By: Jessi Rita Hoffman
One of the hardest scenes to successfully write is the love scene. In your mind you may picture a moving, romantic interlude, but down on paper, you find it reads like melodrama—or worse. This can spell disaster for your novel, particularly if the entire book is building to this scene and it needs to be stupendous to carry the story.
In my work as a book editor and writing coach, I see a lot of limping love scenes. Some of the problems are those of amateur fiction writing in general: too many clutter words, repetition of details, and inconsistent spatial narration (one minute he’s holding her hand and the next minute he takes her hand, for example).
Clichés are another problem, and they really stand out in a love scene. Lines like “kisses away the tears, tasting their salt,” or “she was surprised by the sweetness of his kiss,” or “I think about you day and night” can spoil a tender moment with their staleness.
Chauvinism is another common problem—along with what I call “slutification.” Lines like “there was still so much about her that was pure and innocent” may offend women readers, as will oversexed descriptions of the heroine.
But the greatest flaw I commonly see in love scenes written by aspiring novelists is the flaw of excess. For a love scene to move readers, it must embody the principle of restraint—in dialogue, in description, and in the characters’ actions.
A Lesson from the Victorians
. . .
To read the rest of the post, click here:
If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
- Why Fiction Authors Benefit from Indie Publishing | Digital Book World http://ow.ly/ZNAn4
- 3 Cases of Complicated Hyphenation http://ow.ly/ZNAWw
- Kidlit · Writing With a Market In Mind http://ow.ly/ZNB0c
- 5 Tips For Writing A Swashbuckling Scene by V.E. Schwab | Fantasy-Faction http://ow.ly/ZNB3n
- How To Create Tension : Women Writers, Women's Books http://ow.ly/ZNB8B
- Writing About Sex (and the older woman) : Women Writers, Women's Books http://ow.ly/ZNBe1
- Fiction University: Nope, Not Buying It: How Do We Maintain Believability in Our Writing? http://ow.ly/ZNBou
- 50 Things Under 50 Bucks To Promote Your Book, Part 1 | Author Marketing Experts, Inc. http://ow.ly/ZNBsx
- How Authors Can Use Social Media to Sell Books | Digital Book World http://ow.ly/ZNBwd
- Basic Vocabulary And Terms For The Publishing Industry - Writer's Relief, Inc. http://ow.ly/ZNBAq
- What Should Authors Blog About? | Molly Greene: Writer http://ow.ly/ZNBE2
- Yusuf Toropov, Wordsmith: Using Plot Whisperer and GMC to Unlock Plot Points in #TheWizardofOz http://ow.ly/ZNC1m
- Are Audiobooks In Your Future? | Molly Greene: Writer http://ow.ly/ZNCap
- 12 Incredibly Useful Video Tips to Make Better Videos http://ow.ly/ZNCnT
- 5 Blogging Strategies I'm Betting on This Year http://ow.ly/ZNCwI
- How to Write a Great (and Not Schmaltzy) Love Scene | Jane Friedman http://ow.ly/ZNCBL
- Publicity Hound Dog Tweets of the Week http://ow.ly/ZNDAI