Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Luuuuuve Scene: AKA, Secks

Ok, so... consider the following scene:

Steam crept out from under the bathroom door. It was unlocked, though, and she let herself in. 
Matt’s head popped up over the rickety shower door.
“Well? How was the gallery? Blow them away with your skills and talents?”
“Meh. It’s populated with fine artists. They don’t exactly impress easily. My talents would be considered very mundane, I think.” She put her wine glass on the counter.
The shower thunked off and Matt slid open the door. “Maybe you should tell them your ‘mundane talents’ solved a crime.” He winked and motioned for the towel on the rack beside her. “That should impress any ponytailed pretty boys you might get to stare at downtown.”
She slid the towel off the rack as she sized up her middle aged, muscular husband. Her pupils dilated as she watched the water run down his chest. Right now she wouldn’t notice a ponytailed pretty boy if he was nine feet tall. Matt reached for the towel, but Julia held it just out of reach.
“Come here. I’ll dry your feet.” 
He stepped onto the bathmat, and Julia reached for his wet shoulders and chest with the towel.
His voice was husky in her ear. “I thought you were going to dry my feet.”
“I am,” she whispered. “I’m just starting at the top.” 
She raised her lips to his as she reached behind her to lock the bathroom door.

...aaand, fade to black.

Actually, Fade to Black. The above scene, an excerpt from my upcoming mystery, is actually known in the book and movie biz as a Fade to Black sex scene.

I like to write semi-cozy (is that a thing, do you think?) mysteries. As such, there are a few rules that I follow. One of them is, leave the sex scenes suggestive rather than explicit. It's not that they are not there, it's just that I leave to the reader imagination the rest of that post-shower moment. 

Now, other authors, I'm not naming names (*cough!* Elizabeth Beck!), like to write mystery and suspense that is a little, shall we say, hotter.

It is important to consider the level of temperature in your scenes when you place your mystery into categories. You want your writing to appeal to your readers, and you certainly do not want to dupe them. That's grounds for a bad review, and goodness knows, even one is cause for a sleepless night. Or three. What is this, Tuesday? I'll be fine by Friday.

So, light up those comment buttons. Tell me where your scenes fall on the Heat-o'-Meter! And: why?



Tonyt said...

Nicely said. Suggestive is much more sensual than explicit and requires greater writing skill. Plus with two daughters and a wife who support my writing career reading my work and immense respect for women, I will write scenes that have meaning to the story and not the fantasy ramblings of an hormone driven 14 year old boy.

Kate Burns said...

I agree. I do understand there is a place for 'steam'. But, whichever way you go, it is critical to place your book properly, or it may not sell, or worse, garner bad reviews from shocked and burned readers!