Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bad Sex or No Sex?

What's your preference when reading a book? Bad sex or none at all? I read this article today about an award given for bad sex scenes in otherwise literary novels. Some of these writers would clearly benefit from spending a little time with us romance writers. We'll show em how it's. . . ahem. . . done.

Here's an example of what qualified as bad enough to be nominated for the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award:

"He wasn't sure where his penis was in relation to where he wanted it to be, but when her hand curled around it once more, and she pulled him towards her, it felt right," Alastair Campbell writes. "Then as her hand joined the other on his neck and she started making more purring noises, now with little squeals punctuating them, he was pretty sure he was losing his virginity."

Quoting from the article:
Paulo Coelho for his novel Brida, in which the act of sex – on a public footpath – is described as "the moment when Eve was reabsorbed into Adam's body and the two halves became Creation".

"At last, she could no longer control the world around her," Coelho continues, "her five senses seemed to break free and she wasn't strong enough to hold on to them. As if struck by a sacred bolt of lightning, she unleashed them, and the world, the seagulls, the taste of salt, the hard earth, the smell of the sea, the clouds, all disappeared, and in their place appeared a vast gold light, which grew and grew until it touched the most distant star in the galaxy."

That is what we writers refer to as purple prose. Writing sex it hard (no pun intended). Many romance writers say it's the most difficult thing to write. But under no circumstances should your sex scene include seagulls. No matter what!

I also enjoyed this blog post today on Murderati about why we write and who we write for. Powerful stuff.

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