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How to Write Intimate Scenes Without Making Them the Focus of the Story.

It's taken me a year to write this and I might come back in another year to write another iteration of this lesson.

For a long time, I believed, the formula for good romance stories dictated the senses of readers be stimulated by multiple sex scenes and recent trends on social media seem to confirm that. As an avid reader, I rarely find successful romance authors who don't give sneak peeks into the bedrooms of their characters, and it wasn't until I started writing seriously that I realized spice is a serious crutch to writers. It not only excuses bad character development but also drags on bad plots.

The first draft of Soul Ties still makes me blush when I think about how much I built the story around their intimate moments. One of the earliest comments on the manuscript was from a reader who felt like I rushed to sex. They told me they didn't see or experience the "history" I claimed Jules and Rex had. Though I was sensitive about my writing I took their advice. It could not have come at a better time, because it forced me to consider intimacy and what it meant, beyond the bedroom.

Now I know a little better and I remind myself often, "The sex is not the story."

This simple statement dropped in my mind before I began what would be the first of many revisions of Soul Ties and it still guides my pen almost three years later.

When two people are falling in love or when I'm writing about two people falling in love I've learned that every action and interaction they have dictates the kind of sex they have. My focus became building worlds and characters that connected authentically and communicated well beyond the biology of physical attraction.

With Jules and Rex this change in perspective helped me write them deeper than I ever thought I could. In the second book of their story, I had to pause and consider their motives and how their actions in book one drove their responses to each other in book two. I do my absolute best not to give spoilers but I want to give an example here so those who've read Twisted Souls, can read between the lines.

Julia is the queen of 'chill'. That's her MO throughout books one and two, and Rex is the king of 'whatever it takes/by any means necessary'. The features of their personalities make conflict inevitable in their relationship but book two is about the road to HEA (happily ever after). In light of the tragedy they experienced in book one, the steamy horizontal tango would never resolve their problems. So I had to take them to therapy (Thank you to the professionals who walked me through this process without shipping me to inpatient care). I had to understand motives and attachment styles and there was a month-long period where the writing felt a little impossible because I could not crack Julia. I wanted to fight her in real life but I persevered and you can share some of my frustration as you read how they find their HEA.

Hear me! I'm not saying sex isn't needed in romance. The Heavy Love series has spice, so far be it for me to make such a statement. What I am saying, and I want you to take away is this thought; there are valuable lessons to learn about this craft and characters when the driver is their motives rather than prioritizing placing them in situations that force physical intimacy.

It's always easiest to pull from the formula to get readers engaged but that doesn't have to be true for you (if you are a writer) or your characters. Sex certainly isn't the story I want to sell. It can be present in the storyline, but the relationships deserve the hype.

Closeness, connection, and intimacy. I value the lived experiences of both men and women as I write their stories.

Having said all of that, The Heavy Love series is complete and available on Amazon. Grab a copy of it for free with KU.

Keep Reading and I'll Keep writing


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