Monthly Archives: March 2015

By Jove, I Think I’ve Got It!

It only took, in the end, five tries and six sessions to write the first sex scene I expect to publish.

I got it from an original ridiculous 5,ooo words to a practical 1869…enough detail to be interesting, not so much as to be tedious. I think. I hope.

Huzzah?

Is that…worth celebrating? I simultaneously feel like the scene should have come easier (ha!) and am terrified I’m going to have to re-write it yet again.

Maybe also there is fear that I will have to start Chapter 1 over from the very beginning yet again.

I think I like this version…but I’m also worried there’s a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on with it, or just exhaustion with trying such that I’m settling for the current iteration simply because I am out of patience with it.

I am literally making this face about it, is what I mean:

I think I love my draft?

Which is maybe not the healthiest place to be.

I am just worried about this opening because normally openings come on an inspiration – to be fair, this one has a prologue that did – and I have never really had to sort of search and flail about and test different variations before finding the right thread to start with.

I am worried about having to do it over because I am so fucking sick of it AND because I am really excited to get into the meat of the story, both new scenes that are replacing old inadequate ones (events-wise, I mean, because I dropped a sub-plot) and tweaking extant scenes to better suit the themes I decided were most important after seeing the thing as a whole laid out in Scrivener. I am genuinely excited about the raw material I have to work with, and so ready – so very, very ready – to get to those parts and get this whole into coherent enough shape that I can enjoy reading it. Because it’s a story I’ve been waiting…

**stops for math**

…three and a half years to read! Actually more like 5 years. It’s been three and a half since I started writing it, but I’d had the kernel long before I started writing it out.

Well. Nothing else I can do about it tonight – I’ve shot my load (heh) word-wise and can at least rest easy knowing that I trimmed the inciting sex scene enough that it won’t be more than half my sample, and possibly a good bit less than half of it depending on what the revised final word count is.

Now THAT is a noble cause!

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Predestination: Time Travel Mindfuck of the Year

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Predestination is a recent (2014?) low-budget independent science fiction movie that released with little fanfare in my movie-watching circles. I am not even sure it had a theatrical run. It stars Ethan Hawke (and convinces me that he, like Scarlett Johansson, is secretly a nerd, because no one accidentally makes more than one philosophical SF movie) as a man who can travel through time as part of a tragedy-prevention bureau. His job is to prevent mass tragedies, not minor personal ones; you don’t risk the butterfly effect for one person. He is nearing the end of his career (a person can only make so many jumps through time before they go insane), and chooses to “retire” to a point in time where he can perhaps still catch the one criminal he was never able to stop.

If this scenario sounds like your sort of thing, I suggest you stop reading this review, go watch it, and come back here so we can talk about it, because I am about to spoil the entire thing in order to discuss the philosophical concepts it brought up and its plot structure. The movie is well made, and it uses physical effects instead of CG and gets bumped up at least half a letter grade because of that. It is small, yes, but not obviously indie in the sense of being amateurly filmed, acted, or produced with obvious monetary corners cut.

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Libertarian Thought for the Day

It’s another Friday the 13th, the day The Honest Courtesan asks vanilla people who believe it is morally wrong for sex work, up to and including prostitution, to be illegal to publicly say so. I am one of those people. I consider the criminalization of sex work an attempt to control female sexuality, agency, and self-ownership; an attempt to legislate morality; and an affront to both liberty and common sense to declare that an action undertaken for the motive of money is criminal when the same action undertaken for fun is not. It is a thought crime, in a very basic sense, and as such utterly indefensible.

No essay today; I had the natural follow up to my post on the last Friday 13, a defense of romance genre, 2/3 written. WordPress app ate it. I can’t recreate a thousand words of edited prose in 10 minutes at lunch, so I’m not trying. I am leaving today’s thought at the above.

Down with thought crimes.

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Romance Novelist Whinge: Problematic Sex Scene Requires Fourth Re-Write

This is another of those posts where I am tempted to just leave it at the title.

In the never-ending novel revision project (never-ending because I am writing it 100 words at a session, and I have like…17,000 words to go), I am up to the first sex scene. And I’m writing it for the fourth time. Which, I dunno, maybe sounds like a lot of fun? It’s not. At all.

See, the first sex scene is basically the inciting incident for the whole rest of the book, so it happens REALLY early on. Like first chapter early. And it isn’t necessarily meant to be a sexy, hot sex scene. But I don’t want it to not be at all sexy, either, because it’s in the part of the book that would be in a sample download, and something that’s too either analytic or bad (in the sense of bad sex, not a bad sex scene, which are not the same thing!) might turn off (heh) readers who are trying out my work for the first time. So, since plot-wise what matters is that the hero and heroine have sex by mistake (it’s complicated), not what kind of sex they have, I would prefer it to be at least moderately good sex and a moderately good sex scene.

Hence writing it four (or more – God forbid) times.

The first time it was waaaaaaaay too long and involved and tender. The second run swung too far in the other direction, and it was just too abrupt and selfish (on the hero’s part) and not fun to read (there was spit involved. It’s funny in a Joe Abercrombie book…not so much a full-on romance). The third time did a better job with pacing and mood, but was still a bit too ornate and also hinged on a revelation I decided the heroine does not make. Or, rather, one she makes but the hero misunderstands – it’s just one more part in their ongoing conversation where one says a thing and the other hears something different.

I’ve got the fourth version started; it’s written up to the end of the heroine’s POV section, and I will be able to use the intercourse section of the third version (also heroine), so I just need the hero’s perspective for the bit in between. I haven’t had a good block of time to sit down and write it, and I will say from experience here, that sex scenes really do read best when they are written pretty much in one go and gotten on the first take. Like, I can’t write this section in 100-word increments and expect to get a workable scene.

Coitus Imaginus Interruptus is the fucking worst.

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Filed under Confessions, Reflections on Romance, Writing

Cover Talk – Australia > U.S., Joanna Bourne Edition

I don’t feel like I need to add much to the title, except to reiterate how obnoxious I find the “sexy” covers so prevalent in U.S. romance cover art. I basically don’t look at books that have covers like this – and always look at books with covers like the Australia edition. The man-titty tells me it’s a sex-romp in which the relationship will be based primarily on the physical, which means I will find it unsatisfying, while the fully dressed woman in roughly accurate historical costume tells me the book is character-focused, which means I’m more likely to find it satisfying.

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