Tag Archives: sex

Shrugs, Smiles and Sex

by Kimberly MacCarron

As writers, we’re supposed to write what we know. Apparently I know lots about shrugging, smiling and sex.

If I do a find and replace with the words ‘shrug’ or ‘smile’, there would be a gazillion replaces going on. Now, the sex is another story. I don’t use the word much, but, boy do I like to write about it.

This poses a significant problem for me because I write YA. Teens tend to smile and shrug a lot. I’m sure they even have sex. But shouldn’t it be a little bit harder writing sex scenes for teen readers?

Apparently not.

During this month of NaNo, I started writing a paranormal adult contemporary. I’m about 9,000 words in, which totally bites when we’re way past the halfway mark. On the other hand, I started a YA book at the beginning of October, which I had trouble writing. I’ve gone back and forth between these two books like the fickle woman I am.

Yesterday, I got to the halfway mark in the YA. Want to know how I did it? I decided my characters would have sex. Then I wrote almost 5,000 words leading up to it.

For all you writers out there who are stuck in your manuscript: write what you know.

I apparently know sex. After all, I am a mom of five kids. 🙂 I think sex makes the majority of people happy. Maybe I shouldn’t advocate that as a YA writer, but, hell, let’s be honest. Teens go back and forth between being on top of the world and being in the pits. That was most of us as well at that age.

I’ve written five YA romances now, and I always intend for my characters to have sex, but it never happens. It came close–just about as close as possible–in my last book, but it didn’t happen. I do plenty of hinting at the end that it WILL happen, but I’ve never written a sex scene for teens. That made me rethink things. I shouldn’t be writing FOR teens. I just need to be honest in the story and write it that way.

I think this is what motivates me today to write. I am going to write that sex scene. And I’m going to curb the smiles and shrugs. Unless they’re really, REALLY sexy smiles and shrugs. Today it’s all about the sex.

What about you? Do you write what you know? Do you get stuck when you’re trying to make your characters NOT do what they clearly want to do? What infuses excitement into your writing day?

Off to smile while I write. No shrugging allowed.

Pervasive Sexual Innuendo

As promised last month, when I got off on a Hunger Games tangent, this is my actual, intelligent post about Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The King of Hearts recommends beginning at the beginning, and so I shall.

So this novel I wrote (Enchanted) comes out next month, and the reviews (which I read) are pouring in from every direction. These reviews are all over the place–from one star to five stars–but that’s good. I don’t want everyone to love my book. I want some people to love it and some people to hate, because that sparks a conversation, and conversations make the world go round.

But this post is not about reviews. This post is about sex.

One reviewer on Goodreads (who shall remain nameless only because I lack the energy to hunt it down), mentioned that she couldn’t even finish Enchanted because of all the pervasive sexual innuendo.

Now, I’m a fan of reading about sex, but I don’t write about it. And that’s okay. There are plenty more authors (here on this website, even!) who are more talented than I when it comes to writing sex scenes. I like the cheesy, embarrassing, falling in love part of the relationship. I write YA, so this is not a problem. (I also have no problem with YA titles that include sexual situations, so let’s not go there.)

But I was baffled that this novel I wrote was apparently SO RAUNCHY that a reader couldn’t even finish it. And I wasn’t even trying.

GO, ME!!!

My curious cat was satisfied when another reader–who also hated the book–went on at length about why, including and explanation all the “pervasive sexual innuendo” that permeated the first part of the book. (Thank you.)

The hero of Enchanted, Rumbold, grew up as a spoiled brat prince with no mother and a misogynist dad. He had all of life at his fingertips, money was no object, and–oh yeah–he couldn’t die until the frog curse kicked in on his eighteenth birthday. When eighteen came and went and the curse didn’t kick in, he just got frustrated and lashed out.

If you were an eighteen year old boy with all the money and power you could ever want and you couldn’t die, what would YOU do?  WHATEVER YOU WANTED, right? So he did.

Then the curse kicked in, during which time he met the love of his life, and he worried about what she might think of his incredibly sordid past…

(That’s about all I can tell you without getting into spoiler territory)

So here’s what I think: This all boils down to being a matter of Team Edward versus Team Jacob. While I never finished reading Twilight (I didn’t care for Bella and Edward made no sense to me), I’ve consulted with many folks who have. They agreed that it’s fair to say that Edward is the Celibate Guy Who Waits Forever For His One True Love and Jacob is…well…a Wolf.

I never had cause to think of it before, but Rumbold is definitely a Team Jacob kind of guy. He was young. He was a mess. He had opportunities. He took them. He had all the starry-eyed romance ripped from his life when he was a child, and then when he actually found it, he put a lot of work into picking up the pieces.

I suspect this is why Edward made no sense to me. From what little of Twilight I read, he spent about a century and a half alone and going to high school. (Seriously, how much does a guy have to hate himself to go through that torture?) If there was a particular reason that Edward wasn’t looking at every pair of legs that walked by, then I might have been a little more emotionally invested in his character.

I’m guessing that all the Rumbold-haters in the audience are probably of the Team Edward persuasion. But even in my fantasy stories I have to be realistic.

Girls, Ladies, Young Women: The guy you find, that one guy for you, is not going to be perfect. Don’t try to make him perfect. But he’s going to want to be a better man, for you, and that’s what matters.

Those of you on Team Jacob — I highly recommend placing your preorder for Enchanted right now.

Those of you on Team Edward…well, you’re just going to have to wait for the sequel.

Which Team are you? Or do you want to fight with me about Twilight? Bring it on. Conversations make the world go round.