Monday, March 29, 2010

Can there ever be too much nooky?

I'm on the home stretch in my rewrite for 'MMMM' but as I rewrite/edit I'm having to ask myself the question, how many sex scenes are too many!? They are all there for reasons but at last count I have five, which seems quite a few for a 50k novel.

First one is the ONS - and as it's a ONS-that-turns-to-much-more hook, that one's kind of a necessity.

The next is the night he propositions her for more and she agree to a no-strings attached affair.

The third is there to show their relationship developing into more than just sex - to show them also have fun and getting to know each other.

The fourth occurs after a heavy conversation which spurs him to wonder if they should end it cos she's obviously the marriage and babies type. She says no, she can handle it.

The last one, is in her office, when she knows she's pregnant but hasn't told him yet and he's basically decided it needs to end. But he can't resist her charms one last time.

So what do you think... does that sound too many for MH? Anyone keep a record of how many are in the books they've read? Hey... I know it's a long-shot but figured it was worth asking.

If any of these scenes have to go... I think it's the last one. And that might just happen since I'm having to rethink the BM completely!!!!

Added: This post on Bitten By Books was just brought to my attention by someone on the RWA Aus e-loop and it seemed pretty fitting. Interesting reading!


Janette Radevski said...

LOL Rach - thanks for reading my mind and posting this! You know how i struggled to fit a second sex scene in HN - well this one, PD - has three so far and I'm only about 60% through. Don't think there will be any more - but as for how many is too much? Would be interested in hearing the wise words of others.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Rachael - we're back to the acronyms - TANR and IAITE - there are no rules and it's all in the execution. There's no 'right' or 'wrong' on the number of sex scenes/where they appear/how detailed they are.,

The most important thing - in fact the ONLY thing to think about is WHY they are there. What is happening in this scene - apart from the obvious?

A sex scene should really only be shown in any detail if it changes something in the relationship, moves it on, and deepens or changes the conflict. Only you can say if all of your scenes do this - but if they don't then what is the reason for including them? As with any other scene, in a short tomance you only have so many words to use and you need to use them for the emotional development between your characters. Sex, while obviously a passion, isn't necessarily part of that emotional development. So you need to ask yourself why is this scene here - what is it changing - how is it developing the conflict/resolution of the book.

The other point to consider is that while you may well be able to write these really well - but do they need to be in there? There's a risk of making your book read as rather repetitive when so much of the story is given over to one type of scene.

But only you can answer these qustions and then decide if you need those scenes to stay. IAITE

Hope this helps


Jackie Ashenden said...

Rach, nothing to add really after Kate's good advice. In my Frenchman WIP, I was pushing it with 2 - they really didn't want to rush into bed! Beasts. ;-)

Mel Teshco said...

Rach, is there such a thing as too many sex scenes? *g*
I agree though, it's all in the execution and on whether these scenes are momentous to their growth. And I imagine (for this line?) that not all of the scenes have to be in-depth and revealing all?

Rachael Johns said...

Janette - I know - couldn't believe it when I read your email and I'd just posted a blog on the exact same thing :)

Kate - thanks soooooo much for popping by and imparting your words of wisdom. You've given me lots to think about and go back and read. Is it okay then to say have five sex scenes but some are just a para or a sentence to show they did the deed if you know what I mean!?

Jackie - just shows ALL stories are different. My couple just wouldn't keep their hands off each other once they got started!

LOL Mel - and you've basically said (in better words) what I was trying to ask Kate!!!

Kate Walker said...

Rachael - and Mel - short answer - yes "not all of the scenes have to be in-depth and revealing all"

Because, well really the answer to that is - why should they all be detailed. We don't need to have a blow by blow account of exactly who touched whom where and how - it's the emotions created and the changes that result that really matter - the 'before and after' and what happens 'during' is only important if it's something that particularly changed things.

And I don't know about you but there can be the law of 'diminishing returns' - once scene is absorbing, emotional, sexy - the next a little less so unless there's something very different in atmosphere/mood/emotion . . . The next . . . well, you wouldn't want your reader to think 'Oh they're doing it again - I can skip this bit' would you? Because I know plenty of readers who do.


who has the word verification 'fullness' which seems to fit really!

Lacey Devlin said...

Great post Rach! Kate's advice is always invaluable :)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Wow, yeah. Great advice Kate. Must keep that in mind.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hey, Rach. I had to smile, big grin from ear to ear.
Well, in real life upon meeting your answer is no, definately a big no. lol :)
It really depeneds on the publisher and what they are seeking.

In my books, if it's that type of novel, NO... there can be never too much nooky... Hell I love that word nooky. :)

Rah, upon reading your post... it depends on where the nooky is taking place.

Sorry, not much help, but loved the post. :)

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Oh hell, look at the typos... lol.. I think I'll call it a night. :)

Joanne Coles said...

Oh wow! As someone who has only just written her first love scene I have no words of wisdom to impart.

In most books I've read, they maybe have one or two fully described scenes but I think alluding to the fact they've 'done it' some more is just fine.

Maisey said...

Well, Kate has given wonderful advice. Not much to add, so I'll repeat! :-)

I was in this same situation with The Prince. 4 love scenes and all pretty fully described and I thought...oh no. But I went through to try and take one out...and I couldn't. Every single moment in every single scene was too essential in my mind to the growth of the relationship and I felt that if the reader missed it, they would miss these major turning points.

It turned out, my ed felt the same.

Actually, did a big post about this a month or so back if anyone wants to check it out...

Hope this helps!

Cathryn Brunet said...

Not much to add to this given Kate has provided you with such sage guidance already.

But I have every faith you'll get this sorted and have the perfect number of sex scenes!

Suzanne Jones said...

Nothing to add to the wonderful advice already given.

But it's great that you're comfortable enough to write so many scenes. I always cringe when I'm writing sex and I think it shows.


Rachael Johns said...

Oh Kate - thank you so much for explaining the law of diminishing returns in sex scenes - that is MOST useful!!!

And LOL on your word verification!!

Rachael Johns said...

LOL on the real life meeting Suz!!! Glad you liked the post :)

Rachael Johns said...

Joanne - go you on writing your first love scene - that's awesome!

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks Maisey - I think all my 'scenes' are needed and progress the story forward too but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Thanks for posting the link to your blog - I read it at the time, but it was good to go back and read again cos of where I'm at :)

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks for the faith Cathryn!

And Suzanne - trust me I'm not always that comfortable... most of the time I'm thinking about certain family members or friends reading them!!!

Sally Clements said...

Rach, I think if they can't keep their hands off each other, 5's fine. Especially when you have motivations for each spelled out. Powerful attraction is like that, I love the 'I really shouldn't but I can't resist' lead up to many love scenes, its compelling!