Adventures in NaNo-Land – Crossing That Line

November 10, 2012 at 1:10 am (fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

One thing I’ve always done with NaNo is ruled it as “no holds barred”. I write whatever scenes I decide the story calls for, even if it means scenes with graphic violence or one or more intimate encounters. I’ve played the “fade out…” game or the brief description ploy in novels before, where I avoid any graphic mature content by mostly side-stepping it with hints and teases. I don’t do that with my NaNo projects, where I make a point of stretching myself and pushing my boundaries. I’ve always considered writing an engaging sex scene a challenge, trying to capture things as vividly as possible without using purple prose or bodice-ripping terminology. I want to provide interesting intimacy that arouses, not merely vulgarity.

It helps if the reader is already quite invested in your characters. If they can already imagine the character’s thoughts and feelings quite well, I don’t have to prompt them with exaggerations or over-the-top descriptions. Subtlety can work to your advantage too, letting the reader come up with their own impressions of the encounter , adding their own preferences, so long as you don’t PG it down to a case of YA-ish angst mixed with French kissing and heavy petting that seems unfortunately anti-climactic. And when you are writing speculative fiction you aren’t looking at the same restrictions. My NaNo mature scenes have included everything from an underwater assassination by erotic massage to a lesbian encounter between two of the Kagyr, a race of humanoids who are actually the animated foundations built by massive colonies of tiny spider-like creatures, with a “queen” entity where their brains would normally be, and swarms of “builders” and “breeders”. Like I said “no holds barred”.

The only problem with writing these kinds of scenes is a shyness or discomfort at the notion that somebody will actually read it (like your parents, even – ack!). That’s why NaNo’s the best way I’ve found to get past those reservations. If I promise myself to push past my comfort zone, and I am too busy trying to reach my word count goal to worry about who will be reading it later, I often cross that line with little thought and therefore little hesitation. I’d like to think the results are quite pleasing.

If you want to get a look at the more racy side of my writing, I’ve just posted the first draft of one of my “mature scenes” chapters to You can find the link here:

More tomorrow J


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