Monday, 17 May 2010

How much is too much?

I'm having serious trouble keeping Jack & Nancy out of the bedroom. Or the kitchen, or the bathroom for that matter - they just can't keep their hands off each other and it's got me thinking about how much sex should be included for a MH submission. Is there an unofficial guideline?

(I mean... come on! These two were getting steamy in a lift within ten minutes of first clapping eyes on each other, so what hope have I got of controlling them?)

I understand a bit better know what people mean when they talk about the characters taking over and leading the way, because these two are pretty dominant over me right now.
However, I'm pretty sure that it might be having a detrimental effect on the conflict aspect of the story, and that's obviously a big concern. I've tried to weave in their individual inner conflict within the story so each characters motivations are clear to the reader, but as far as Jack and Nancy go, well, they haven't actually revealed much of this stuff to each other until at least 40,000 words in.
My fear is that in not doing so, they have a bit of a 2d holiday romance going on, and not enough obvious conflict between them on the page. Have I made a soggy middle? Do I have to make them battle more?
I think this comes down to learning more about the craft of romance writing, I am really in at the deep end here and floundering a bit. Please don't let me drown!

Anyway, going back to the original question... is there such a thing as too much sex?

I currently have five sex scenes in my wip, ranging from a skipped over half page descriptions to quite lengthy episodes. The thing is though, I've considered them within the story and they all feel necessary. But if they take up too much of my word count, am I not leaving enough room to really develop the emotional side of the story too?



  1. LOL - I did a post about this a while ago! Sorry I'm too knackered to go and look for it now but it shouldn't be too far into my archives if you want to hunt it down. There were some really interesting responses.

    My full sub (at last count) has four sex scenes - I did have five but I cut one cos it wasn't adding anything!

  2. Hi,

    RE: how much is too much (sex)?

    Hee hee, how long is a piece of string?

    Seriously <>, the "lift" scene is obviously what got your entry noticed and gave someone at HM&B a buzz - same as it did us out here who are pushing for you to keep at it.

    Do you belong to a critique group? If not get another writer (you feel able to trust)to read it through and see what that person thinks.

    Love me or hate me as a blogger I'm not looking to steal plots - enough of my own to last me for years - I'm always game for a read.

    I won't take offence if you ignore this bit of my post. ;)

  3. Hiya Rach,cheers chicken!
    will have a happy troll through your blog. I have prob read it, replied on it and forgotten! lol
    Well if you have 4, then 5 sounds not too outlandish no?

    Hey Francine! Lovely to see you.

    How could anyone hate you as a blogger? I always read your posts with interest.
    Thanks for your encouragement re: the lift scene, that one is DEF staying in!

    I don't belong to a crit group, but i do have a lovely writer friend who's also subbing to modern heat, and she's offered to read for me as soon as it's ready.
    It's so kind of you to offer though, thank you.
    It def helps having someone read doesn't it?


  4. 4/5 sounds like a pretty good amount! How are you going to finish the story and have the big black moment though? Because they usually happen after another episode of bedroom entanglements, will that make it too many?

  5. Hiya Susan! Hope the revisions are going well.

    5 is *hopefully * the number for the completed manuscript, there are 4 at the mo with one in the pipeline for a little later. Fingers crossed, because I'm pretty sure that 6 would be pushing. !! lol


  6. Joanne, the sex should change the relationship in some way and further the conflict. If you have a sex scene that doesn't change things or further the conflict then it's there just for the sake of it and you don't want that. Does that make sense?

  7. Thanks Jackie... yeah, that does make sound sense.
    Hmmmm. Am going to go back now and think on that.

    Cheers m'dear!

  8. And now I'm worrying that the two scenes I've got are not enough!!

    Good for Jack and Nancy running away with your ms and their passion :-)

  9. lol Joanne!
    Too much, too little, we are the blind leading the blind. :o)


  10. Argh - my one sex scene is defiately not good then... Well have one and a half and implcations of lots of 'action' but not described...

    As Jackie said - if it adds to the growth and the sex changes the relationship then it's all good.

  11. Hi Janette, good to see you.

    I guess we will have to keep the phrase 'it's all in the execution' in mind on this one, there probably is no right and wrong answer is there? I've read modern heats with a lot, and i've read them with a little... I guess it's all dependent on each individual story really isn't it?