Friday, January 8, 2016

The 'S' word

I have a problem. Or I at least used to think I had a problem. Now, thanks to my readership, I see it as more of a blessing. I’m not sure that’s the right word, but there it is. So my problem blessing is that I can’t help but remove clothes when I’m writing. Before you get carried away or think me a total nutcase, I don’t mean my own. I definitely do not sit butt naked in front of my computer! It’s when I write. I’ve previously talked about how the Bearwood series was initially written to target the young adult market, but due to my need to add somewhat detailed steam (that goes beyond what is expected in YA), I ended up rewriting it as NA, which worked pretty well for me. I like a little spice in my books, actually, I LOVE writing steam. Currently, I’m writing another book set to be a set of standalone in a series, and all of them will be what some deem ‘smut’. Now I’m not an erotica writer, although I could probably give it a fair whack, but I do like my paranormal or contemporary romances to have a lot of heat.

So why am I writing about this on YATopia? Good question! Well, while transferring files from an old computer to a new one, I stumbled across my 2014 nanowrimo project, a NA Dystopian. I started reading it and for once when I read an early version of my own work, I didn’t think it totally sucked. It needs work, for sure! Actually, it needs a total overhaul as I intend to change some major things and turn it into a sci-fi rather than a dystopian.

One of the things that I noticed was that, once again, I had added steam to it. Typical of me, but I also thought I knew when a steamy scene needed to be in a book and when it didn’t. For my PNR, I included them when emotions were running high and when there was an actual point to having them there. They belonged. But this nanowrimo project that I found, the sex is without a doubt out of place. Even reading it, I can see myself that this book is a YA pretending to be NA. The language is definitely geared toward older young adults, as are the small but technical descriptions when it comes to the science behind their existence. The sex just doesn’t need to be there—there is no place for it. Certainly the emotional relationship the two share can be explored, but I don’t need to include a detailed physical scene to do this.

The debate on whether to include sex in YA books has been going for a while now. I support the inclusion. Indeed, it has to approached with care, and it definitely can’t be graphic, but for me this didn’t matter. The sex simply didn’t belong. And that’s really what this post is about—knowing when to include it and when not to. To me, the answer is really quite simple. If they belong there, if they truly move your plot forward then that’s a-okay, but if there is no other reason for them being there other than ‘they just are’, then maybe that particular sex scene needs some rethinking.

To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever publish this book, but I do intend to work on it, so part of that includes deciding whether there is a place for sex in this book, and there isn’t.

E.L. Wicker

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