I read somewhere that once we start believing we have nothing left to improve upon, we are doomed to fail. As a writer, I have learned a few important skills that I apply to my writing as I learn and grow. Perhaps, these skills might help you too!
I have watched myself grow as a writer, and I am happy with my progress; however, there are always areas I can improve upon. I find myself researching and seeking professional writers’ advice often, and when I apply their advice to my work, I can see the difference it makes. Being open to constructive criticism is an important trait as a writer. Learning the difference between constructive criticism and unsolicited insults is another important lesson; however, it is a bit more painful.
It is impossible to please everyone!!!!
If one desires to write about a specific subject, they should be able to do so without fear of upsetting someone. Before I continue my thought, let me be very clear, I do not mean this is an acceptable excuse for racist comments or bullying; there are no excuses for such behavior! I am referring to specific topics some see as “taboo.” I.e., sex.
I pass no judgment on what other writers choose to write, but there is a big difference between romance and smut. I prefer the former. I enjoy writing the intimacy between the characters and their emotions tied to their lovemaking more than writing the actual act of lovemaking. Don’t get me wrong, writing sex scenes is hot and can be a lot of fun, but I don’t enjoy reading page after page about his “throbbing member” or her “perky nipples,” so it only makes sense that I don’t want to write that way either.
I have refrained from writing sex scenes at all, leaving the readers with their imagination of what happens when the bedroom door closes, but it’s unsatisfying. I’ve heard from my readers that it is unsatisfying. To be honest, I’m unsatisfied while writing it. The reason for writing the levity and chemistry between my characters is to make my readers fall for them. If I do my job correctly, my readers root for my characters to confess their love and then express that love through different forms of intimacy. Denying my readers the physical intimacy between my characters is not only cruel; it’s teasing. I enjoy teasing, and I might leave my readers hanging in suspense for a few chapters (evil laugh), but ending my book without that sweet release would make me a tease, and I’ve never wanted to be associated as one.
Here’s the thing, I enjoy writing romance, and I’m terrific at it; that is until I get to the sex scenes. My work either looks like I am submitting an article to Penthouse Forum or explaining the beautiful act of lovemaking to a teenager; there is no in-between. I need to hone my skills and practice these scenes. Yes, I don’t need to share all of them; however, I do want your feedback. I am open to constructive criticism, and I need to hear from my readers what parts are lacking, where I can turn up the heat, and as hard as it might be to hear, what content is cringe-worthy because I don’t want that in my novel. (Or my blog, for that matter. You guys deserve quality content.)
I can no longer refrain from writing sex scenes to appease those readers who have reached out and told me they don’t like them. I have heard your concerns and distaste, and I appreciate those of you who try to look out for me, but not writing sex scenes hinders my skills, and I cannot allow that to continue. Please know, my intentions are not to offend anyone. I am careful not to pass judgment or misinformation on subjects I don’t fully understand, which is why I immerse myself in so much research.
Since I’m looking inward, I have also discovered it is not just the fear of offending others with my writing but also making myself vulnerable. My writing is fictitious, but writing clearly and concisely about a subject means I understand what I am talking about, which makes me a little vulnerable. While my characters are not representations of who I am, my writing surely is.
I suppose I’m also a little nervous for the people who know me personally to read my work. I realize it might sound silly, coming from a 36-year-old woman, but do I really want my brother, aunts, uncles, and grandma to read this side of me? I imagine if I talked to them about it, they would probably tell me we’re all adults, we all enjoy sex, and writing about it between fictional characters is far different than writing about my personal experiences.
When I turn to the experts they all say the same thing. Read a lot, and write a lot.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
After doing a lot of reading and writing, which is pretty much my basic go-to’s to wind down anyway, here is what I am left with, the best romance novels I have read have sex scenes in them. These sex scenes are hot and steamy, but they do not mention vulgar words for private parts, and there is emotion tied to every action. There is heat in body language and unspoken words through eye contact. I find that romantic scenes are the perfect opportunity for me to write prose or poetic lines, and
I really want to practice this. No, I NEED to practice this. The ability to compare the act of lovemaking to something as beautiful as a meteor shower is something I aspire to do.
There is only one way I can achieve my goal, and that is by practicing! Not every fictional story I share on the blog will be filled with sex scenes, but you will start seeing more of them. I understand if you don’t like that and don’t want to read my work. I take no offense. You need to be true to who you are, just as I need to be true to who I am. I can only improve my writing skills by expanding and writing scenes that are out of my comfort zone. I am not ashamed to admit that there are areas of my writing that need improving, and I have no shame in asking for your feedback.
You, my lovely readers, will always hold a dear spot in my heart, and I am so thankful that I can turn to you in times of support and trust that you will tell me how I can become a better writer. When I do make it, and you pull my book off your bookshelf, you will know you had a hand in it because it was your feedback, advice, and support that moved me to accomplish this life-long dream.
I look forward to meeting all of you at my book signing! Haha.
Thank you in advance for your unwavering support, I would not be the woman or the writer I am today without you.
Love & life lessons,