Writerly Stuff

I don’t often talk about craft type stuff but today I’m gonna… This may be of no interest to anyone but I’m writing it anyway. Just a warning up front…

I’m writing the first major sex scene between Cassie and Shane in Taking Chase. This is a very difficult scene to write. Not because I don’t like to write sex, I do. But because of who these people are.

Cassie was in an abusive relationship for four years, the last two of which involved serious physical control/abuse and some forced sex/rape. She finally left and divorced him but after the divorce was final he found her and shattered the bones in several of her fingers with a hammer (she was a vascular surgeon) and then with the broken handle, stabbed her fourteen times in the back and neck, nearly killing her.

This was all a year before you meet her and there’s been a coma, major hospital time, the loss of her career, a trial and he skipped bail between the judgment and sentencing. So essentially he’s out there and she’s on the run.

ANYWAY, so it’s been a year and she’s been sort of seeing Shane for about two months, seriously for a few weeks and they’re going to have sex. There’s been a sexual interlude between them once before, and she trusts him but her issues are still there – A) she hasn’t told him about the last attack and she’s ashamed of the scars and doesn’t want him to see them; and B) she was married to a man who had pretty much devastated her self esteem to the point where she has body image issues.

There’ll be a “reveal” about the last attack in a few more scenes but he can’t see the scars just yet, which sort of plays into the whole hesitancy on her part of him seeing her.

So they’re outside at night, in a garden in the moonlight and she’s still got a camisole on. I’m going to have her keep it on. It buttons down the front so he’ll open it that way and see her breasts. I’m taking it slow, writing the scene bit by bit because while she’s broken, I don’t want her to be irreparably so. She’s a survivor. It’s just a different way to write sex for me because my heroes generally tend to be, uh, big dominant men. And he’s a very big man but he’s being gentle for her.

There’s a line here, this scene is one of those sex scenes that is way more than just hot sex but a big moment of revelation for both people. He’s been a casual sex man and she’s anything but casual. He’s going to realize many things in this scene, probably more than she will.

Anyway, this is today’s writing challenge. I like this kind of thing because not all books are the same, not all women feel the same comfort level with their bodies and with sex and some people have wounds in their past that make them approach intimacy differently.

4 comments to “Writerly Stuff”

  1. Jorrie Spencer
    July 13th, 2006 at 12:12 pm · Link

    Interesting post, Lauren. I love it when there’s a lot of characterization going on during a sex scene. I’m that much more engaged.

    I mean, yes, all sex scenes should have characterization, but not all sex scenes carry the same weight, nor should they.

  2. Sara Dennis
    July 13th, 2006 at 12:13 pm · Link

    I’m with Jorrie. I like sex scenes that are about more than the mechanical in and out. This sounds like it will be a good one. Good luck!

  3. Lauren Dane
    July 13th, 2006 at 3:19 pm · Link

    Jorrie- true. All my sex scenes are in the book for a reason, even if the reason is just pleasure between people.

    But the best thing about sex is that it’s rife with emotion. Sometimes people forget that and that’s the difference between a sex scene that you remember years later from a book and one that you don’t remember the next day. (the dock scene in Welcome to Temptation is a great example for me or the first time Jamie and Claire have sex in Outlander)

    Sara – thanks! I hope so, it’s just slow careful going right now, I want to take care to write it the best way I can.

  4. averagedrinker
    July 20th, 2006 at 2:09 am · Link

    just a little suggestion. maybe you can add a little more story like they’ve met on webdate or wealthymen. the guy’s so rich that speaks of the man’s psychosis on his sexual urges. something like adding more fuel to the fire.LOL