And the prize for bluntest title goes to…

It is perhaps surprising that I’ve never blogged about sex before, since plenty of novels feature it (don’t ask me for stats, oh no). However, a conversation with a Scribophile writing buddy earlier today set off a mildly illuminating wee train of thought. I thought I’d share.

“Sex or no sex by the end of the book” was the question (man it feels weird not having to cite sources #historystudent) and the answer was “…um.” You see, I myself have come across something rather intriguing as I approach the close of the 2nd draft of Ironfang. Val, my protag, isn’t getting any, and its through no fault of mine. You see, in the script she was lined up to get it on, albeit only once and non-gratuitously. But it just hasn’t happened, and nor is it showing any signs of occurring in the near future.

This was the first time I’ve ever typed “sex” into Google Images with honest intentions…

Now, I’ve always scoffed at writers who say “oooh, my characters are always defying me and doing stuff I never intended.” I’ve always been like “pft, yeah. That’s just another of those writer myths we tell muggles to make ourselves seem more mysterious and muse-ey.” Now, however, I find myself faced by categorical refusal from my own main character. I can do nothing but allow this sass to stand – Val is right, the babymaking wouldn’t fit the overall plot or even the tone of the book.

When asked “sex or no sex,” my response was along the lines of “be true to the book, but when in doubt go for it – humans love to be titillated.” My words still stand, but the revelation about my own character’s recalcitrance has been an eye-opener. For the record, Val’s prospective mate has been equally reluctant to drop his trews, consistently closing scenes with explosive action or awkward moments, neither of which are generally any good for seguing into the bedsheets.

The upside of all this is at least now I can be one of those annyoing people who goes on about how “true” they are to their characters. It also means I can focus on proper yucky stuff, like werewolves eating people.



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5 responses to “Sex

  1. Anneque G. Malchien

    To bang, or not to bang?
    You make a good point about sex not fitting the overall tone of the book. When writing, I try to consider sex in the same way as violence. That is, there are a thousand variations of each, from subtle to intensely graphic, and there aren’t many stories (or good stories) without connotations of both.

    For actual sex scenes? I almost have to put it down to the prudishness/ salaciousness of the author. Sometimes also the character, granted. 😀
    But while there are of course people who feel more and less comfortable writing violence, I have to wonder why we are so much more accepting of gratuitous violence than gratuitous sex.

    Forget all this fussin and a-feudin and let’s get down to some lovin.

    • I think it may be down to familiarity. The average reader, thankfully, has little experience of gratuitous violence, be it on a fantasy battlefield, in a dark alleyway, onboard a space battle cruiser or locked in the confines of an FBI cell. By contrast, 99% of readers have at least basic, and often extensive, personal experience when it comes to sex. This ramps up the reader’s ability to empathize a hundred fold, which in turn can cause discomfort, in the same way that we feel uncomfortable when forced to admit we care and feel for fictions characters and events.

  2. Generally I end up with sex in my novels, because I really like writing sex scenes, but just like your Val, sometimes my characters just don’t feel like getting it on. You gotta respect the work.

    And good title 😉

  3. Victoria

    Your blog made me chuckle today 😀 xxxxxx

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