Monday, March 1, 2010

I Must Be Growing Up

"I can't write a detailed love scene. I picture Aunt Connie staring over my shoulder! Ugh, what would she say?"

Aunt Connie is my father's elder sister, a nice Christian lady with strong family values, a hard worker, a caring person, a wonderful mom, grandma, and aunt. I love her love her. I looked forward every year to our annual summer trip across 8 hours of desert in a 2-door sedan without air-conditioning for a stay at the farm where she lives with Uncle Don. (Uncle Donald had a farm...E-I-E-I-O). For me, growing up in the suburbs, their farm was a magical place. Great fields of corn and onions, barns with mysterious corners, occasional litters of kittens, a henhouse, the swift and scary forbidden zone of the irrigation ditch, the wide sweep of lawn and a tire swing where we cousins would play for hours until long past dark. Sigh.

Anyway, the thought of writing a sex scene that my aunt might read made me cringe. I usually skim through them as a reader "Yeah, yeah, a hand here, a tongue there, tab A in slot B--get to the plot!" I was more of a "fade to black" love-scene writer.

Until my editor contracted The Empire's Edge on the condition that I spice up the love scenes. She wanted at least one to go to consummation. Of course I said yes.

Then I sat on the rewrites for weeks, not doing it.

Finally, I dug in and expanded here and there. Fleshed it out. I did pass it by my crit group with a query "It doesn't sound cheesy, does it?" But I was fairly confident I'd gotten it right. A few more tweaks from writing partners' suggestions and it was off to my editor with not one but two consummated love scenes.

This evening, I had a chance to speak with Aunt Connie. She asked about my book. "Is it something I can read?" she asked. I confessed to the love scenes and my fears about writing sex--that her sensibilities are my bugaboo. She laughed. I said, "One saving grace--the hero and heroine are married when they do it." Her comforting chuckle rippled past my ear. "Well, all right, then."

She said she'll probably skim past the two scenes :-) That's fine with me. I love you, Aunt Connie!