Tuesday, 18 January 2011

completed another chapter today...probably 1200words

,so shortish but hopeful to the point. It took six hours to write - split over 2 sesions. The scene shows Almir and Roland in bed after their 3rd time having had sex together. I want to show how each, but especiallty Roland, is becomming a little more curious about the other and a little bolder in his familiarity. This early time in a relationship - when the sex is still "hot" but when you still dont know what really makes the other person tick, is what I wanted to write about. Will see what Emma thinks with what Ive done.
Off to Salon Canning this evenning for a local tango class - the same one I went to last week...then around 11pm off to Tango Queer to practice(I can feel my nerves beginning to shake already!)


  1. I'm thinking about a similar phase in my characters' relationship -- they spend a long time not having sex but then they do and my instinct is that I'll have spent the first part of the book exploring their platonic attraction and that it would be therefore very worthwhile to go quite deeply into their sexual behaviour when it happens.

    However, I imagine writing scenes that are reasonably explicit and with frank discussions and then have second thoughts and think that it would put more readers off than would enjoy it.

    Are you having similar dilemmas with Almir and Roland? I tend to think that in a novel with a romantic relationship at its heart that you do have to describe the characters' sexual behaviour as this is a huge influence -- even at the physical level of releasing hormones.

  2. Interesting dilemma innit Mike...!Having had comments like 'good porno but is that what you are trying to do with this novel' thrown at me during workshops of early versions of R and A , both together and seperately - I have given this ALOT of thought and rewriting( A L O T!). 'Sweeping up...' is not of the pornographic /erotic fiction genre - I'll leave the for another time'''someone else maybe. Ive been reading ALOT too - as directed by my mentor - to see how other writers handle it. Ive also tried to develop a "my way" approach within the context of the narrative tone of Sweeping up the village. I certainly haven't shyed away from the sex - but mostly its hinted at rather than spelt out in graphic detail. You'll see - if it ever gets out and onto the shelves at Waterstones! Its been a challanging but ultimately enjoyable and rewarding experience because I really am now able to completely enter the heads of both R and A - and - instinctively know how the will react, what the would do or not do, what the may say or not say... I am so immersed in their story at this point that its they who now direct the writing of such scenes (I may have the initial idea for the scene) not me ...but we'll see what Emma thinks when I have my tutorial next Wed 26th...It might all be crap...I still have those kind of moments, do you?

  3. Oh yes. I have many moments when I think it may all be crap -- and, to be honest, I'll probably always think there's lots of scope for improvement for everything -- you just need to get a point where you think that any further improvement isn't worth the time. That's probably where having a deadline helps, as on a course.

    I presented my first extract to a new group of people -- on the MA course -- on Monday. They wanted to see the start of the novel rather than any current stuff I'm writing. I went back and dusted off what I'd written nearly a year ago and thought it was bad enough to do a substantial rewrite. And this was the stuff that I got positive feedback on from a literary agent and also got me the place on the MA course. Fortunately the feedback was overwhelmingly positive -- which is great as it's the start of the novel and sets out the characters in each of their own Londons. The negative comments were about being a bit long in places and some uninspired/cliched description but that's less worrying to me than how people engage with the characters.

    As regards the sex question, I actually think most people like to read it but are embarrassed to say so (almost as embarrassed perhaps as people are writing it). It depends on the novel but, if it's about relationships, particularly between unlikely people, then it can be a huge piece in the jigsaw about their attraction.

    I'm currently agonising a bit over a scene where Kim's wearing a heavy shirt on a warm day and James asks why. She shows him that it's because it covers up a bruise that has come up after they had sex. His reaction is mainly one of being disturbed at what he's done but she regards it as just accidental and she instructs him very assertively not to tone himself down next time. I think that's an important side to show of their relationship and I think it's realistic but I bet it would trouble some people in a workshop.

    I've continued on the sex scene I workshopped at City so that it continues for another ten pages or so -- although there's not much actual sex happening -- more about the build-up and aftermath.

    It will be interesting to know what Emma thinks. I'm sure that a few (good)sex scenes might improve a novel's commercial appeal.

  4. Hi Mike
    sounds like youre moving it along nicely. I too have re read - then rewritten or disgarded completely stuff I wrote for the City workshops a year ago. Intertingly though the piece I read in June - which so engaed 4 agents - I wrote BEFORE I started the City course - so I must have something in me somewhere that isnt crap!