Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday's Classroom

Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes - Lesson #3
© 2010 Lynn Crain

Here we are, back again with the third lesson in my Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes class. I do hope you are enjoying this as I haven’t gotten much feedback so far. But what I’m seeing is allowing me to make this class better!

Please enjoy this lesson!

Lesson 3

Add love scenes when the characters want to make love, not when you want them to make love.

This is one of the hardest things that an author has to do and that’s called pacing. Again, I relate it back to your own experiences. What happened when you rushed something? Did it work out well? Chances are it didn’t. It’s like rushing a cake; if you take it out too soon, it’s not done, too late and it can be burnt to a crisp.

Everything has a pace, be it fast or slow. When you truly listen to your characters, they will tell you when they need to make love and when they need to argue. Part of adding steam is to know when things are right for the characters, not when a ‘formula’ tells you a love or sex scene needs to be added.

I’m a pantser and all of my stories are character driven.

Some of you may have heard of this term and some of you may not. When I started my writing career, I was anal about planning. I had charts on characters, charts on plots, I played the ‘what if’ game and twenty questions for each of my chapters. I would plan every detail to the nth degree because I wanted things as perfect as I could make them.

Now days, I write by the seat of my pants most of the time because I work things out in my head and follow that plan but not so stringently because I’ve learned to listen to my characters. I know more about them sometimes than I do my own kids. I write what the characters want me to write, which is their story. Nothing more, nothing less.

It is true, however, that there are some stories I still plan to the nth degree and those would be my heavy fantasy or futuristic stories. Those are just as much about the world building as they are about the characters or the plot for that matter. If you don’t plan those, you can get caught in your own plot pitfalls because you haven’t done your planning.

What is right for the characters needs to be right for you as the writer.

There are times when your characters might ask you to write something controversial or not right for you to write. I know it sounds strange but if your characters need to do something that you find objectionable, then maybe their story needs to be written by some one else.

Now this isn’t the same as you being embarrassed over a love scene or something of that nature. When first learning to write love scenes, they can be very disconcerting if you’ve never done that before. I know that the very first time I wrote a BDSM scene, I would get up, walk away from the computer and mutter, ‘I can’t believe I just wrote that’ and mean it. It wasn’t until I had been writing the story for a month that I felt comfortable with it.

Part of the reason that I could continue to write their story was that I didn’t feel bad about writing something done in an adult consensual situation. Adults can and do make their own decisions. My characters were adults. They had adult minds and adult thoughts. They could handle what was going to happen to them. True, you say they were just characters but to me they weren’t and it’s all about perspective.

Listen to your characters as they will tell you what they need.

This is just as important as any other issue talked about here. Characters will tell you what is important to them. In the story I mentioned above, the heroine needed to have a deep, dark fantasy fulfilled to fall in love with the one man she could. I gave her that situation and what happened in it was fulfilling for her.

Your characters need to be as satisfied with the outcome of your story as you are. Sometimes it won’t be a happily ever after but it will always be satisfying.


1. Give me a scenario where a love scene would be appropriate for your characters.

2. Give me a scenario where a love scene would be inappropriate for your characters.

3. What type of writer do you want to be and why? (Pantser or planner)

4. Why do you think it’s appropriate to listen to your characters?

5. When wouldn’t it be appropriate to listen to your characters?

See you all next week for Lesson #4 in Wednesday’s Classroom!



  1. I agree with you about letting your characters tell you when is the right time for a sex scene. And just how hot it should be. I have had friends tell me they now know what I like to do with my husband! I ask them if they really believe that, say, Laurell Hamilton has to have a vampire, 2 were-leopards and a werewolf in bed with her in order for her to be happy! Hey folks, that's why it's called FICTION!

  2. Hi Lynn,
    a very interesting post. I'm no writer but the pacing makes sense. If the characters don't lead the reader right into their love making and let us know it's time I dn't think it would feel right.
    I always enjoy your classes. Hey, maybe I'll go back to dreaming of being a writer. :) Nah, I love reading what you talented Authors create for me. :)
    Carol L.