Uncomfortable Editing


That silly music runs through my head when I doubt myself and pause before or during writing an intimate scene between my characters.  I tell myself, “make it hot” and “make it believable” and “make sure everyone is satisfied.”  Sounds easy, right?  And it can sometimes be easy, if the story is flowing and I just move from the beginning of the intimate scene and through it, to the other side, where they are basking in the glow of what they’ve just done.

How do we learn to write these scenes?  Well, being a married woman, I have a few ideas about how intimacy happens.  I’ve also read a lot of romances over the years.  And I use the idea of romantic sex along with the very real experience of actual sex, and try to come up with something that seems believable, yet hot, and of course, “everyone is satisfied.”

When Fairest of the Faire was going through its editing process at The Wild Rose Press, there was that bit of discomfort when one of my sex scenes was marked with a lot of red. I knew it was no 50 Shades of Grey, thankfully, but it was also not quite up to par.  And it was the most difficult part of the editing process for me.  Not because it was a particularly difficult thing to fix (it wasn’t), but because of the embarrassment I had over realizing someone (my editor) had read it, but that she had comments.

I think some of that is the era I grew up in, but it’s also just a “thing” with our culture.  You can have sex, but you can’t talk about it.  And you certainly can’t correct it if your partner is doing it badly.

But here I was, red-faced, reading the scene and figuring out how to fix it.  *shaking head*

It almost makes me want to write clean romance instead.  Just kidding!

Coming June 5th!  Fairest of the Faire by Susabelle Kelmer

Fairest of the FaireThe renaissance fair is filled with characters and romance, but will it end in storybook love?

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Younglood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Pre-order Fairest of the Faire now at Amazon or at The Wild Rose Press!

8 thoughts on “Uncomfortable Editing

  1. Teehehe…so understand, Susabelle. I always hold my breath during the edits when I come to my sex scenes. Will there red lines? Comments? I’ve been safe on the first two books, whew! Yet, it was my third book that at the bottom of the first sex scene between my characrers my editor said to redo the entire fist part of the chapter. She didn’t “feel” the passion. YIKES! I think I tried to rush the scene. I was hanging my head in shame, but remember sitting down and ripping it apart and doubling the scene. In the end, I was grateful for the comment, but still get shy when my editor reads my sex scenes. And I write steamy ones, too. Thanks for the chuckle on a Saturday morn! 🙂

    • Yes, “shy” is a good word. We are so hung up when it comes to sex! So funny…it’s just words, and it’s not like I’m looking her in the eye when I’m editing. LOL

  2. I agree with the discomfort level. They are the hardest scenes to write, probably because they are so intimate. I write them last, when I’ve finished every other scene and know my characters as well as I’m going to know them. I don’t seem to be able to pen them any earlier.
    I try and remind myself to focus not on the physical, but the emotional. How the characters feel is just as important as what they are doing.
    Oh, and I tell myself “No acrobats need apply.” In other words no one will ever learn anything from my love scenes. Sad but true

  3. Susabelle, after 10 books, I had never had anyone say anything about my ahem, “intimate scenes” until a copy editor, not my main editor, Allison, but a copy editor at TWRP had a comment on one of my sex scenes this last time. And I have to admit when I replied to Allison, who was very gracious, that it was a little bit embarrassing, getting so specific about what I was trying to write into that scene. So, I definitely understand where you’re coming from, it’s tricky stuff to edit, definitely!!!
    And I do agree with Marlow that the main focus should be the emotional component, not all the moving body parts. LOL

    • Ten books! So jealous! 😉 My characters can’t hop into bed until I have made them ready emotionally. And I like some description, but not a lot of description. I have written erotica, but I keep that level of stuff out of my romance novels. It has its place, though!

  4. I had a review on one of my books that said the love scenes seemed forced. My husband told me not to let it bother me. It did because I knew it was true. Trying to be a lot more careful and having my sister and friend critique them before submitting now.

  5. Now that I have my copies of the book, which Wild Rose got out way faster than I thought, I can’t wait to read it and see the final version – having had the privilege of reading an early copy.

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