Let's Hot Damn

Yeah, I know. That's not really English. I don't have a degree in that. I had, like, career aspirations or something. I had dreams of being a brilliant Japanese historian, or maybe an Classical Asia-inspired Tolkien. 

Then, I find myself blaring Pitch Perfect songs and writing make-out scenes. Life is a hoot! Nothing turns out the way you expect. (Except for me and screenplays. Screenplays and I are cool.)

It's been way too long since I've written here. I can say with certainty that I've gotten over my writing slump and I'm back in full steam production mode. I've been sticking to my outline, but the word count on the manuscript is completely out of whack. I'm at almost 95K for a 100K novel with a couple huge events still left. This book is blazing right over the 100K mark. 

I also wrote my first YA sex scene. That was fun. I agonized over it for a week. I outlined (it's burned) and sketched—haha, sketch—and that ended up being the best way to plough through. (Count the puns.) I have no advice. 

I know that I'm writing YA, so sex is allowed to happen.

I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to say "penis" unless it's a joke. I don't think anyway says "penis" intending to be sexy anyway. Or vagina. We only say "vagina" when we're ready to come around and laughed. (Yeah, I forced that pun. But not you.) Romance novels fall back on "cock" and "shaft." But those feel like I'm breaking rules. 

And I can't exactly just replace those words with my own. I'm not damn Shakespeare. Cucumber? Jade staff? 

Something tells me Tolkien didn't have these problems. 

Actually, I have weird feelings about sex in YA literature. Sex is okay, as long as it's a joke, or if it's violent, like rape. I'm not sure if that sends the right message about sex, but I'm just a screw in the great machine, grinding away and hoping to make a dollar. Or something. If someone offers me only a dollar for my way over 100K manuscript, I'm going to slap their face.

And make sure they don't like it. If you get my meaning. 

So, here I am, trying to write sex that isn't a joke or violent, and I'm getting caught on "shaft." 

I just decide to write a sex scene with no "penis" or any of its word cousins. It's like PG-13, where  the camera is artfully above the waist, and whipped around before there's a glimpse of any nipples. (Or buds, nubbins, or...)

That's really unfortunate because I think nipples are awesome. 

It's really hard, writing sexy sex with the word bondage even if you're planning to just fade to black. It's hard because the sexiness is in specifics. Where did she touch? What did he do? Where? What was it like? But if you can't be specific, the scene loses its sexiness and becomes a tiresome literary installation that might as well end with the characters smoking in bed and cynically ruminating on existence. 

How do you write and convey good sex in YA? I have no freaking idea. Not unless you're willing to get freaky. Get creative. When everyone has to keep their clothes on, you can't say boobies—I think I said "breasts" because I know John Green did it—you end up throwing in stuff that could be erotic. 

Or it could just be freaky. 

It's really easy to imagine an editor cutting most of the scene for censor's sake. Which, I find unfortunate because I spent a week of my life writing ridiculous sexy sentences in public. On Tuesday, out of desperation, I considered writing the entire scene—penises and vaginas and all—and then going in and cleaning up the whole thing like a prude. And then polishing. 

Of course, I could bend over and give up, just writing a paragraph saying that the two characters did the sex and that it was good. I could say they changed and connected and gave into over fifty pages of sexual tensions. But that's a tease. That's also breaking every obvious rule about good writing and characterization. 

But what the heck do I know? I just spent a week writing this nonsense. 

Pun Counter: 15 (plus a soft one, make that 16, hehe...)

Click on the heart because I just wrote this hot mess.