Friday, November 30, 2018

The 2018 Bad Sex In Writing Nominees

“Empty my tanks,” I’d begged breathlessly, as once more she began drawing me deep inside her pleasure cave. Her vaginal ratchet moved in concertina-like waves, slowly chugging my organ as a boa constrictor swallows its prey. Soon I was locked in, balls deep, ready to be ground down by the enamelled pepper mill within her.

Okay, in fairness to the nominees, love scenes are inherently fraught. The nomenclature is emotionally loaded, one false move can invoke giggles or worse--but I think all of that is less a reason to automatically shy away and more a reason to do what you can to get it right. After all, sex is a universal and hugely important aspect of being human, so it would be a shame if novelists were afraid to depict it. 

For me, "getting it right" has more to do with building the foundation than the scene itself. If the characters are solid, if their attraction is real and interesting, if the setup works...then there's at least an opportunity for a satisfying payoff. My rule of thumb is, if what matters is that the characters had sex, you shouldn't show the sex. If what matters is how they had sex, you have to show the sex.

But to analogize to comedy...the funniest punchline in the world is useless if it follows a lame setup. Conversely, if the setup is good, the punchline is relatively easy.

All of this applies to dialogue, too. Probably to everything.

And now that I've shot off my mouth, I'll probably be included in the 2019 list... :D

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