So I wrote a sex scene. And it wasn’t as God awful as I expected. Not the sex part … umm, err, I mean the actual writing of it. Let me explain … first of all, one of the things that has always been on my list of writing challenges is to write a sex scene. (What? Did you think a Haiku would be more challenging?) See someone once told me that after you tackle your first sex scene (literally of course, not figuratively), then by comparison everything else will be easy. I didn’t really believe her at the time, but now I get it. Now I know what she meant. I think.
The actual writing process forced me to place myself in my character’s shoes (or out of them as it were) and it also forced my reality and fantasy to mingle, plot and hook up (pun intended). And what I learned was … there was nothing to be scared of … BUT, I believe to write a compelling story, you must also live it—which, again, means that sometimes reality and fantasy, or imagination if you’d rather, must mingle. But that can be a scary or intimidating idea to flirt with if you’re not prepared and have no idea what to expect.
“It’s good,” she said. “That’s not the question at all. But it is inaccrochable. that means it is like a picture that a painter paints and then he cannot hang it when he has a show and nobody will buy it because they cannot hang it either.” ~ Gertrude Stein to Hemingway regarding one of the many sex scenes in A Moveable Feast.
Why? Because with every writer, there are also readers. I used to worry that people I knew personally would read something I wrote (be it about sex or anything whatsoever —hell, be it an opinion that my character(s) expressed) and then make their assumptions as to whom I was referring: Is she talking about me? Did she really do that? Is that what happened to such and such? And I used to worry that they’d make their presumption, whether fact of fiction, and then judge me, favorably or poorly, based on something I wrote in a story. Why? Oh, come on—you know why, you have Facebook don’t you? It’s what people do. People judge. People assume. And I know that sometimes the people who read my books, my stories, my blog posts, some of them can’t help but wonder if I’m referencing them, or me for that matter.
All I know for sure is this … I write what comes to my mind and my characters are combinations of my own reality, my own memories, fantasies, dreams, observations, experiences. And yes, sometimes I do take from my life, and sometimes from yours … and sometimes from the evening news. But that’s how you create characters worth reading about, worth knowing.
Interestingly enough, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises was a Roman a clef—meaning the characters were loosely (or not so loosely) based on people he personally knew. I’d like to know what those “characters” thought of themselves—if they recognized themselves in print. And what, if anything, they thought. And although I have yet to publish a Roman a clef (literally meaning, “a book with a key”) the characters I have yet to put to pen might become my next writing challenge.
Oh, and if you are reading this and want to know if the sex scene I wrote is about me, it’s not … it’s a direct representation from that thing you told me about but didn’t want anyone else to find out about. Just kidding. Wink, wink!
Today’s post inspired by Valentine’s Day (duh) and the daily one-word prompt: expectation.