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Challenges in writing March 17, 2009

Posted by thejinx in writing.
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I have always been one to challenge myself in my art.  Overambitious, really, but some of my best work has come from giving myself that extra push and finding that I can do it.

Not so much with my writing.  It’s not that I don’t want to branch out, far from it.  I’ve just written the stories as they are and haven’t seen the need to forcefully try to do something with which I’m not familiar.  If I’m challenged, it happens at its own pace – and some of my characters have challenged me – and not by my own intervention.

However, I’m starting to consider some things that I haven’t done before with my writing, and challenging myself to face them.

Such as first person perspective.  I get to know my characters pretty well through the course of writing them, but to really step into their shoes, to not just know their thoughts and speak through their words, but to see the world through their eyes, is something I’ve done very little of since I stopped being Mary Sue about my writing. (I used to write more first person works, say, in middle school.)

It’s difficult trying to find a character to really get inside of to attempt some serious first person writing, not least because I’m not sure most of my characters would describe things the way I would.  I haven’t yet found a character whose story would work best by telling it in that way.

The second challenge I am considering is something which, until recently, I’ve never even considered writing.

Sex scenes.

They have never made their way into anything I’ve ever written.  It’s not something that I wanted to write and not something that seemed necessary in any capacity.  I’ve made mention or at least hinted of it, sometimes – as in Eyes of a Dragon – numerous times, as its prevalence is appropriate to the setting.  But, my characters have never gotten into the act itself, at least not on the pages I’ve written.

I’ve never really been very fond of reading sex scenes, either.  I’m just not interested in it, and most of the time, it’s not necessary to the story and really doesn’t add anything to it.  The fact that the characters are doing it might be essential to the plot, but the sordid details of how rarely are.  And there’s one aspect about it, about probably every sex scene I’ve ever read, that really turns me off from them and makes it seem nothing but tawdry.

The sex is always spectacular.

Doesn’t matter the genre, doesn’t matter the circumstances, it’s ecstasy through and through for both – or all – parties involved.*  There’s no awkwardness, there’s no fumbling, neither character has to express their desires and they always know exactly what their partner wants even if they had never met before the story began, and both are satisfied nearly or precisely at the same time.  Sure, one character – usually the woman – might have baggage, but once they get into it, it’s nothing but pleasure.

Honestly, this is one of the reasons why I’m considering working sex scenes into my own writing.  I may not have much experience in this matter, but I do know that it’s not always, if even usually, perfect.  Some of my characters might be awkward in the bedroom.  Some of them have never even done it.  Few of them knew each other before their respective stories began and have utterly no idea what would interest their object of affection.

And you know what, when done right, even vivid description of the act can add something to the story.  The Song of Ice and Fire series is a prime example of this.  And two characters coming together is something natural, something that can belong in a story about something else entirely.

So, perhaps in future works, there might be a little more action in my writing, and not of the sword- or gunfighting kind.  I haven’t made it there yet, but there are parts in Eyes where it would not be out of place.  The Fire Within is also working its way towards a potential liaison, but that’s if the characters decide to do what I intend them to.  We shall see.

* The one exception to this rule, of course, is rape, but that’s a whole different matter.

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