State of the Collaboration: How to Brainstorm a Sex Scene

Yes, I’m still alive. I’m filling dumpsters and throwing out things with abandon. I’m sure when this is all done, I’ll be thrilled. Or at least glad it’s all done.

But we are still working on Rocky Start. Bob is solving a Russian problem, and I am once more stuck with the sex scene(s). Because the YEC is my part of the partnership.*


* YEC = Yucky Emotional Crap
** Taking One for the Team Debacle
*** Inspiration for Sex Scene

40 thoughts on “State of the Collaboration: How to Brainstorm a Sex Scene

  1. Great stuff, this is why the nookie in your books isn’t boring. Since Max isn’t talkative, have him save her life right after, so it ends on a high note. This will also save on the awkward small talk. Reminds me of Adult Wednesday Adams (web series) optimism when her hairdresser’s boyfriend vanishes on her in the Hair cut hilarious

  2. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha….. I can’t stop laughing. You two are insane and silly and funny as heck.

  3. Love this.
    I love your sex scenes, Jenny. They are hot without being graphic, my fav!
    I am intrigued by the Instagram link though.

  4. Thank you for the not-graphic sex scenes. I skip all the graphic ones.

    And thank you for the amusement on a gloomy Saturday morning with sleet.

    1. Some of my favorite authors have the most graphic scenes, and… I skip them. I am not a prude, and I read the ones that matter to the scene. However, I just want the characters and it’s hard for me to find squeaky clean books I love. Sometimes they veer into unrealistic territory (like the sweet Christian romance I read where the hero kisses the main character and then immediately runs away. He LEFT her with his car, and ran 20 miles to his home). It’s hard to find a balance.

      That said, the sex scene in Bet Me is a fav because it makes so much sense for those characters, and it part of the payoff of the book, showing that both he and Min loved her for her true self.

  5. Your texts with Bob are better than some of the books I’ve been reading. Thanks for the laugh.

    1. Me too. I’m scheming to convince my neighbor to rent one with me this summer. The wife is on board, but the husband is on Team Throwing Things Out is a Crime Against Humanity.

      1. There simply are some things that can’t be recycled/reused. We threw away linoleum that was at least 20 years old the last time we had a dumpster (when we did renos however long ago). I’m sure if I had even tried to donate it, providing it could be unrolled from the shape it was in, no one would have wanted it and the people at the Re Store would have told me to chuck it.

        1. Yes
          My husband won’t throw anything out if it or a part from it could eventually be used again. He has a whole area in the basement I call Wall-E land.

          But I’m gonna figure out how to dispose of stuff for reuse if it takes me years. I don’t want our kids to have to deal with it 20 or 30 or 40 years from now and I certainly have more energy for it now than I ever will again.

          1. My aim is too ensure that my kids don’t have to throw much away when I die.
            I look at my mum’s flat and despair. She has lived there for over 40 years and every cupboard is filled with useless stuff, just in case. Every time I open one, I think why oh why

  6. Even when I’m struggling with a manuscript, I am so grateful that cozy mysteries don’t have sex scenes, graphic or otherwise!

    I had a single sentence referring to my characters spending the night together in a hotel (sixth or seventh in the series, after they’d been together for a couple years at that point), and I can’t find the review right now for the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of the series having jumped the shark and the reviewer would never read another book by me because I’d introduced sex into an otherwise wholesome series.

    1. Wow that’s taking us back to Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore having separate beds.

    2. There are entire series out there, that the last line of the book is ” and then they made love The End” People should go with their strengths after all. Sometimes better to leave something to the imagination

  7. As always, the repartee between you and Bob is as good as what you have written in published books. Thanks for a laugh on a windy, gloomy Sat. afternoon.

  8. I’m not anti-sex scene, I think they should be used to arc character and move plot, definitely arc the relationship. I’ve read a lot of new romance novels that have repetitive, explicit sex scenes that don’t move story. Which is when I start to skim.

    And this first scene is between two people who are very suspicious and used to avoiding emotional connection and who have only known each other two days. But the heroine’s life has just blown up on her, her future is bleak, and people are trying to kill her; the only person she really trusts at this point is this stranger who showed up and keeps throwing out the people threatening her (although she’s doing a pretty good job of defending herself). That builds a bond. Also she’s mad as hell (well, she’s a Crusie heroine) and ready to rebel. So it’s Max’s lucky day, although he’s coping with a lot, too.

    I just have to figure out what makes this different from “Thanks, that was a great boink.” She’s not taking out her anger on him (that was Agnes) and they’re both paying attention so things won’t go wrong (that was Tilda and Davy), and I think they’re just blowing off tension, but there has to be something more that’s about their particular way of interacting. He’s monosyllabic, and she keeps picking his pocket, but I’m not sure how to build a love scene out of that.

    So I’m thinking dirty thoughts while I fill a second dumpster.

    1. Are you spring cleaning or preparing to move? I am slowly, very slowly working from room to room in a house that has had 3 generations off and on for the last 30+ years. It is not fun!

  9. This is hilarious. I love that your sex scenes always move the action forward (figuratively and literally, I guess).

    Also, I am just catching up on posts and:

    A.) Rosalind James is a favorite! I have read nearly everything she has written. Kiwi Gold has some of the most beautiful descriptions. It reminds me a bit of your vivid descriptions of Andie in Maybe This Time – different styles, but definitely painting a picture of the characters in the best way.

    Did you know she self-publishes? She has a great interview on The Self-Publishing Formula’s podcast.

    B.) She wrote you back! Wowza! How wonderful to know that you inspired her (like you do all of us).

    C.) I realized I missed something when the dumpster comments kept popping up, and reread the earlier posts. I was moved by the rest of your post about living. I relate.

    I lost my town to a natural disaster in 2018 (after escaping a crazy-neighbor-on-drugs situation). Survival.

    I moved and started a new teaching job in a new place. Survival.

    I made it through the pandemic in a massless town (while wearing a mask which did NOT go down well). Survival.

    I left a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage in the middle of the pandemic. Survival.

    I moved out, left with no money, got divorced, and finally got full custody. Survival

    I made highly effective at my job for three years in a row with a misogynistic boss, and to up my skill-set, I got my ESOL and reading endorsements (and maybe Spanish certification since I just took the test). survival.

    Then, I became an only parent nearly a year ago when my ex killed himself (over his latest gf). Survival.

    And now, we’ve made it nearly a year, and we are doing well. I am working like mad, but we are stable and good. But my life is so much about just desperately trying to stay alive long enough to raise kiddo (and beyond that because I plan to live forever).

    And so that post resonated with me so much. Because I balance safety with living fully, and it seems like the goal-post gets moved back farther a bit each year. I’ll do this when… I can finally relax when…

    So, thanks for the honesty that we at points just take stock and regroup, that we do not have it all figured out (even if we think we do). As life just keeps knocking me over with big waves, I get better at standing up each time. I get faster. And I get harder to knock all the way down. And so I am convinced that even though I may choose safe at points, I am cognizant of living, of making the effort to make the most of the pieces of life I hold in my hands right now.

    Thanks for connecting with us for so many years and for letting us see the struggle in real-time.

    1. Mermaid- Words fail. Wow! You go, girl.

      Life is just a series of “When I get through this…”, which is why so many sages tell us to live one day at a time, and enjoy THIS day. That you have learned to do that is your gift.

    2. Sometimes I think that life is just what happens while we’re trying to survive. And then I get to a place where everything is stable again, and I realize, “Right, sunshine, laughter, good friends, loving family, dogs and cats living together, life is good.” It’s a cycle.
      Congratulations on making it through all of that!

  10. LOL I just got lost in your old blog posts, Jenny. Started out reading, ‘Inspiration for the Sex Scenes’ and two hours later, realized I hadn’t written a word for the day 🙂

    1. I too don’t like graphic sex scenes. I skim them to see if there is any essential info and then move on and then I skip them in any rereads.

      Jenny when I think back on all of your sex scenes I have absolute confidence you will figure this out.

      Sophie and Phin – from the first scene on the dock all the way through – magic.
      Matilda & Davy – my favorite sex scene when he cons her!
      Quinn & Nick who couldn’t get it right at first.
      Maddie & CL in the back seat of that car.
      Nell & Gabe on the office floor.
      Getting Rid of Bradley with her green hair.
      North & Andie in the pantry.
      Of course, Agnes & Shane when she narrowly avoids killing him.

      I never skip yours no matter how many times I reread because they are amusing and they do move the plot along.

      Can’t wait to read Liz & Vince and eventually Rose & Max.

      Nothing but good reads ahead. (See what I did there? lol)

  11. I’m all over the place about sex scenes. If I’m reading something billed and marketed as a romance, I want some evidence that the MCs are attracted to each other, and unless they are both asexual that attraction had better be clearly physical. They don’t have to bonk on-page, but the idea that modern people, in the real world, who are not religiously celibate, will not touch each other makes zero sense to me. For the same reason, I eyeroll books in which nobody ever pees. Bodies: we live in them.

    I like an explicit scene IF I enjoy each of the characters and can see why they’re so inclined. Moving the plot & character development forward is a plus. On the other hand, sometimes sex IRL is about bonding; not so much moving forward as digging in (so to speak), especially when a relationship is well along and the MCs are facing external obstacles rather than internal. So I would never ding a writer for giving me a couple of ‘extraneous’ sex scenes. (Unless that writer then deploys the Big Mis or Big Lie, in which case I think oh, that was failure of imagination + desperate attempt to make their word count.)

    But then there are books that are described as So Hot and the scenes are so graphic that I feel like I’m reading an overly-detailed closed caption of a porno. Not infrequently, these scenes occur in head-scratching circumstances (seriously? here and now?) and involve some head-scratching over the body mechanics. Where did you say that hand was? Who’s on top again? He’s holding her hips with both hands but they’re in missionary, so … his entire weight is on her chest? How does MMC1 have MMC2’s schlong in his mouth if MMC2 is licking his nipples from between his thighs? I mean, really. Visualize that shit, people.

    In conclusion, that pillow-humping klutz of a shamefaced retriever was HILARIOUS.

    1. I am so with you. Often, I think maybe it is because I am not English that I can’t understand the mechanics but then I reread and I think, nope that’s not going to work unless they are both contorsionists.

    2. That’s why I try to write the way things feel instead of the action. Because in general, the action is pretty obvious. And if it’s not, it’s off-putting, as you said.

      One of the best sex scenes I’ve ever read is in Elle Kennedy’s The Deal, where the heroine is a rape survivor and asks the hero, whom she trusts as a friend, to help her find her way back to sex again. He’s not the most sensitive guy in the world, but he takes it seriously and pays attention and it’s just part of their relationship arc which starts with him being a jerk and her sneering at him, through a well-developed friendship, and then into a serious romance. There are multiple sex scenes, but they’re all about the relationship, and the explicitness comes from how they’re navigating her issues, not assembly instructions. It’s an interesting romance because he doesn’t change and neither does she, they’re strong personalities on their own, but they come to appreciate the differences. And it makes the romance arc so much stronger because he’s still not sensitive in general at the end, but he pays attention and takes care of her because he loves her. And she does the same for him.

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