sex on the screen

I’ve stumbled across what might be the secret to why there is so much sex on TV and in movies.  The author is not responsible for it.  Screenwriters set the stage, mood, then insert the text “sex scene here”.  This leaves the choreography to the director, and the emotional element to the actors.  LOL!  I don’t know if that’s true for real screenwriters, but that’s all I can do for my screenplay, as a college student.

In romance novels there are – sex scenes.  Inspirational romances have scenes of highly charged sexual tension, even if there isn’t a touch of lips.  The basic premise of a romance novel is – passion transforms – with the physical example often being – sex.  Since most of us know how that’s done, physically, the dedicated romance novelists I know will focus on the emotional change, of character growth, during the physical intimacy pages.

My friend Jessa Slade stated in her Feb 9th blog post, Romance Writers do it for Love: “what I want from my sex scenes. The potential for trouble. I want to know that this scene is important – just like all the rest of the story.  That clues and pitfalls and moments of truth are hidden in the otherwise eons-old insertion of tab into slot.”

Crafting a compelling sex scene with words is tough work.  We want passion, and transformation, so are offended by sex, inserted in story, to display hard bodies.  Romance novels have gotten a lot of flack over the life of the genre, usually from people who’ve read only a few, because of the porn on the page.  But that’s not the backbone of a romance novel (unless it’s an erotic one) and the sex scenes may be, at most, 20-30 pages of a 300 page story.

That 1/10th, or less, of the novel has to mesh with, and enhance, the overall story, the character arc, and be believable in time and space.   I quickly scan sex scenes in novels (they aren’t only in romances) because the words don’t do the job they should.   I usually smirk at sex on the screen, because it’s attempting to show physical passion, but misses the mark on intimacy, and seldom has significant impact, on the overall story.

When writing romance, I put the most effort into the scenes of passionately charged verbal exchanges, that generate clothes floating to the floor, then I quietly close the bedroom door.   I’m more comfortable with my characters embracing physical intimacy in private.  I feel my characters enjoy the moment more on their own, than if I try to insert philosophical discourse, between kisses.

All this means is that I have been granted a gift, in this screenwriting class.  I can delete a 2 1/2 page romantic tryst into: EXT.  MOONLIT BEACH.  NIGHT.      The moon is full, the breeze light and cool.  Mark and Stacey enjoy passionate kisses in a romantic embrace, including partial nudity.   FADE OUT

About Terri Patrick
Writer of Romance and Memoir. Life is an adventure, take that journey.

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