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I have the feeling I am going to get stung by this thorny subject. Especially because if you are a writer, you know which subject and scenes I am talking about already and are starting to cringe…
There were no classes in college that broached this subject (at least none I came across but I don’t remember looking either…) and there certainly were no classes on the subject when I was in grade school, middle school, and high school. In fact, if I tried to write this stuff in Gifted/Talented class, I probably would have been suspended or expelled.
If you haven’t gotten what I am trying to sell yet, then you might get this; those of us who try to keep our fiction as close to real as possible will usually find our characters in some sort of romantic situation sooner or later and are left with a choice; write out the romantic scene all the way to its conclusion, leaving in the coupling scene and all the steamy bits, or fade to black. We always can make the decision. later, to cut out the steamy bits and leave that hole for the readers to fill in with their imagination and sometimes frustration but either way, we are still left with the choice of fading to black or taking the scene all the way.
I don’t have a problem with writing people naked (especially when i can get away with saying naked, hehe) it is those pesky “coupling” scenes where i have to describe what the people are doing to each other, maybe in detail, that i have issue with…
To be clear: We are talking about consensual scenes. This also does not apply to my online novels which do not have any steamy coupling chapters. if those have any chapters (the .5 chapters…) they may be behind a pay wall if they ever get released.
early off in my beta reading experience, I encountered an interesting and counter intuitive conundrum with this problem. my male readers didn’t mind that I tended to fade to black once I gave them just enough information on what could happen, cut bait, and moved on. My female readers, on the other hand, gave me feed back that blatantly told me they were very unhappy with what i was doing, they wanted everything intact. one acquaintance went so far as to mention to write everything out and leave it in the chapter.
I freaked out at the suggestion. Write out the steamy scene and leave it in for the readers to see? A; i had no idea what i was doing, i litterally just faded to black all the time, i led the reader to where their imagination could take over and moved on. B; I thought it was a waste of space to put that in there. C; I thought i would be the worst writer of that stuff in the world. I didn’t want to turn my novel into fifty shades of Templar! I sighed and tried again with that chapter “in tact” and it seemed to satisfy those people so there.
I don’t know what other writers do but i have come up with this solution.
I feel slimy saying this; i write the scene out, when it comes to editing, i decide if the scene should be left in tact or it should be faded to black dependent on overall novel length, and if there is enough of everything else to see if the reader can get the gist of what is going on if I can cut out the scene. if there is no difference between the scene being in and out, the scene goes away. if the novel is already starting to get long in the tooth, the scene goes away. if I can’t find an excuse to get rid of the scene, then it stays.
I have gotten picky over the years. I probably aggravate a lot of people. I probably upset a lot of people by this post.