Going back, today, to revise a story I’ve been let marinate for a while, I find that there’s only one section I need to heavily revise, at this point, and that section is the paragraph of sex. I wrote the paragraph during one of those phases of “just get the thing done and on paper and fix it later”, so this is not entirely surprising. What catches my attention is exactly what needs to be fixed.
All the action is there. All the physical details are just the way I want them to be. And it’s really boring.
What’s missing is the meaning. This section has nothing at all about what the experience, the sensation, the action means to my pov character. And this, it comes to me all over again, is why writing sex is just like writing tennis or swordfights or any other kind of action. All action, in print, has to mean something.
I’ve had people ask, before, if I’m just using the porn as something to hang the characterization and inter-character development on, why use porn so often? And, looking at the kind of meaning I’m starting to layer into the scene I’m revising, I think I have at least one answer (in addition to a) why not? and b) it gets attention). It’s because porn can happen anywhere. To get my characters to the kind of realizations I need, for the story to wrap up nicely, I need them to be in a charged exchange, one in which physical action and emotional meaning can resonate, and sex is a lot more flexible to set than tennis.
Today’s writing epiphany brought to you by the letter F and the number 2.