Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sexual Tension Is Not Just About The Next Morning

I always love to bring this topic up. For some reason, those romance writers out there really grub on this topic.

When it comes to romance, one of the elements that frequently pops is ugly head up is the idea of sexual tension. No, we are not talking about whether or not you put a sex scene in your story, or for that matter, how explicit the story is. We're talking about a bigger issue here. As the title suggests, we aren't even talking about the tension of the next morning, or even whether or not the characters want to have sex or not. We're talking about the sexual sparks and emotional connection that flows between the two characters.

We can easily go back and look at a lot of great examples with great sexual tension. I personally love to go back to two tv shows in particular. CHEERS and WONDER YEARS.

Think about it... If you were someone hooked on these shows, you know exactly what we're talking about. We spent several seasons wondering if and when Sam and Diane would ever get together. We knew that when they were in the room together, there was a lot of tension between them as they tried to to understand and explore the feelings they each had about each other. We watched them be completely confused with how they could be attracted to someone who just made them mad, or why someone would do the things they do.

Now, let's talk about WONDER YEARS. We wanted Winnie and Kevin to get together. Each episode, we watched this same sexual tension play out on the screen before us. Did we want to see them hop into bed with each other? Absolutely not. But we were completely sucked into the story when they couldn't handle being in the same room with each other. Not because they hated each other, but simply because the feelings they had for each other were completely foreign and confusing to them.

When we look for a story with a lot of sexual tension, this is the big point we are looking for as editors and agents. Now, if you want to add in those other element of not knowing if they should "do it" or the day after, then certainly add those. Nothing wrong with it. But remember that the thing that makes that "first time" so important is that HUGE build up to the moment. It was the journey of sexual tension that made it so incredible.


P.S. I will be off at the Chicago Spring Fling Conference this weekend. I will certainly try to post along the trip but no promises.

1 comment:

  1. So amazing you mentioned this! I am introducing some sexual tension between my main character and another character that travels with her. Although it will be many, many chapters before anything happens. I think sexual tension (both in real life and in fiction) is fun and makes for an interesting read. Not all the time though is it necessary and it could get annoying. But, hey, a little never hurt anyone! :)