Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Characters with a healthy libido

In my spare time, I serve on several non-profit boards. One I truly enjoy is my role as trustee at my local library. My family and I helped with the book fair this year, our big fund-raiser. My daughter even did her share.

At the book fair, one woman carefully looked through all the fiction in hopes that we might have an author recommended to her. She was a big fan of Nicholas Sparks and his love stories. (He makes me cringe.) Someone had told her this other author had similar stories of love "without all the intimate stuff."

I almost laughed. But then I bought the Anaias Nin books from the sale tables.

My characters have a healthy libido. There is a very good reason for this. Two fold.
  1. My stories involve a supernatural element. This means magic. And whether you draw on magic or religion, the obvious and universal truth is sex = creation. My magical characters exploit this creative power. My mundane ones also manipulate it, though they know not what they do.
  2. Each character's sexual relationships reinforce who they are. And their attitudes toward one another. Not a single one of my sex scenes is gratuitous. They all serve a specific purpose.
For example:
  • The supermodel exudes sex and attracts men. Obvious on one level. But because she has this tendency to attract men, she also can't have a healthy relationship, because they seek her merely for sex. This destroys her self-esteem, despite the fact that she's a supermodel.
  • √Čtienne and Basilie. The divorced couple who never stopped acting married. In the first book, they have sex. (In the office, at home, even a reference to conceiving their child in a car at the airport.) In the second book, they can't. This has been a central focus of their relationship for 25 years and suddenly it's gone. How do they reconnect?
  • √Čtienne. For him, alcohol increases his desire for sex. Which actually plays into the plot line when alcohol plays into the confirmation or the dismissal of charges of his misconduct. Especially when you add the problem of the supermodel listed above.
  • Flidais. My evil female witch, a smaller character, but an important one. When she conducts blood rituals, she uses the blood of an aroused male. More creative power.
  • Galen, the main bad guy, manipulates desire to gain feminine power from his victims.
When you look at characters, they can hide so much of themselves in their actions. If you want to convey how two characters feel about each other or reveal something about their true natures, put them in bed. They won't be able to hide.

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully stated! This has been extremely helpful with my own erotic crime novel where I have to make every sex scene count. The sex cannot be gratuitous and must propel the story forward or reveal character.

    Thanks so much for the reminder and for how you handle sex in your work!

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  2. I thought it deserved some discussion as some people think we're just filthy-minded whores... Or have sick fantasies that we act out through our characters.

    I have one scene, book one, that involves the bad guys in a threesome-type scene with an underage girl whom they murder. It disturbs me. To the point where I get sick to my stomach. (And I bet some editor is going to say I have to tone it down...) But it needs to be there, because _They're the BAD GUYS, they do NASTY things_. I, on the other hand, am not a bad guy.

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