Revised and updated from a workshop I did several years ago, this post is all about using your characters to make your love scenes unique and intricate to your story. This is the second installment, with more to be posted over the next few months. If you’re a writer, this may help inspire you to write some of the most difficult scenes in your book: your sensual encounters. If you’re a reader, you will get lots of sneak peeks into the Relics of Merlin series, which is being re-released by Sourcebooks over the next few years.
The Relics of Merlin series of books are whimsical romances set in a magical Victorian London of sexy shape-shifters, enchanted tea, wicked spells and loose corsets. Since I’ll be using excerpts from several of the books in the series, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick overview of each:
Enchanting the Lady: In a world where magic rules everything, two misfits--Felicity Seymore, a Victorian beauty unable to perform even the simplest spell, and Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-lion searching for Merlin's relics--form a passionate alliance.
Double Enchantment: When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself using a relic, the mix-up brings her real self into a compromising position with sexy were-stallion, Sir Sterling Thorn.
Enchanting the Beast: In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive were-wolf suspected of murder.
Everlasting Enchantment: In this brand-new fourth book, Sir Gareth Solimere has been trapped inside of one of Merlin’s relics for centuries, and only true love will set him free. But when were-panther Lady Millicent Pantere steals the relic, will she be his salvation or his doom?
So why am I doing a post on (gasp) sex scenes? Because several friends of mine said it was the hardest thing for them to write. Since they are my favorite part of the book to write, I thought I’d share how I do it and hopefully it will be helpful to others. Since I always seem to learn better by example, I’ll be giving examples from all my books to show how my love scenes are a development of my characters, plot and setting. I’m sure there are many other ways to develop a love scene, so let this be an inspiration and not a rule. If you’ve read any of my other posts on writing, you know my favorite motto is: there are no rules in writing, just guidelines.
(Read my previous posts on this subject by searching for the title in the LABELS or CATEGORIES in the far right sidebar.)
TWO: USING YOUR CHARACTERS’ STRENGTHS
This excerpt is from Double Enchantment. Jasmina is determined to show Sterling that she is a passionate woman, and fortunately for her, our hero understands that:
One black brow went up. “Are you sure?” he said through gritted teeth. He knew. He knew she wanted control, and his voice said it would probably kill him.
He nodded. He would allow it anyway.
Jasmina gave him a wicked smile and stood up between his legs. Her wet chemise molded to her skin; she could feel it sticking between the folds of her legs and across her breasts. Sir Sterling groaned.
“Stand,” she instructed, and he came out of the water so fast it poured over the sides of the tub and raced across the wooden floor. Jasmina rescued the bar of soap and started lathering her hands again. He closed his eyes and seemed to whisper some fervent prayer, but Jasmina was too busy studying every inch of his magnificent body to pay much notice. She ran her hands across his chest again, this time continuing down the sides of his waist to his slim hips, feeling the bone and muscle. A part of her felt she was discovering new territory, but another part of her seemed to know exactly what she would find. She shook off the confusion and concentrated on her task. Lady Jasmina leaned forward and curved her hands over the small dips in the sides of his bottom, to the full, round back of it. She ran her slick hands over the twin mounds, feeling him tremble from the effort it took not to move. She refused to pity him. Her fingertips swept up the curves to his lower back, and she felt two more very small dips there. How absolutely wonderful.
What are your characters’ strengths? How can you use them to guide their romantic encounter? In the above scene, the heroine’s strengths are obvious, but the hero is even stronger. He understands why Jasmina needs control and he allows her to have it, not always an easy thing to do. Try exploring the strengths of your characters and how they can inspire your love scene. Think about their hidden strengths as well, like Sterling’s understanding of Jasmina, and how you can use those to lead readers through a romantic encounter.
Until Next Time,