Do you love fairy tales with a twist? This week, I'm pleased to introduce Tia Nevitt to the blog. Tia reviews many science fiction and fantasy books over at Debuts & Reviews, but today she's coming over to talk about sex and The Sevenfold Spell.
Please welcome Tia Nevitt.
When to Include Sex Scenes
I’ve gotten a few reviews so far of The Sevenfold Spell, and the reaction concerning the sex scenes is worthy of a blog post. Mainstream fantasy usually includes few sex scenes, and would be classified as “sweet.” Therefore, a couple of reviewers were surprised by and didn’t like the sex, and one even called it erotica. Another said it had lots of “fun sex.” And another said that the sex scenes weren’t sexy enough!
I tried to be very careful with the sex scenes. I didn’t want it to be any sexier than what you would find in a standard romance novel. In fact, in my opinion, it’s a good deal less so because the scenes are so short. And as that one reviewer said, all but one or two aren’t really sexy at all.
Most surprised were my friends when I told them that this story would be rated R. (My family wasn’t surprised, which pleased me.) I totally don’t look the part to be writing sexy novels. I dress modestly, with my necklines just high enough to cover my cleavage. My skirts just barely clear the knee—if they clear it at all. I don’t wear anything tight. And I don’t swear.
So why the sex scenes? I call it writing unleashed.
This is when I don’t hold anything back during that first draft. I let it all pour out, even if I know I never want to see what I’m writing in print. And then, in the second draft, I edit out what I don’t want the world to see, leaving as much emotion behind as I can. And believe me, I did a lot of editing on these sex scenes when I finished. The apple cart scene was a standalone sex scene before I decided to cut it and have it as a reminiscence between my main character, Talia, and her closest friend.
I wrote Talia as Princess Aurora’s opposite. Aurora is royal, pure and beautiful. Talia isn’t any of those things—at least on the surface. I’ve never slept around, but I really tried to get into the head of a girl who did. Over the years, I’ve spoken to many women, some of whom talked to me quite frankly of their experiences in sleeping around—especially the women I knew during my military days. So I didn’t write it in total ignorance.
I don’t use this writing unleashed technique on sex scenes only. I’m working on a Christian novel, and I’ve done the same thing there. I also used this technique when describing battle rage. It’s for emotionally intense scenes, no matter what the emotion. When I can get in that writing unleashed zone, I know that I’m producing something good.
When I was trying to adjust this story for short fiction magazines that didn’t accept adult material, I took out all the sensual scenes. And I didn’t really have Talia’s story any more. I never even tried to sell that version. When I knew I was going to send it to an epublisher, I went back to my previous version, took out one of Talia’s lovers, and replaced him with another man, who doesn’t become her lover at all. And he is the man who probably would have provided the best sex scene!
Will the future stories in the Accidental Enchantments series be as sensual as this one? It’s hard to say at this point. I know one story won’t, because of the compressed timeframe, but the others can go either way, depending on whether the plot needs it. Either the way, I try to unleash my writing for every work of fiction I write.
Buy The Sevenfold Spell at Carina Press.
Here's the blurb:
Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?
Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.
Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.
Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation, which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make?