Thursday, April 2, 2009

Love Scenes

I like love scenes. I always have. I’m notorious for looking through a book to find the “kissing scenes” and reading them before I start the book. I like a good plot, but without amazing love scenes I’m tempted to put the story down. That’s why well written love scenes are important to master.

Writing a love scene can sometimes be the most difficult for writers. We have to step up and make the emotion affective without the benefit of a massive amount of dialogue. We have to understand body language and not be afraid to get into the character's heads. Often we have to overcome our inhibitions. Love scenes can cover the gambit from sweet to hot but each one has to be believable. Each must make the reader tingle, their heart pick up its pace and heat the body. The reader has to have satisfaction from the experience which is true with all elements of a book but especially necessary for a love scene.

My husband thinks all the love scenes I write come from experience. Some parts might. (I’m not telling which ones.) Love scenes need to be larger than life. They have to catch the reader up in the action and carry them away. Well written scenes bring the reader in so that they become the character not leaving them as a voyeur hanging above looking at the act. When the reader isn’t involved, that makes the scene less rewarding, or would even be considered dirty in the type of books I write.

This is excerpt of a scene from my book “Mistress of Ian’s Castle.”

Allison sighed.

Ian’s hands paused, and then moved again across her sensitized skin. Cupping her heel in his palm, he held her foot so that his hand filled the hollows on either side. He ran his other hand over the ridge of her foot alternating pressure. She registered each scuttle shift of his fingers.
Laying her head back against the chair, Allison slid into a reclining position, unknowingly leaving much of her thigh for Ian’s view.

Her eyes lowered in pleasure.

His fingers glided over the tops of each toe, before he tugged on first the big one, continuing until her baby toe begged to be treated to the same attention.

A purr of delight passed her barely parted lips, like a soft breeze across a still pond. A grown of protest followed Ian setting that foot over his leg, but dissipated when he moved to the other one.

He explored the new appendage with the same attention to detail he’d given the first.
Oh, the man had the touch!

Through with the last toe, he lifted her leg. Eyes clouded with desire, she look at his lowered toffee colored head. In the time it took her to wonder what he would do next, she felt the coolness of his lips on her calf.

His mouth made a soft sound that echoed in the quiet room as his lips left her skin. The spot his mouth touched went from blue flame hot to iceberg cold in record time as his lips lifted. A stream of pleasure raced along her legs.

Before she recovered, Ian again found the same spot, nipping her skin. She jerked. One of his hands continued to hold her ankle in a tender but firm grip, while the other palm caressed the underside of her leg inching upwards.

Beating so strongly, her heart jumped erratically as he continued kissing her. Could her heart stand much more?

His fluttering butterfly kisses along her leg followed the same path his hand had taken.
Allison squirmed.

Finding the small mole beside her knee he covered it with his lips. He looked at her. His gaze smothered with his need.

Okay, not all love making happens in the bedroom. What would you suggest to up the wattage in this scene? What’s your idea of a love scene?


Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning Susan!
I'm still working on my first love scenes and still have no clue about what works! Thanks for sharing some of your writing today.

I don't know how readers feel about the sensual foot massage, but almost any attention to my feet is great if my dear one wants a little action later!

CiCi Barnes said...

I, too, love love scenes. They really can make or break a book for me.

I find that when I'm writing them, I do best when I'm listening to love songs. "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" soundtrack or "Somewhere in Time" soundtrack. Also, "Take My Breath Away" from "Top Gun". And I have four CDs, "Classics for Lovers", that put me in the love-scene-writing mood.

I then take that alpha male and give him a gentle side. Like the song says, "I like a man with a slow hand, I like a man with an easy touch. I want a man who will spend some time, Not coming on in a heated rush. I like a man who will understand, I want a man with a slow hand." Thank you Pointer Sisters for that perfect definition of a love scene.

Ah, your post has put me in the mood to write a love scene. See you guys later.


Emma Lai said...

Fantastic scene and great summary of what needs to go into a love scene.

Anna Steffl said...

I'm kicking Allison out of Ian's castle so I can move in.

Thanks for sharing! You did a great job on the scene. Sometimes I get kind of squirmy reading the sexy scenes, but you did it so well that I just allowed myself to enjoy it.

Cyrano said...

I would suggest nothing Susan. The scene you shared with us was chaste, but also incredibly erotic. That's not an easy feat and you did it perfectly. Bravo.
Over the years writing love scenes has gotten easier for me. At first all I conjured were kisses, but I've steadily worked my way up to an erotic romance. And an ER wouldn't sell if its hero and heroine just kissed. I've found, the more I write a love scene or sex scene, the...not easier it gets, but I feel more comfortable writing it. I just wrote a really hot one a week ago. I wouldn't be able to share that one on PFHT. Tooooo racy.
Thanks again for sharing your excerpt. I really enjoyed it and would love to read more one day.
Have a wet, windy, but happy day,

Susan May said...

All you have been very kind. I lost some sleep over posting the scene. I will tell you that it isn't all of it, but all I was willing to put out on a blog.

Linsey Lanier said...

I see you're taking on the "Fever" part of April's theme. LOL.

Very nice scene, Susan. I had a feeling you were just getting warmed up. The only thing I would change would be these two sentences (forgive me. I'm a tweaker).

Beating so strongly, her heart jumped erratically as he continued kissing her. Could her heart stand much more?


Beating so strongly, her heart jumped as he continued kissing her. How could she stand much more?

Other than that, I love it. Hope an editor does, too. Thanks for being brave. :)


Nicki Salcedo said...

I still giggle at the thought of writing love scenes. Susan, you are my hero for revealing this piece.

As for me, my favorite part of love scenes are when nothing physical is happening...yet! And you know its coming. :-)

I might strike the word "appendage" and maybe use the word "limb." But don't worry about my opinion. I call my kids my "appendages" and they don't seem to mind!

Thanks for sharing.

Maxine Davis said...

Loved the scene. It was so sweet yet sensual.

You nailed it! (no pun intended)

Tami Brothers said...

Great scene, Susan!!! I love this kind of lead into a love scene. I usually embarrase myself with my own scenes because I can't quite thinking of what my mom (or even my husband) will think.

I'm getting better about that, but scenes like this just connect with me!!!

Thanks for sharing.

Tami Brothers

Mary Marvella said...

Susan! Hot! I do enjoy love scenes that tease both characters and readers.