Don’t Stop! Writing Steamy Scenes for Romance and Beyond
by Nina Ceves
Whatever your chosen genre, you may find that one of your characters starts to gaze at another, and get all tongue-tied around her. When that happens, you’re writing romance, whether you intended to or not. If you don’t bat an eye writing about zombies and the Amish battling for the fate of the world, but the thought of writing a steamy scene sends you screaming, from your laptop, you are not alone. Romance? It’s a hot mess.
What’s a writer to do?
Sit back down, but not in the driver’s seat. You are the passenger and your characters are the drivers. Hold on: there’s a U- turn coming up. If your zombie character starts acting all awkward around the petite Amish baker and keeps worrying about her being in danger, write it down. Listen closely to what your characters are saying. Forget your plans, forget that perfectly elegant plot. Watch what they do. Pick up on what they are feeling. And then? Don’t stop. I’ll misquote Anne Lamott and say, go ahead and write your sexiest first draft. Hold nothing back. Later, when you are finished writing, your eyes burning, hands aching, you can censor to your heart’s content. If that’s what you want. But I suggest you really reflect before doing that. Because you may find that what you are left with, when you take out all that awkwardness and heat, is a poor, shriveled, shadowy kind of storytelling. And your characters seem as transparent as reflections on a window.
Romance gets to the heart of what we desire: connection. The seeds of it go deep, to when we were vulnerable newborns, and were held by those who loved us, and wanted nothing but our safety. We go around, living our lives, all of our wild thoughts, longings, and brightly beating hearts encased in our bodies, hidden from others. Just like in reading and writing, we yearn to break through, and get lost in another human soul. Or zombie. Whatever. It is no wonder that getting romance right, in the printed word and in real life, is filled with misunderstandings, trouble, and bliss.
Nina Ceves is the indie published author of nothing but romances: One Month Stand, Opposite Day, and The Romance Novel Cure, available as ebooks on Amazon. She has made an unexpected detour into writing the first novel of the Dark Shifters trilogy, a paranormal romance involving a fox shifter and a witch. But now she kind of wants to write about a zombie and an Amish baker falling in love.