Now this was weird ~ I rarely read HuffPo because their format drives me nuts, but I followed a link or three and ended up at this sex scene article (shocker!). It was about the first sex scene that romance writers remember reading ~ and the first one listed was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. This was, amazingly enough, my first romance novel sex scene. Note that I qualify this, as I’d read plenty of sex before that, but none of it was as romantic as Captain Brandon having his men go out and get him a hooker, come back with Heather by mistake, and then once she’s in his cabin … well, I’m not sure what happened anymore. I was 14 when I read it (and liked it) and people are now calling that sex scene a rape. I guess it was.
Or was it? Brandon thought she was a quiet, shy hooker. He had no intention of raping anyone. She was too scared to speak up. I don’t know. In any case, it all worked out, as things do. In romance novels. Sorry for the spoiler if you wanted to be surprised.
Moving on. Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught is mentioned next, and would you believe I’ve read that too? I bet you do believe it. I barely remember this novel though. McNaught’s characters and um plots tend to meld together in my mind. I enjoyed the books while I read them, and there were plenty of good sex scenes, but they don’t stay with me the way others do. What do I remember from AH? A scene where Elizabeth is testifying on Ian’s behalf in front of the House of Lords saying “he has no peers.” That’s pretty much it.
McNaught is hugely successful so far be it for me to say she has a problem, but I’m going to anyway. She comes up with these totally contrived situations based on misunderstandings of words and half-glimpses of scenes. “They” tell you not to do this, which only shows you that it’s possible to break the rules and sell a zillion books, yet … why not write better ones regardless? It’s fine to have your characters jump to a conclusion because of fear or jealousy, that’s a standard device, but it has to be earned by what’s already happened and who they are. In Whitney, My Love, there was no plot whatsoever, just misunderstandings one after another, and the protagonists stomping off in a huff, only to make up pages later. Ridiculous. But it was a bestseller.
Back to HuffPo ~ there was a sex scene in Jane Eyre? LOL.