GUEST BLOG: What Scenes are the Most Challenging to Write? by Jennifer AshleyTuesday, October 16, 2012 10:00
Thanks for inviting me to the blog today. I’m excited about the release of Mate Claimed, the fourth book in my Shifters Unbound series.
I’ll tell you a little bit about the book, then go on with my topic about scenes that are a challenge to write and how I deal with them.
Here’s the blurb:
Eric Warden knows that half-Shifter wildcat Iona is passing for human, living without a Collar in the human world. He also knows that if she does not acknowledge her Shifter nature and her mating hunger, it could kill her.
Iona finds the mysterious and dangerous Eric, a wildcat and leader of his Shiftertown, haunting her dreams, but she vows never to take the Collar, fearing backlash against her mother and sister for hiding the fact that she’s Shifter. But Eric is a compelling Shifter male, and Iona’s hunger calls to him.
Eric has a lot to deal with—another Shiftertown has been closed and those Shifters forced to move into Eric’s Shiftertown. The leader, a wolf named Graham, isn’t happy with having to step down in power and lets Eric know he’s going to give him trouble.
On top of this, Eric is experiencing pain he believes is left over from experiments done to him years ago, and there are hints that the experimenting on Shifters might be starting again.
In the middle of all this is Iona, unCollared, vulnerable, unprotected—fair game. Eric will do anything to keep her safe.
This is book 4, but if you haven’t read the Shifters before, there’s enough info for you to understand the world and get where we are in the series. However, if you want to start with book one, Pride Mates, get to know the Shifters, and meet the hot Morrissey family.
On to what was the most challenging scene to write.
I can answer straight away—any of the love scenes.
I’ll go on to say every love scene in every book I’ve ever written. I find love scenes difficult, which is a drawback to a romance writer! Banter, fine; action, good; love scenes—everything stops.
I take a long time and a lot of trouble over the love scenes. I want them to be as good as I can make them, and that’s not easy.
When I first started reading romance, I read three books in a row from the same author. The love scenes were written the same way. I don’t mean they were similar—I mean the author repeated the scenes almost word for word. Same sentences, set-up, same actions. An author’s books will always have similarities from book to book, but these were verbatim.
I decided then and there that the cut-and-paste method of writing would not be what I did. I’ve written quite a few romances by now (30 or so?), and I try hard to make each love scene as unique as possible.
I know there are only so many ways a couple can enjoy themselves but I try to find new words or new ways of describing the scenes, new ways of expressing emotion in each book.
No purple prose allowed. No honeyed treasure palaces penetrated by throbbing weapons of incandescent passion in my books. (And anyway, that sounds painful.)
After I write the draft of my book, I go over the love scenes in a separate pass, usually two or three times. I often rewrite them or heavily revise them, then polish as much as I can.
When the manuscript comes back to me from the editor, I’m in there tweaking all the love scenes again. It’s helpful to step back for a time and read them fresh.
Love scenes are tricky, and I appreciate authors who take their time over them to make them special. Even after the book is finished and published, I think, “I could have done better.” And I start the next book determined to improve.
Eric and Iona’s book, Mate Claimed, has a lot of heat in it, so I spent a lot of time going over love scenes!
I want to have a giveaway today – a copy of Mate Claimed or a backlist Shifter book if the winner already has it.
My question to readers is: Do you enjoy long, steamy love scenes (the more the better), or do you find yourself skimming to get back to the dialog and story? Any opinion is valid!
Thanks again for letting me come and babble.