Okay, so I just finished writing one of those blasted love scenes in Secret Project S. It just about wrung my brain dry, and it got me to thinking about the writing of a love scene. Many, many of them have been written, in many, many books over the years, with varying degrees of effectiveness. I do not profess to be an expert. However, there are certain things in a love scene that I simply refuse to do. So here’s my short guide of do’s and don’ts.
The first one is tied to my movie quote, which is taken from Top Gun, the scene where Maverick explains the positioning of his plane relative to the enemy Mig-21. How does it tie to being inverted, you ask? Well, because if you’re inverted, just don’t mention it. Avoid specific geometrical details, such as the angle of a leg held over one’s head, or the degree to which he was leaning off of the sex swing. Such things are unnecessary.
Rule number two, also tied to Top Gun: Unless you are actually referring to Kelly McGillis, do not have any movements, "take her breath away." It’s a cliche and no one likes it.
Rule number three: No A to B to C descriptions. ie, and then they moved to the bed and then he grabbed her boobie and then they laid down. You’re crafting a scene not putting together a piece of furniture from Ikea. Don’t make it read like an instruction manual.
Rule number four: Limit the euphemisms for penises. Pick your favorite four and then rotate. Do I need to be specific here? No, I do not.
Okay fine. Lovestick, joy handle, Mr. Bikini Nose, and Ding o ling o ling should do nicely.
Do, channel the moment. Sure, you might feel like a dirty perv, but if it’s not hot for you, then it’s not hot for anybody.
Do interject some character reflection. It’s not all about the bodies. There are also brains present. Or at least there usually are. Usually only one. And it is usually female.
Don’t hold back on the emotional response, unless you are trying to be all disaffected, like Henry Miller or something. Though those of you who have read Tropic of Cancer will know that most of his scenes were a predecessor of the "Meow" game from Super Troopers, only he wanted to see how many times he could use the "C" word in three pages.
And finally, sensory description is good, but don’t go overboard or your readers will feel like they’ve stumbled into a twelve person orgy in a dark room. Pardon your hand, there sir. Do I know you?
What you should take away from this, is writing love scenes is not an easy piece of work. Those of you who can do it deserve all the accolades you get. There should be a love scene writing support group. Tomorrow, I get back to the dark action plot, where I am so much more comfortable.