Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Love Scenes

This past weekend, I spent a whole day working on a major love scene in my work in progress. Laboring, sweating, deleting, rewriting while sighing, huffing and pulling my hair. Do you get the picture? No, I don’t think you can yet.

I usually start my love (or sex) scene with enthusiasm. Hey, everyone loves to watch Hero and Heroine gaze into each other’s eyes, trail a determined look down each other’s noses and linger to study each other’s lips. Should we go for it? Is it going to taste as good as it looks? Once they overcome an initial hesitation—so to speak because my alpha hero and assertive heroine always know what they want—they melt into each other’s arms, play, taste, devour. They have fun and like what they are doing. So why stop now? More exploration is in order.

In the old historical novels I used to love years ago, HE would take the lead in the next phase of the game. Now-a-days, SHE likes to show she is a woman of her time. During phase two, hands run from throat to waist and linger in between, and lips soon follow, without discrimination. Things get hot. To cool down, they open a few buttons and lower a couple of zippers. Often enough, the undressing has the opposite effect. They get warmer, even blazing hot, and they start a few moves to help each other cope with the situation, until they reach a mutually explosive satisfaction. Unless someone, or something, interrupts them, and then they will try again in the next chapter.

This is the basic plot of my love scene.

Since I usually layer my writing, I go back to check if Hero and Heroine display their emotions. After all, they are flesh and blood characters who live, love and suffer. They need to share their feelings with us. If not, I torture them until they do.

I forgot to mention I always try to choose an interesting setting that would put Hero and Heroine in the right mood. I also add a few sensorial details. The ocean breeze carrying the scent of her perfume. The taste of vodka on his lips. The callousness of his palm against the softness of her skin. Characters have to smell, taste, and feel to be real.

In theory it sounds easy enough. So why did I suffer so much to create my characters’ love scene?

Do you have difficulty writing a love scene? What do you think is essential to bring your love scenes to life?

Available at

What’s a girl to do when she whispers another man’s name in her fiancé’s arms?

When forbidden dreams about the sexy French Dr. Yves Malroux assail her at every turn, Mary-Beth puts her wedding plans on hold. The man would probably not even remember the plump nerd she was three years ago before she lost her illusions faster than her pounds. Regardless, to be able to marry her fiancé without reservations, Mary-Beth needs to confront her past and flies to France for a summer training program in surgery with Yves.

But Yves never forgets an organ he removed from a patient or a woman he dated. And he never forgot the pretty student of Harvard Medical School who has turned into a stunning beauty and seems in serious need of coaching about spicing her serious life with some fun and passion.

While too many questions still swirled in her mind, her jealous fiancé summons her back home.

Will Mary-Beth let her heart decide who’s her right man? Will Yves break his no-strings-attached rule to offer love and commitment?


Angela McCallister said...

The best ones are scenes where the emotions and purpose of the scene match. Know what I mean? I don't want to read about their sweet lovemaking when the author hasn't built that bond between them. It also doesn't fit for the hero to nail the heroine against the wall when he's feeling all lovey dovey. The actions should match the emotion conveyed. And biggest faux pas is to write Tab A into Slot B. A series of actions doesn't do much to show anything about their relationship. I also worry about the scenes, trying to keep the balance between the emotion and the action.

Mary Marvella said...

Interesting topic. My love scenes start with a lot of wanting and deprivation. I tease and torture my hero and heroine, so when they finally make love they are beyond wanting to needing. I write long love scenes. Then I go back and make sure the emotion is there. I go through again and make sure the sensory details are there to make a reader want to push the heroine aside and take her place.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Mona, I struggle with this, too. I agonized over the sex scene in my second book, worrying I'd make the big moment just like the one in the previous book. Then it occured to me if I were truly in the pov of this character, I couldn't write the scene the same as book one when I was in another character's pov. They were different people, after all. I focus more on the emotions and sometimes add a flash of humor. But emotions ante up the satisfaction of the physical aspect. Otherwise, sex with a stranger would be just as phenomenal...and, yes, that's been done in books. And when I read it, I think REALLY??? It usually pulls me out of the story. Sweep me in with emotions. But, oh, the writing of it...I struggle.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Emotion. I am beginning to learn that emotion is the key to all plots and scenes. Without it, you cannot hold the reader. I was thinking about this the other day. Two of my favorite Brits were in movies that featured battles. One movie was a huge hit, the other hardly caught attention. I forced myself ;) to study them and realized one had emotion, the other they just physically worked through the battle. I never connected to the lesser one. Won't watch it again.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Angela, yes the action should follow the emotion. I'll also add, and then lead to more emotion, Also it should advance the plot. In other words, the love scene should be so important that if you remove it the plot collapses.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Mary. torture them. As long as they are tortured the story is interesting.

Mona Risk said...

Vonnie, I can't stand to read a book where the love scenes are a repetition of each other. And you're right, each pov should allow us to write different love scenes.
My funniest love scene was in Babies in the Bargain, when he realized he didn't a c... for protection. She remembered she had samples provided by a pharmaceutical company and saved the hour.

The most intense and unsual was in Osiris' Missing Part where he used his human member to make love, but the godly one that was missing came into action to give her an oracle.

Then there is the love scene in To Love a Hero that starts with a vodka that knocks her out. And in Right Name,Wrong Man, the love scene in the Pompadour Room. LOL Settings and POV are excellent to vary love scenes.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Paisley, emotion is fabulous in a love scene, unless they are in such passion that there's no way to control their rush. I'm having fun writing these love scenes in my current WIP. He wants to go slowly to make right, and every time, they forget slow, and get bing-bang-boom fast, intense, with moaning, groaning. A fantastic passionate gym. I guess this is part of their emotion.LOL

Unknown said...

This one is next on my Kindle! Now, I can't wait to read it. Remember, I adore the cover.

I recently read Susan Elizabeth Philips' newest release, and it was quite a romp. The H and H really didn't like each other, and held grudges...but sparks flew and when they did get together, it was one body slamming into the other. Nothing very slow. Sounds like your current WIP might have characters somewhat like these! Good luck!

Mona Risk said...

WOW Celia, if only I could follow in Susan Elizabeth Philips' footsteps with my Greek story. LOL

Jill James said...

Back in 2004 I decided to get serious about writing and finished my first manuscript. I remember writing that first love scene with the office door shut and locked, headphones blasting, and blushing all the way through at what I look back now as a PG rated scene. LOL

Linda Andrews said...

There are times when I'm so not in the mood to write a love scene so all I do it write insert love scene here. Fortunately no book has ever been published with the little ditty, but when I'm in the mood, I use the same techniques you do. Layers, like a parfait:-)

Mona Risk said...

Oh Jill, you made me laugh with your description about how you wrote your first love scene.

Mona Risk said...

Linda, I, too, have written the Insert here!!!! When the love scene muse refused to show up.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mona,
Nice blog. Oh romance and the love scene, where would we be without it?
I think as you mentioned the atmosphere has to be conducive to the loving. Often the anticipation is more enjoyable than the actual "deed," in my humble opinion.



Christy Hayes said...

Great comments on how your scenes play out. I love how you go back and layer in emotions! Your book sounds great!

Babs Mountjoy said...

Very good points! I struggle with love scenes, so some real pointers here will help. I agree that the key to this is emotion--I dislike romance stories where the hero and heroine meet and then the next thing you know they're in bed! They need to get to know each other and the reader needs to know WHY they'd do it. So, right on!

Josie said...

Love scenes are all about emotion. I, too, find them very difficult to write. And, I agree with MM, the more tortured the hero and heroine are, the better the scene.

Calisa Rhose said...

Happens every time to me, Mona. I struggle with writing the words, not the actual words. But I'm working on that bit of insecurity in myself.

This book on the other hand sounds great!

morgan said...

Good Morning Mona,
Love scenes can so often make or break a romance book. I will admit to enjoying the long tease where a couple almost gets together and something interupts them. This continues on to almost to the end of the book as their relationship develops. A favorite author has the couple immediately jumping in bed, and it bothers me some. I can't believe they have any type of commitment, although she manages to convince me by the end of the book.