Write a Book in 150 Days: Sensuality Check-In

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by Patience Bloom

We hope you have been motivating yourself—and each other—to keep writing these last few months. We’re closing in on that December deadline fast, though I’m sure for some, it might not seem fast enough. Writing is hard work!

How has it been for you? Do you have days where you can’t bear to look at the page, hate everyone, and find yourself doing a lot of household chores?

Or is it easy—where you are firmly ensconced in your story during your allotted writing time? Do you feel that you are on the right path with your hero and heroine?

If you’ve had highs and lows during the romance writing process, you are probably experiencing the joys and frustrations that most writers feel, which is where chocolate comes in. Just kidding. Well, maybe not. But seriously, writers have to walk a fine line between being gentle on themselves and knowing when to push harder. Even more crucial is persistence. Just keep going because you love to write, even when you hate it.

This month, we encourage you to focus on sensuality in your romance. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes, this can be the hardest part of writing romance. It’s easy to read love scenes and root for the characters’ “intimate moments” and quite another thing to sit in your chair and think about that on a deeper level (remembering that your whole family might read the words someday).

Here’s the thing: For sensuality to come through for a reader, you need to have the characters, voice, and emotion in place. This is often why starting a romance with a love scene doesn’t usually work (unless spectacular). You don’t want to read any sex scene. You want to read their sex scene. If you aren’t involved with the characters, why bother?

So when you consider the boudoir time for your hero and heroine, ask yourself some quick questions:

  • How is sensuality important for them as a couple?
  • Why are we excited for them to, um, consummate their romance? Is it because of who they are, where they are, or just how confusing their situation is? If all of the above, go for it.
  • What is the heroine going through? And the hero? Sex isn’t always easy. If it is, maybe add humor or some kind of intrigue to intoxicate us (a stranger on a train, who may be your ex best friend’s brother).
  • For a romance, the emotional connection fuels the sex scene (even if your characters won’t admit it). How do you show this beforehand?
  • How naughty should they be? This depends on the characters, and it’s always a good idea to listen to what they want. You may be surprised.
  • How comfortable are you writing love scenes? If not very, you are not alone. I work with authors who do the bare minimum to convey that the hero and heroine have reached that intimate phase. This works for them. Other writers have worked hard to acquire that skill for relaying sexy details. Writing a love scene is a skill (a gift, if you write them as easily as you breathe). Whatever comfort level you’re at, consider challenging yourself. If you’re completely sure of where you are, that’s great, too.

As you continue to flesh out (no pun intended) those steamy moments, we hope that you’ll check out this site for inspiration, guidance, and interaction with our editors.

Please comment below to check and if you have any questions. Finally, Star Wars may want the force to be with you, but with us, let romance be with you–always.

Reply to Maurine

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  1. Kimber Li

    I see this a lot in critiquing. The reader should care about the couple by the time they make love, but I hardly know either of them by chapter twelve.
    I think part of it is we live with these characters inside our heads all the time, so we can’t see them like a reader would the first time on a written page.
    Another part of it is that it’s scary to get that involved with a character. To really pull off a great story, we have to be willing to get inside them and go all the way to hell and back. That takes a lot of emotional energy! It’s exhausting and terrifying.
    Whenever I get scared, I just remind myself of how many fabulously multi-dimensional characters J.K. Rowling killed off, how devastated her readers were to experience that, and how much money she made as a result.

  2. Maurine

    Those questions are pretty good ones to think about and try to answer when writing love scenes or even sensual scenes. I find that the more I write love scenes, the easier it is to write them. I guess practice makes perfect, lol.

    • Chrissie

      Just start writing a story and have it completed and ready to submit by early December…I think. Anyway it is supposed to give us inspiration to complete and turn in a polished complete manuscript to Harlequin by December. Check back here for more inspiring talks and challenges. Good luck!