Friday, June 15, 2012

The Prurient Interests

Shirley Manson of Garbage whose new album I do not
have yet.  Photo yanked from here
Hey, it's Friday so I'm over at the Confabulator Cafe talking about my process of submitting things (or not). Click on over and see what I have to say on the subject, willya? Thanks.

Also, if you're looking for a last-last-minute Father's Day gift, (or you know someone who is) I humbly recommend this, in either paperback or for your Kindle or Nook. Thanks for considering it. If you do buy one, let me know.

Okay, now we're onto today's blog post and it's about sex. Feel free to click away if you're not interested in knowing my thoughts on the subject (at least as far as my writing goes). Regardless, today's post will be shorter than normal. Word-count-wise, anyway.

I'm waffling on how much sex is going to happen in the book I'm writing. I'm not talking about the act itself, but all the things that go along with it and happen before the act and even after. What's an appropriate level of sex in the story? Does it need to be graphic? How graphic? Is it natural to the characters or is it forced?

That last question is probably the most important to me because I definitely do not want to be That Guy who's playing at being a writer and ends up penning low-rent SF porn. (No, I never wrote any stories about Data and Tasha Yar, either.)

I'm not that guy. I know that, I'm just trying to ensure that it's not overdone.

So I ask you all who are reading this, what's an appropriate amount of sex in a serious book? It has to fit the story and the characters and it can't just be for shock value. It has to be legitimate within the confines of the tale. But what's the measure?  Give me examples of 'too much' or even 'could have been more', if you can think of 'em.

For the record, the Zero Draft had very little sex, none of it graphic. There's more in the first draft and characters are using their sexuality in context of the story. I guarantee that by the time you see the story it will make sense even if it doesn't right now. Trust me.

I'll tell you why some other time.


Prospective Writer said...

I think with sex in any book, you have to consider your intended audience, for one, but also your own comfort level. If you are not the kind of guy who feels comfortable writing sex scenes, then any scene that goes beyond your comfort level is probably going to feel forced. I think for most stories, outside of romance and urban fantasy, sex needs to fulfill some sort of purpose in the story. Just like anything else in the book, it has to advance plot or develop character.

That's my two cents, anyway. I'm well aware that I over-indulged in one of the three sex scenes in my last novel...hehe.

KansasBard said...

I totally agree. It has to fulfill some purpose in the story. I'm not saying it has to be a lynchpin to the story, but it should help move the relationships of characters forward or establish a level of intimacy. After that, it's about the comfort level of the author.

Jason Arnett said...

@Sara - I should say that I'm perfectly comfortable writing the scenes, I just tend to overthink them. Sometimes I'll overwrite them (as I do with anything else in a story) and then cut back so much that it's not what I wanted it to be at all. I guess I'm looking for the balance.

@Kevin - You're exactly right. It has to be a part of the story, even essential to the plot moving forward, and in this case I'm trying to establish relational boundaries and intimacy.

I'll be curious what you both think about it.