Look Away, Mom! (An Author’s Guide to Embarrassment)

I am a person that used to get embarrassed very easily. I’ve learned to grow a little out of this problem, but now and again, even at 27, I get a blush rush to the cheeks. I know that even if 50 Shades was a great book, I couldn’t read it. I’m uncomfortable during TV and movie love scenes, so I know there’s no way I could sit through anything that erotic. The very thought gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m very open-minded, but I’m also a private person who laughs awkwardly and changes the subject to a funnier topic when clothes start coming off characters.

When I first released Gifted, I worried about the dialogue–with 27 F-bombs and other various words, there’s definitely some cursing. So before the release, I wrote a warning post defending my use of the cursing (basically, circus people curse). A few people have mentioned the cursing, but mostly to warn potential YA readers that it was there. No big thing, right? Whew! Crisis averted.

And then I remembered the kissing (Lucy kissing someone. I don’t mean me. OR DO I?!).

Since there’s a little bit of romance, you gotta include the kissing. A couple months back, I wrote a Gabriel/Lucy scene for the second Donovan Circus book and it’s…well, there’s no making out or anything, but Lucy’s developing a habit of noticing exactly how hot Gabriel is (his abs came into play a few times) and the tension between them is certainly palpable. I was actually slightly impressed with myself for even going that far, because it’s out of my comfort zone. Because of the evolution of Lucy, a 23-year-old, warm-blooded female, I’ve accepted that eventually, she might possibly, maybe, have a love scene. (And no, I won’t say when or with who!)

My mother is reading my book. My brother finished it weeks ago. I forbade my mom to let my grandmother read it (due to the cursing. She’d be scandalized). My coworkers have read it, constantly tell me to go home and write the 2nd one. And I realized that when I eventually to get to “that” point with Lucy, these people are going to read that, too. So now I have to figure out the balance of writing a sexytimes scene that’ll make the readers happy, yet keep me from worrying my mother will think I’m some freak-a-deek. Most importantly, it should be a scene I’m comfortable with writing, because if it’s awkward or forced, it’ll show.

You can’t write for your mother or brother. I suppose, technically, that I do write with an audience in mind, but writers shouldn’t even really do that. Writers should write what they want, write what their characters do and see what happens as the story unfolds (then go back and edit the hell out of it). They shouldn’t force something into a story OR keep stuff out just to appease everyone. You can’t do it. You have to write what’s true for YOU. If you force a scene in whatever direction, no matter what situation, I’m of the firm belief that the readers will pick up on that. They’ll know you’re faking, no matter what kind of edits are made.

And faking, my friends, should be done as often in writing as in the bedroom–never! 😉

7 thoughts on “Look Away, Mom! (An Author’s Guide to Embarrassment)

  1. Thomas Rydder says:

    27…too cute 🙂 Although my wife does the same thing – and she ain’t 27.
    You’re right, though. You have to write what YOU want to…and let the chips fall where they may. It’s something like someone picking up a Playboy from the rack. If you open it, you have to be prepared for what’s inside. Don’t crack it, then blame the publishers for offending your delicate senses…

    • LizLong says:

      Exactly! Great point. I know 50 Shades isn’t for me, so I won’t waste my time or energy complaining about it. Maybe I better learn how to do a fading black out end of scene 😉 (Also, I’m glad to know your wife is the same way haha!)

      • Thomas Rydder says:

        She’s actually started Shades…neighbor lent it to her. She hasn’t gotten to the juicy parts. 🙂 When she does, I might have some long lunch hours…
        Hey, I joined up to a little authors group that seems to have a pretty good presence…you interested?

      • LizLong says:

        Ha! Best of luck to her. Even if I could sit through the awful writing, I’d be out once “those” scenes started. Egads.
        I’m up for about anything! Feel free to pass info along and I’ll check into it. I’m trying to pull back to focus more on writing, but I’m happy to participate if I can 🙂

      • Thomas Rydder says:

        I hear ya. It’s now where I take half my time communicating and half editing. forget writing, for now. The group is Author’s Social Media Support Group (ASMSG), and they seem to have a presence online. This is the guy who heads it up:
        R Grey Hoover ;

        check it out…if you like, come on…if not, it’s cewl too…:)

  2. MPax (@mpax1) says:

    I’m struggling with an ‘adult scene’ in my latest. We have to tune the editors out and write for the character. Be him or her. Easier said than done, I know. Good luck.

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