Today I was working on a s-e-x scene. Well, not really s-e-x, just kissing for now and let me tell you, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to write. (Barring the obligatory bio with submission) As I struggled to describe this common thing that people do every freakin' day...and I do mean struggle in the form of getting up five thousand times for coffee, gum, checking out the window, petting the dog--you know, all the necessary procrastination tools--I tried to think back to some really good s-e-x scenes I've read in the past for inspiration. You know what? There were none! Okay, maybe I'm reading the wrong kind of novels for inspiration, so I'll narrow it down to-- I have not read any really good mainstream s-e-x scenes. Then I began to wonder why all the scenes I could remember seemed more like the writer (some of them top notch writers besides this one point) had some of those wooden dolls on their desk and was just positioning them and describing it. A particular line caught in my memory: "His hand cupped her breast as he pressed himself against her." YUK!!!!
So, why is it so hard? My theory is that writing is like standing naked under a spotlight anyway. Add to that the fact that writers know the people reading their story are going to assume that what they are writing about is their experience. Sometimes when people ask me, "Did that really happen to you?" I want to scream, "What don't you understand about the word FICTION, people?" But, being the introverted, nice quiet girl I am I simply answer, "Yes, I really got sucked into a black hole while vacationing in the Bahamas and came out in my neighbor's basement."
Oh, I'm getting off track again. Where was I? Oh, yes. Kissing. So, is this it? We don't want to reveal quite this much information about ourselves? So, we try to act like we've never done it before and just "imagine" what it would be like by describing some combination of p-o-r-n and horror that makes the reader rush through the page in embarrassment.
So here it is. I'm going to hang my kissing scene out there for h-e-l-p. I know I'll have to come back to it eventually but I would prefer not to go in alone on this one:
His attention moved to her face, gently stroking her cheek with the back of his hand.
“Soft,” he whispered. His hand slipped behind her neck. Safia watched his eyes as he brought his mouth down on hers. The kiss was soft at first, and then it became a hunger that demanded to be fed. Her lips felt like they were melting in a searing heat that shot through the rest of her body. She gave in to the hunger. The world fell away. When finally their lips parted, they stayed only inches from one another. Safia felt something welling up inside her as she concentrated on the warm, swollen feeling that was her lips. She watched, almost as if it were a dream as his eyes moved closer to hers and his mouth pressed lightly against hers once again. Was she breathing? She didn’t know, and didn’t care. Her whole world had collapsed into a tight space that consisted only of the two of them. She pressed herself against him. His arms tightened and he pulled her head into his shoulder. They stood there like that in silence for what she was sure was eternity.
As the sounds slowly came back into focus around her, she felt Scott pull away. When she looked up, he was staring out at the ocean. She felt the distance as suddenly as a physical tearing of the universal fabric between them.