Thursday, November 29, 2007

Open Door Dilemma

For those in the writing world, particularly the romance genre, whether your loves scenes are behind closed doors or not means a great deal about how you're perceived as an author. There are certain names we associate with steamy romances, and can expect nothing to be held back when it comes to the bedroom (or boardroom, or pool house, or airplane restroom (which I could never understand seeing as there's barely room for one person to do what they're SUPPOSED to be doing in there, let alone two people having sex)) antics of the characters. Others build up the sexual tension to the point just before the deed then "close the door" and let the reader use her imagination. There are pluses to that, I assure you ; ) Still others are "sweet" and don't have the characters even get to the bedroom door.

OK, so where am I going with this? Well, in my current WIP (which I'd rather not divulge details on at the moment), I have to decide if I want the door open or closed. The question of whether they'll be in the bedroom has already been answered. But just how far do I take it? My other stories are more closed door, and if not closed, less detailed. Not "steamy" scenes, just brought to a simmer. Lately, however, I've been more inclined to have things spelled out.

Am I responding to the current trend of sexier books? Not consciously, I don't think. When romances began showing a lot more skin (I know I'm behind the times here, so bear with me) I got nervous about my stories because I wasn't writing or even considering including more graphic sex. Sure, there was romance, but I always stopped short of the act. I closed the door.

Now? My current characters aren't just inclined to leave the door open but to kick it in, sell tickets, and include certain members of the audience (if you consider the reader as the audience, it isn't a bad thing really). Where the hell did these people come from???? I know, I know. My head. Which, if you want to know the truth, makes me a tad nervous. How long have these folks been lurking there? I'm no prude, and I've read my share of erotic stories, but in the past the idea of WRITING them hasn't been me. Well, I guess it's me now. Or part of me at least.

So do I or don't I? I know it's difficult for anyone but my crit partners who have read the current story to answer that. And chances are they're the only one's who'll read this anyway : ) My head tells me to follow my characters and the needs of the story, but I can go either way, really. And do I want to be this kind of writer? If I can do it well, then I might give it a shot. Maybe this is what I need to put out there to get published. I don't know. But I live in a very small, mostly conservative town (perhaps I need to consider a pseudonym...), and I'd like my mother to be able to read my stories without feeling funny. She's not into the steamier stuff. I don't think....Um, Mom? Never mind, I don't really want to know.



At 7:35 AM, Blogger Writer & Cat said...

Most romance writers leave the door open. Of course I happen to know this book isn't romance, so you have more flexibility in reader expectation :)

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Cathy in AK said...

Ah, I must not have sent you the revised synopsis. The way it's shaping up, the current wip is more of a romance, though not in a "traditional" sense as some folks might see it. But I think the flexibility is still there, yes.

Catch up with reading it and you'll see what I mean eventually ;)

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Lynnette Labelle said...

I know what you mean. I've struggled with the same idea, but mine is a combination of how much sex and how much violence. I write romantic suspense. I have to admit, I tend to close the door when it's love making, but leave it open when it's darker (be it rape, torture or a murder). I don't write that way because of the audience. It's just what I feel comfortable reading and writing.

Don't worry about your mom or anyone else. Let the characters tell you what they want. Otherwise, it may come out as being forced one way or the other. Besides, if you do leave the door open for this book, it doesn't mean you can't close the door in the next.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Cathy in AK said...

Hi, Lynnette! It's always great to see a new "face" on the old blog : )

You're right about it being a matter of comfort level for me (and my characters), not the audience--even my mom. They'll read it or they won't, they'll like it or they won't, if it ever gets published.

Maybe I'm getting more relaxed toward the open door as I get on in my writing years, more comfortable in my own writing skin, as it were. I do recognize that this mss is a tad different from what I normally write. And maybe that's a good thing ;)

Thanks for visiting! Hope you come back.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Tracy Montoya said...

I could've sworn I commented on this one and ... it's not here. Dun-dun-DUNNNNNNN! Anyway, WORD on the airplane restroom. They smell horrible, too. I tend to do the build up then shut the door thing. My 90-year-old grandparents read my books, and I just don't want to freak out Grandma and Grandpa.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Cathy in AK said...

I don't know what may have happened to it, Tracy, but I'm glad you reposted :)

Yeah, I keep thinking the build up then door shutting scenerio is my style. We'll see. But if anyone ever buys this one and wants more...ahem...more, I'll give the open door thing a shot. I'll just warn my mother (and your grandparents ;) )ahead of time.


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