Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Sex Scene That Wasn't; or, When You Say Yes and the Characters Say No

Something amusing happened to me last weekend.

In one of the stories I'm currently writing, I had reached the point where the next thing in my mental outline was for the main male character to seduce the main female character. I had, in fact, been looking forward to writing the scene with (shall we say) a certain amount of anticipation.

Now, I'm not the sort of writer who goes around throwing gratuitous sex scenes into every story I write, just for the shock factor of it. When I do include them, it's because there's a reason they need to be there. They further the plot, or develop a relationship, or define a character.

In this particular instance, the MMC was supposed to seduce the MFC so that later, when he has to try to persuade her to do something, they've developed the closeness that would allow him to talk her over to his side more easily. So I created a setting, and got them into it, and gave them the space to let it happen...

And then I discovered that the MFC really wasn't the kind of girl who would go hopping into a strange guy's bed on the first date. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't see any way for him to persuade her to take that vital step with him.

The turning point was here:

Then his finger traced the neckline of my dress, and I remembered – for tonight, I was beautiful. I was sexy and voluptuous and wearing a low-cut dress. It seemed a shame to waste that. Would it be so wrong to give in to him?

Yes, said my conscience, in my mother’s voice.
Let's face it. There are some things you just can't argue with. Mom's voice in your head when you're trying to get it on with this hawt dude you just met? That's definitely one of them.

So what do other people do when it's time for your characters to hop into bed together, but they're not inclined? What about the opposite situation, where characters aren't supposed to hook up, but they do anyway?