ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

Something Weird Happened Today

on February 1, 2016

I did it! They did it! And more importantly, it works!

After a very long weekend (gymnastics meet, two hockey games, encountering an awful lot of unpleasant people both on-line and in person), I decided that today is the day. On Saturday I got through the rewrites I’ve been working on (I’ve been making Act II B tighter and more compelling), leading up to, you know, It.

Specifically the big Kit/Brooks sex scene that is the center of this section of the book.

I know, I know; old as I am this should be easy. But it isn’t easy, at all. I have of course written it before, but I faded to black before actually getting down to business. But this is New Adult. The book is still not really a romance, but that’s not uncommon in New Adult. New Adults are busy people, with more on their minds than having sex, serious people, blah blah blah. But I didn’t realize how unsatisfying the fadeout was until I read through Act II B a few weeks ago. I made a three-page outline of just this section; one list of scenes as they are now, and the other of how it should read. So I’m cutting and pasting but there’s also new material.

Today was the day for sex. Explicit, real sex between two real characters, young people who aren’t virgins but aren’t well-traveled, either. Because again, the center, the heart of the story, is that people make mistakes and you learn and move on. Kit’s going into this with her eyes open.

It snowed last night here but there was barely any on the ground when I got up at 5:30. I went through the whole morning, feed the animals, feed the children, pack the lunches, nag people about homework and toothbrushing. At 7:50 I walked the smallest one to the bus stop. Snow was sticking to the street more now, and there was no traffic coming past. At this time of the morning it was a bit eerie, but her bus arrived by ten past 8 and they were all gone.

(Yes, my husband was here. He slept until 6:45 and then took a shower. This is more helpful than you would think.)

I sat down at my desk, and opened the file, and read my outline. And started sweating.

Is this really so hard? What am I afraid of, that people will know I’ve had sex? I do have three kids and I’ve been married for 17 years.

So, I pulled out notes I had from a workshop I attended with Andrea Catalano at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in the fall of 2014. I can do this.

From Andrea: “Just describe what goes where, and take it from there.” Use frank terms; they might even seem clinical at first. Don’t be afraid; people love this stuff.

Okay. I can do this. I check my e-mail and discover that the kids are going to be back soon, since school has now been closed.

Hell. I can do it. Only now, I have to do it fast.

And then, a miracle occurred. I had been planning to start from the scene I already had, and then add to it, but I realized that the scene I already had was all lead-up and no action. I cut the first two pages; I skipped through some description and the next thing I knew those two animals were taking off their clothes.

I did it–they did it. Somehow two characters took over the scene and I just wrote down what they did. I sat right here at my desk and wrote 2200 words and when I was done, these two characters had pretty good sex. More importantly, the scene did what it’s supposed to do; it expresses where these two are in their lives and their relationship. It shows that all those thoughts and feelings are normal, and so is making some jokes along the way. I typed the heading for the next chapter…

And then I slept for two hours.



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