go on holiday in 5 weeks and i would like to at least have the outline of the whole story done – but realistically I could do at least 25k words by then, as long as I allow the plot to come to me.

Its something that I have accepted, that at some point I will look over these words that i hate , words that are moving me closer to my goal – but one day I will read them and think – HMMM thats not that terrible and then hopefully i will be able to fix them. i think in every creative person there are strong forces of doubt, whether you write novels, poetry, draw, paint – whatever – not necessarily doubt in your skill, but maybe doubt in yourself.

I met up with some lovely ladies from my old writing group last week – they came to my new writing group – which went well – even though it was the hottest day or the year and the room we were in only had one window that opened a slither. the venue we were in had put some large jugs of water in the fridge for us which was really nice of them – and possibly life saving. I think I lost about 12kg in sweat.

What was interesting was that neither of the ladies had written anything since our last writing group had disbanded and they both seemed to have that lack of confidence in their work. we did a bit of flash fiction and mine was by no means briliant, but it was nice to write something outside of my novel for a change. i will post up the flash fiction when i get round to typing it up. As i was writing it I thought – urgh this is rubbish, this is rubbish this is rubbish. I know thats just my self doubt talking though. what i really need to do is read some badly written books that have been published – they always inspire me to be better!

Until next time