Anyone who’s read my longer works is likely well aware of my penchant for, shall we say, raunchier material. Admittedly, writing sex is a relaxing outlet for me. It puts me in touch with my characters in ways unmatched by any other technique I’ve yet found. But, like in real life, sex isn’t all about the sex, but about what we learn from it.
A few months ago, while I was in the middle of editing, I really wanted to write a sex scene. There’s just something very visceral about the experience of writing two people engaged in the physical act. So, I wrote one, using the characters from my “Finding Mister Wright” universe. At the time, I enjoyed the process: it helped me loose some of my writing energies, and that got me back on-track with the very different chore of editing a long work. But, recently, I went back and read that scene and had a new reaction to it.
I didn’t like it.
I found the progression and action passable, and I liked the ending, but the middle section – the actual sex scene – didn’t sit right with me. I realized it was because it wasn’t true to those characters. I’d forced them into a situation that served my own purposes but didn’t speak from their hearts. And I felt like it showed.
So, I rewrote it. I had to. For them. It’s not like anybody’s going to read the story, but I was compelled to re-imagine and re-do that interaction regardless, because I felt like I wasn’t being true to those characters otherwise. And – and this is going to sound weird and crazy – it felt like they approved. They flowed so much more naturally on the page, with their words and actions, it was like they were speaking not just to me but through me. I often feel my characters’ influence while I’m in the middle of writing a story, but rarely after the fact. That’s how I knew I’d messed up with them. Luckily, they’re generally an easy and forgiving bunch.
I guess the moral of this lesson is that writing is just as much about listening to a story – your characters’ story – as it is about telling it.
EDIT: For anyone interested in reading the story in question, I’m sharing it here as PDF media, which will open in a new window by clicking the link below. Please note that this scene involves two people engaging in sexual situations described in fair detail. Their story tends to run sappy and silly, but if you are at all uncomfortable with or offended by sex, please do not click the link for “Mirror, Mirror,” A “Finding Mister Wright” pre-fic.
I know, I know: I had reserved Saturdays for original fiction posts. Shame on me for breaking my own rule.
I hadn’t planned on doing any of the writing prompts this week, because none of them immediately grabbed me. But, while I was writing a “real” chapter, the scene below came to me. It’s back story, I suppose, of an alternate-universe sort. Or, maybe it really did happen; I can’t decide. At any rate, both Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday word bank and Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt (DESOLATE) conspired with my evil little brain to create this. I didn’t keep things to five sentences, so I can’t submit to Lillie’s link list, but I wanted to give her some credit for getting the juices flowing.
Warning: Sensitive situations included below. Nothing graphic, but I’d suggest not clicking if you’re uncomfortable with descriptions of sexuality.
I’m slowly returning to normal with this blog. Hopefully, you haven’t already left me behind! Though, I guess if you have done, you won’t be reading this, anyway, so the hopes are moot. I’ve got a conference and an awards thing to do over the next two weeks, but, after that, I’m looking to get back in the thick of things.
Did you write from any prompts, this week? Which ones? Feel free to link to them in the comments, because I’d love to check them out!