Friday, March 16, 2012

Weaving Sex, Humor, and Awkward Moments into a Story: Guest Blog by Holly Robinson

One of the most difficult things for a writer to create is a convincing sex scene. Sure, it's entertaining to write (and to read) erotica where the characters are getting it on every twenty minutes in every imaginable pose, never having to worry about kids interrupting or dirty dishes cluttering the table when they're experiencing a fit of passion. But what if you want to write sex scenes that ring true? Is that even worth doing?

I decided to try. In writing Sleeping Tigers, I created an adventure story featuring Jordan, a young woman whose very soul has been turned inside out by a sudden brush with mortality. She ends up leaving the safe life she has carefully constructed for herself and driving to California to spend the summer with her best friend, Karin. She ultimately travels to Nepal in an attempt to save her brother Cam's life. Throughout the book, she experiences erotic encounters, including a striptease by a male lover and a leisurely afternoon in a Himalayan hot springs with a guy eager to show her just how much fun a girl can have at 15,000 feet.

Instead of writing these scenes as pure erotica, I made them gritty and realistic, infusing humor and awkward moments into what otherwise might have come across as cliched hookup scenes. Few of Jordan's down-and-dirty moments go exactly the way she—or you—might expect.

How did I go about doing this? For one thing, I tried to play with the language. For instance, I chose to describe a certain male attribute as a “cocktail pickle” because it belongs to a guy just emerging from the chilly Pacific surf.

I also gave the characters emotional conflicts that were directly tied to their sexual identities. Karin, Jordan's best friend, has been free-and-easy in her approach to sex, even making love to “all of Mexico” in a single encounter with a young waiter. Jordan's brother, Cam, has sex with a teenaged drug addict and suffers devastating consequences—but his mistake helps him and Jordan both heal. And Jordan discovers, through trying to hook up with men like Karin does, that she's not really wired for easy sexual encounters after all.

Sex, like writing, is all about communication, and when you weave sex into a story, you can convey profound messages about what it means to be human.

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Sleeping Tigers

By Holly Robinson

Jordan O'Malley has everything she ever wanted: a job she loves, a beautiful home, and a dependable boyfriend. When her life unravels after a breast cancer scare, Jordan decides to join her wildest childhood friend in San Francisco and track down her drifter brother, Cam, who harbors secrets of his own.

When Cam suddenly flees the country, Jordan follows, determined to bring him home. Her journey takes her to the farthest reaches of majestic Nepal, where she encounters tests—and truths—about love and family that she never could have imagined.

Funny, heartbreaking, and suspenseful, Sleeping Tigers reminds us all that sometimes it's better to follow your heart instead of a plan.

Get it for the Kindle and in paperback


Biography: Holly Robinson


Holly Robinson is a journalist and comic whose work appears regularly in national venues such as Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Huffington Post, Ladies' Home Journal, More, Open Salon and Parents. Her first book, The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir, was published by Harmony Books in May 2009 and was released in paperback in June 2010. It was a Barnes & Noble memoir selection as well as a Target Breakout Book.

Ms. Robinson holds a B.A. in biology from Clark University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She and her husband have five children, two cats, a single gerbil and two very stubborn small dogs. They are currently renovating an antique house north of Boston, and will probably never finish it.

To learn more about Holly Robinson, please visit www.authorhollyrobinson.com

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