As I said, the best part of conference was the enthusiasm I felt for writing. So I came home and plunged back into my WIP. I've cranked out a few thousand words and now I'm to a scene where I have to make a choice: does she or doesn't she. I'm talking about a love scene of course. Is this the right time for the hero and the heroine to engage in an intimate act? Fortunately, I attended a workshop about that topic and it has proved a real help at this point.
The workshop was presented by authors Roxanne St. Claire, CJ Lyons, Toni McGee Causey and St. Martin's Press editor Matthew Shear. The biggest point I got from this workshop was the point of the love scene. It should make things worse. Now, I have three kids so I can attest to the fact sex can make everything worse, but I don't think that's what they meant *snort*. Sex should complicate a conflict and make it worse. I never thought of it that way. Too often I think of sex as a way of easing a conflict. Kind of dull, really. The love scenes should change the characters, make them react differently to the situations they find themselves in.
Love scenes are also a great way of showing vulnerability in your characters. Lyons suggested looking at the vulnerable spots of the human body for added texture to a love scene. Again, something I hadn't thought of. But as a paranormal author and reader where vulnerability is so key, I can't believe I hadn't scene it before. The throat, the soft part of the belly, etc. are very vulnerable to attack. Is there anything more intimate than baring that part of the body to a lover trusting they won't hurt you? Very primal.
As far as sex goes, the panel did say mainstream romance could get pretty explicit. The rise of erotic has spilled into the mainstream and hot scenes are, well, hot. However the panel did stress that intimacy is just as important. Without intimacy, the scenes are just sex scenes. The panel did say there is a lot more sex in their novels now than a few years ago. But CJ Lyons made the point is that while her books are sexy, there is actually very little sex. The sexual tension is far more important in her stories.
Anyway, it was an excellent workshop and definitely one you might want to think of purchasing.