For the last few days, my main occupation has been putting sweaters on, and then immediately taking them off again, then falling asleep in unexpected places. This means one ting. Cold season has arrived. Add massive amounts of tea, many bottles of water, and a blanket that comes with me when I move from pillow pile to couch and back again. Not exactly the way I intended to spend the first week after signing a new book contract, but it’ll do.
This morning, I saw this outside the window:
Snow has always been, and will always be, my favorite weather, and the fact that, because we live in a complex now, shoveling is not on the agenda. Every car for itself when it comes to clearing off personal vehicles, but I am still counting this as a win. Skies are clear, so the dusting is all we are likely to get for today. For mid-November, I can take that. Since this is also the day when tat first glimmer of brain pierces through the cold fog, I am taking this 9these, as I mean both the snow and the glimmer of brain) as a good sign.
This means climbing back into the writing saddle. Now that contracts are signed, the clock begins ticking. Melva and I now get to figure out how we write a completed love scene, together, and we have a date when said love scene has to be done. I have never co-written a love scene before, so this is going to be a new experience. I have already accepted the fact that this is probably not going to be possible to write with my fingers splayed across my eyes, horror-movie-watching style.
Melva and I have shared a lot over the years, as critique partners, conference roomies, and friends. Put it bluntly, we are both well stocked with blackmail opportunities, but, then again, neither of us could afford said blackmail, and we each know where the bodies are buried, because we helped move them. Writing a love scene together, though? That’s new.
Not that we’re squeamish/prudish. We are both grown women, happily married, and have been reading romance for long enough to, well, know what we’re doing. Granted, my own love scenes have, to date, been of the fade to black, maybe a leetle beyond, variety. Her Last First Kiss is going to require me to follow my hero and heroine into the bedroom, because that’s a part of the character development, and part of the romance. , and not including that part of their story would feel incomplete.
When Melva and I first conceived of (pun very much intended) of the story that would ultimately become Chasing Prince Charming (spoiler: our heroine catches him) we did address the issue of love scenes. Our plan was to cross that bridge when we came to it, and do what came naturally, which we also hoped our characters would ultimately do. Isn’t that the whole idea? We had the option of telling the story in a sweet fashion, without any love scenes whatsoever, but we knew we didn’t want to go in that direction. Meg and Dominic taking the very big step of becoming physically intimate, and what led up to it, were too important to leave out of the story, and, so, love scene time. It’s Meg and Dominic’s first time, true, but it’s also Melva’s and mine.
This is also my first time writing a contemporary love scene, as well as writing with another author. Everybody involved is probably going to learn a new thing or two. Both of us agree that we want the love scene to be exactly that; it’s more about feelings than body parts, and the scene needs to move both the story and the relationship to a new level. Thankfully, since we already have the whole book written and contracted, what we have here is a matter of connecting the dots. That came out more salacious than it was intended, but that’s par for the course when Melva and I write together. There is sometimes unintentional blueness, we are scarily on the same page, and things somehow manage to fall together.
Which is pretty much how things can potentially go in a love scene, the sort where the characters take over, do their own thing, and let us write it down for them. That kind of thing doesn’t feel scary at all. More like business as usual. It also reminds us to keep our brains open, and a notebook on hand (that notebook part may be only me, but when don’t I have a notebook at hand, anyway?) to catch ideas for the couples from subsequent books, because they’re going to need love scenes, too, and this kind of thing is different for every couple, even if they are in the same series.
This also means that I get to start cobbling together a series bible, to keep track of whos where and doing what, mapping out romantic arcs and the like. Since stationery is one of the great loves of my life, a very close second to romance writing, this is also on my list of awesome perks of writer-hood. It will also gibe me topics for a few blog entries, which is, with the current cold-induced brain fog, a very welcome constant.
Writer friends, what’s your best tip for writing love scenes? Reader friends, what makes a good love scene for you? Stationery nerds who are only here for the deskscapes, the turquoise pen is by Jane Davenport.