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Robyn DeHart | What’s in a love scene?

July 29, 2009

In its various forms, love scenes are probably one of the most discussed topics at romance writers’ conferences. Love scenes are an integral part of romance writing yet for some writers the thought of writing one can strike the same amount of fear as the dreaded synopsis. I can’t tell you there is no reason to be afraid, sex, unlike synopses, can actually have fearful roots. But I can tell you that there was a time when I found writing love scenes to be rather uncomfortable, yet now they tend to be one of my favorite scenes to write.

My journey through them isn’t important, and frankly I’m not sure why everything has changed, so I can’t offer you a step-by-step guide. I can tell you that the first one I wrote (many years ago now), I just typed as fast as I could to get through it as quickly as possible. When I re-read it, it was riddled with clichés and purple prose and had zero emotion. Needless to say it needed a lot of work.

The first step to writing love scenes (okay, so I lied, apparently I am giving you a step-by-step guide) is to ignore those around you. If you sit down to write a love scene and immediately you worry about your cousin or your mother or your in-laws, then it will paralyze you. As a romance writer, we have a built-in readership, it’s not our job to recruit new readers, though pulling people over to the dark side is always fun. But our readership is already used to graphic love scenes, they will not be embarrassed by what you have to offer them, so you shouldn’t be embarrassed.

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