Tag Archives: awkward authoress

Sexiness and the Awkward Authoress

I readily admit that I am not very good at sexiness, in my writing or in real life. I steer clear of book covers with half-naked people on them (I’m lookin’ at you, Fabio), and Magic Mike or 50 Shades of Gray hold absolutely no appeal. After getting a review or two about how my characters’ relationships and interactions are not steamy enough, I began to get a little more than frustrated. What if the author didn’t want to have her characters get into sexy romps? What if she wanted to explore intimacy through non-sexual interactions?

Immediately I began venting to my best friend about the issue and then posted on a women’s writing group that I am part of on Facebook. I expected to get some responses from people who agreed with others saying to suck it up and cave into society’s demand for clandestine moments and characters exploring their “inner goddesses,” but I was shocked to find that many writers agreed with me and that the overarching message was to stay true to myself and my characters.

Before I am a writer, I am a reader, and when I write, I keep myself first and foremost in mind. What would I want to read? What turns me off as a reader? I’m not a complete prude, I like reading romantic scenes and intimate moments between characters that obviously care deeply for each other. If those scenes include sex, that’s fine. For me, as long as the emotional connection is there, I’m usually more than okay with it. What I cannot stand is gratuitous sex or violence in a work with no other purpose than to arouse or scandalize the reader. Recently I decided to read some paranormal romance in preparation for a series I intend to write in the future. I was incredibly disappointed by the series I downloaded as a bundle. Like clockwork every thirty or forty pages there was an erotic scene. Rolling my eyes, I read through plenty of moaning and groaning, but what made it awkward wasn’t the acts themselves, it was that the characters could have been anyone. It was as if the scenes were written in a vacuum with blank-faced characters. If the reader cannot connect with your characters and want to share in the intimacy, why bother writing these scenes?

I should outright say the reason I tend not to write sex scenes in my books. It isn’t because I’m a prude or think sex should never appear in novels, it just never seems to fit in what I’m writing. I enjoy writing the lead up or those tender private moments, but once your characters are in the heat of the moment, can they really express themselves enough to further plot or character development? My main thought is: sex is not the be all and end all of romance or intimacy. You can have sex without romance, so why not have romance without sex?

Some other avenues of intimacy to explore are obvious, kissing, cuddling, undressing, touching, embracing. What are your characters thinking as these things happen? Does s/he enjoy these things? Are they doing them to please their partner? How are they doing them? With urgency, slowly, passionately, coolly? How a character does something says just as much as why they are doing it. Why not play with different forms of love? There is sexual love, romantic love, and platonic love, so you aren’t limited to just couples. Friends can be intimate with one another as easily as couples. When you’re upset, does your friend wrap their arms around you or speak close and quietly to make you feel better?

Romantic moments are as much about sexuality as they are about intimacy. They don’t necessarily have to be the same thing.


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The Anxieties of the Awkward Authoress

Fears…

Most of us probably have a list of fears that we keep tucked close, hidden where they cannot be seen, where others cannot seek to infiltrate and destroy us.  I’m pretty open with a lot of my fears.  In the past I have wondered if there was anyone else who felt the same way I did, so by sharing my experiences, I hope I can spare someone that feeling.  This weekend, I confronted one of my main fears– social anxiety.

I feel I am getting better about dealing with a lot of people in one area.  It’s odd, I can go around New York City, moving shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, but when the crowd is vying for my attention and wants to talk (and go off script), it’s hard to deal with.  At my university, I worked two events, one Saturday and one Sunday. Sunday’s event was an open-house, which I’ve done several times already, but Saturday was my first writer’s conference.  Luckily, I was only manning the sign-in desk along with the other graduate assistant. Unfortunately, I forgot the signs I printed earlier in the week, which threw me off, but thank god, there was a script I repeated about eighty times that day.

For the rest of the day, it was smooth sailing, but when I got home, I threw myself down and took a two and a half hour nap to recharge. I should really say surrendered to the nap. I don’t think I could have stopped it.  That’s what happens quite often with social anxiety. Dealing with other people is stressful. They’re unpredictable, sometimes rude, pushy. More than often, they’re none of the aforementioned things, but one never knows when they’ll surprise you.

In May, I’m doing a reading and small seminar at the Steampunk World’s Fair, and of course, I’m worried about it. I worry about not making a good impression or that I’ll be dreadfully boring. Will I stutter or will they hate my books?  If more than a handful of people show up, will I freak out? Of course I will. I’ll bring water and coffee and possibly a bag to hyperventilate into, but I won’t stop myself from doing my reading.  Probably a dozen times I’ve asked myself why I signed-up to do a reading. I’m a nobody author with a tiny following.  I know at least two people will show up, and if more than that comes, I’ll be eternally grateful.  As a writer, my biggest fear is that they’ll hate my books. As a person, my biggest fear is I’ll make an ass of myself. Honestly, they aren’t too far from each other.

No matter how many times I read aloud or do group events, the fear is still there. I’m hoping that practicing every few days for about three weeks leading up to the reading will help to lessen my fears. Pretending not to be an anxiety-ridden introvert takes a lot of energy, and I’m beginning to wonder how long I’ll sleep after the Steampunk World’s Fair.

On the topic of the Steampunk World’s Fair, I’m supposed to have a short story in a you pay what you want bundle along with several other artists and musicians.  When I get more information about the bundle or what day I’ll be giving my reading, I will let you know, but for now, if you want to get a ticket, which is good for Friday to Sunday, please go here.


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Filed under Personal Life, Writing