Now, to be honest, I’m not someone who gets either embarrassed easily (having three kids and a host of Doctors and nurses prodding you in unthinkable places before, during and after birthing will do that to a person). Nor am I squeamish.
I like to think I’ve lived a little.
I’ve almost died twice too. Once I was left for dead at age 11 when I was involved in a hit and run car crash with my family. The tractor unit of a heavy goods wagon had hit us head on and sent us into a tree. He stopped momentarily, before driving off, not caring if my family and I died due to his actions or his neglect. Then when I had my youngest daughter Daisy, I had to undergo emergency life-saving surgery as I haemorrhaged badly.
Both times it was remarkable that I didn’t die.
This isn’t a ‘aren’t I brave, medals please’ moment. It’s simply there to establish where I’m at in life.
I think I’m someone who has been through the mill. I’ve had my heart torn to pieces by family, friends and lovers many, many times. I’ve buried two children by the age of 25 and overcome serious health issues just to get my degree. When I was a teen, I have been so drunk I’ve not remembered anything about the night before and phoned all my friends up the next day to apologise in case I made an arse of myself (I just wouldn’t have the sheer energy to get that sozzled now! A couple of glasses and I’m asleep!). I have fallen in love with a very handsome prince and am still madly in love with him. I day dream, go off track and struggle to finish anything. I constantly hate the way I look, despite my husband continuously telling me I’m beautiful. I’ve never broken a bone. I’m scared of spiders. I secretly love Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom (Miss Rabbit and Nanny Plum are my hero’s).
All that is part of the ‘human experience’ and as a writer, it is the depth I must plumb in order to find a connection to a story or character. This is the wealth of experience and knowledge I posses that go towards making me a ready and able writer.
In acting training, we called it ‘emotional memory’. To connect with a characters emotions in order to portray them, one must locate a moment in one’s own life that is the same or similar and bring it to the fore so that it is what motivates you personally.
So, I’ve paint a small backdrop of personal experience and the potential therein to have a good handle on relating to a character or situation.
Yet, it’s ruddy difficult at times.
I mean, look at the awkward and inevitable ‘love scene’. What level is good enough for your characters? Do they kiss and close the bedroom door, then share meaningful glances the next morning which we the reader can take to mean that they did do the deed? Or do I leave it open at the end? Or do I describe in minute detail everything they get up to?
Now, despite all my worldly knowledge and experience, I find that so difficult to do. I feel like a kid – an 8 year old kid who thinks boys are icky and grown-ups who kiss are gross and embarrassing. I’ve had babies! I’ve had Doctors and midwives poke about and umm and arr over things I never thought would ever get ummed and arred over! So why this?
My characters in my novel do get it on. Early doors too. I think it’s fairly essential that they cement the physical bond, which leaves them both attached to the other, whether they want to be or not. It leaves my heroine insecure and then fed up of being insecure and reinvigorates her need to change. It chucks a spanner in the works for the hero because he never gets close to anyone and spends a lot of time not understanding why he let his guard down with her. It sounds a bit Mills and Boon, but it’s not. There’s obviously a lot more to it. Yet it’s a plot device that I think sets up the relationship they do and do not have throughout the story.
Yet I don’t know what to do. Do I write it? Do I use it to highlight the tenderness and the growing feelings they have for each other? I think that would be a good idea until wham…. I have a go at writing it and all I can hear is dodgy 1990’s sax music playing in my head from some god-awful Van Dam movie. Then the whole thing turns into a farce, I laugh my backside off at my writing to redirect my embarrassment and hit delete. Maybe if it was read by someone else it wouldn’t be so awkward. Maybe I’m trying too hard or being too harsh on myself. I don’t know.
I’ve decided I’d have a ‘practice run’. I’m going to write a fanfic (I find those easier to write because the background and characters are pretty much already there) and have a love-scene in that story. I’ll publish under one of my pen-names on a fan fiction site and see what people think. If people think that it’s silly, gross or odd, then I’ll know how good I am at writing this sort of thing or not. At the moment it looks like Kitty and Nick are going to have a game of partnership whist over a nice of cup of tea and a digestive biscuit.
I hate feeling so toe-curlingly awkward about it. It’s such a personal thing. My knowledge in order to write the darn thing has to come from having an imagination or experience. It’s like I’m telling the world I have a mucky imagination (which to be fair, my friends would probably agree with) or I’m telling you what I get up to behind closed doors. When I’m not sure it is coming from either. I think it’s just being made up on the spot by my fingers as I type.
Oh ‘eck. I hope I get it sorted. I have no problem writing about death, wounds, trauma, blood, pain, suffering, misery or fear – but sex? I end up turning into an kid again and balking at the idea of anyone even being naked or holding hands.