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Y'all have been great! Thank you for taking my class.
Writing Sexual Tension
Sexual tension is not the act of sex. Adding sexual tension will make the reader turn the pages, breathless and fingers scorched from the heat between the hero and heroine.How do you do this? It's a look, a touch, the sound of the hero/heroine's voice.
The words that are said, or thought in internalization evoke heat and the senses. The hero outside in the sun with his muscles straining, sweat beading on his brow.
The cotton shirt he'd been wearing is tossed to the ground. His body glistens from exertion. Or, the first brush of lips. The taste of the hero makes the heroine crave more. There is something that binds the characters together and makes them fit. It's the attraction.
Sexual tension is how the hero and heroine react to each other at all levels internally and externally. And from the beginning the impact must be there and continue to build throughout the book. The pace can't be too fast or too slow. Conflicts must also be plotted in to keep them apart. No conflict = no tension. There has to be a reason why they can't be together.
The point of view character's feelings and observations is a way to develop sexual tension. We need to see why the hero/heroine feels the way they do. I don't mean just the physical reasons, but the internal reason (s) the hero/heroine can see that others can't or very few know.
Remember romance is the focus of the story. Use the senses, action to show character such as hero is a gentleman, heroine is responsible, snappy dialogue is another way to show sexual tension.
There are some positive comments to be for this plotting method. Unexpected plot twists, the excitement of creating your story, the way that somehow through intuition and inspiration your manuscript has culminated into a book with all the loose ends tightly tied
The pantzer method is where I find creative freedom and this method is a big pull for me. Too much structure kills my muse and takes the fun out of writing. But, I wasn't making much progress either.
The negative areas of "pantzer plotting" for some people is the length of time it takes, waiting for the idea of the next scene to pop into your mind causing frustration and possible writer's block.
Outlines, synopsis, note cards. Rigid order. Scenes are plotted before work on the book begins. And no room for creativity. I needed structure but I didn't have a clue on where to start. This definitely put a halt to my muse.
Then, I discovered Prescriptions for Plotting by Carolyn Greene. Bless Carolyn! She has developed a combination of these two methods in her plotting workbook.
www.theplotdoctor.com to order. Carolyn writes for
Harlequin/Silhouette. Prescriptions for Plotting is one the best things I've ordered to help with my writing. If you can only afford two items on plotting then I would say buy Deb Dixon's GMC and Carolyn's workbook.
Carolyn's combination method keeps me on track while giving my creativity room to move around and not feel stifled. The workbook will also help in writing synopsis, which I consider an added bonus. She has worksheets you fill out to get you started plotting and
she explains all the steps along the way.
I find this method works best for me. You might consider combination plotting if neither method has worked for you. Because writing a novel is daunting, I also do leap frog plotting. I write three chapters, plot, then write three chapters. This makes it easier for me to focus. A three-ring notebook with notes about the characters and other important threads in the plot go into this binder. Since I write paranormal, it's easier to look something up in the folder than try to remember what chapter I put whatever tidbit of information.
A plotting method isn't either or it's what you find that works for you, to get the job done.
First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner, Debra Dixon's GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict, Prescription for Plotting and Bickham's Writing Novels that Sell are the good books I sit down with while plotting.
This is one of those trial and error things. You have to find what
method works for you. Each person has their own pace and writing
strengths, most people don't get this all at once. It takes time and
study. I'm still learning.
Putting it all together
I'm going to use an example from one of my stories since I know my
work better than anyone else's.
This is published by Whiskey Creek Press Torrid in the Summer
Solstice Scorchers Anthology. www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com
This is a short erotic paranormal romance. When writing short you
don't have time to linger. In this first page the main character's
are introduced and are in action. You get snips of back story, just
enough to let you know what is going on.
Here is an excerpt from Wicked Pleasures published by Red Rose
Publishing. Chrissie from Romance Junkies gave this story 4.5 Blue
Ribbons and a recommended read from Whipped Cream Reviews. My goal here was to show how I've used all the elements we've talked about in the course. I hope you enjoy the excerpt, too.
I hope this course has been helpful. I wish all of you the best in
your writing journeys, wherever it takes you. I'd love it if you'd stay in touch.
lace w:st="on"> Jordanlace> stomped down the porch steps waving a big wooden
spoon. "You son-of-a-cow chip!" She'd thrown all her cooking pots at
the object of her displeasure—Brock Ryan. Blue enamel speckle ware
littered the yard. She picked up a cast iron skillet and tossed it.
Dang, just missed his ass. Mighty fine it was too. She wished it were
her hands on those tight butt cheeks.
Brock ran for cover behind a large oak. "What's got you so
"Our house is still unfinished. We can't get married until it's
done. Have you changed your mind?" Hands on her hips she slowly
advanced until she stopped a foot from him then pointed the wooden
mixing spoon at his chest. "My sweet darlin,' you can be replaced."
The town's old biddies are still watching me with their noses in the
air and whispering when I walk by, and all because of us getting
caught sparking behind the mercantile.
He jerked the utensil from her hands. "What do you mean I can be
"You have one week to finish Brock, or else." Honey snatched the
wooden weapon back, reached around and smacked his ass with the heel
of the spoon.
In a twirl of red calico, she marched up the stairs into the kitchen.
Honey slammed the screen door. "Oh, that brother of yours, Emmy…"
Even though she was mad, her heart pounded at the sight of him. Sun-
kissed blonde hair that brushed the collar of his shirt, blue eyes
with a mischievous glint and a mouth made for kissing.
Emmy Walker stopped arranging the fresh cuttings of small
sunflowers in a tall canning jar. She smiled and said, "Brock can be
quite obnoxious." A few adjustments to the blooms and she placed the
centerpiece in the middle of the kitchen table.
Honey slapped the utensil down on the scarred worktable beside
the stove. She picked up a thick towel and wrapped it around the
handle of the coffee pot, and poured two cups of the fresh brew.
Honey took a deep breath as she handed a mug to Emmy, who settled in
the nearest chair. "Well, Emmy what do you think of my unladylike
display of temper?"
Emmy laughed. "I watched from the window. I truly wish you'd hit
Brock's backside with the skillet. I'm sure that brother of mine has
done something to deserve it." She took a delicate sip "What was
the `or else' you hollered at him?"
Honey wiggled with excitement. "It's a secret Granny Cordella
told me before she died. She left me a treasure and made me promise
not tell anyone until I married. Only then could I tell someone I
implicitly trust. What I can tell you one item is covered in topaz
gemstones and is called `The Jewel of the
Emmy grabbed her hand. "How romantic! Tell me, I promise I won't
breathe a word to a soul. I'm your best friend."
"I know you won't tell. It seems Granny Cordella has hidden the
treasure because I have not found it. Given Pa's disposition, I
suppose it is for the best." Honey stared out the window for a moment
then cleared her throat. "I'm in trouble, Em. Pa says I have to be
out of the house before he returns from
lace w:st="on"> Amarillolace> in one week. He went
up there to get married and to bring back his new bride. If our house
is not finished, I'll have to move in despite the fact Brock is
already spending most of his nights there at the Lazy B. I wanted so
much to start out my life as a married woman properly. Old Henrietta
Gilbert actually harrumphed at me last week as she passed by." Honey
blinked rapidly to keep from crying. She hoped the strong coffee
would steady her nerves. "Now do you understand why I told Brock one
week? Once those gossipy hen's tongues begin a-wagging, they can make
life miserable. Brock and I are still the topic at the top of The Hen
Honey sat back and grinned for a moment. "Those old biddies
always looked down on Granny Cordella. Mama was just plain
embarrassed Granny had chosen the life of an adventuress traveling to
exotic countries with Grandpa in the name of science. Mama made me
promise not take after Granny's wild ways. I have failed
miserably. "Honey sipped her coffee, then continued. " I know it
would be terribly improper, but I so would have loved to have
traveled with Granny after Grandpa died."
Emmy went to the stove for the pot and refilled their
cups. "You're exactly like Cordella, in thought, looks and manner.
It's one of the reasons why we love you." She replaced the kettle,
squealed and ran to Honey. "Are your trunks packed?"
"Yes. Why?" Honey understood exactly what it meant when Emmy
made that sound. "What is your brilliant plan?"
"Parson Sparks won't be leaving for
lace w:st="on"> Fort Worthlace> for two days. You
and Brock could get married tomorrow afternoon. I'll pass right by
the parsonage on my way home this afternoon and see if he can fit you
in for a quick ceremony." Emmy tapped her chin with her
finger. "Jared and Brock can move your trunks and furniture to the
house in the morning." Emmy waved her hand, "Most of the rooms are
livable even though they aren't all finished at the Lazy B, but we
can make do. You can dress for the ceremony at my house. When the
boy's have finished they can clean up at the ranch, then meet us at
"Can Jared help us? I know he has been so busy selling and
breeding the stock."
"Leave my husband to me. He'll help." Emmy smiled and patted
Honey's cheek. She reached over and gathered her purse and hat from
the end of the old oak table. "We have much to do. I'm in control, so
all will be well."
Honey walked her friend outside to her carriage. "Are you going
to send someone with Brock's answer?"
"Honey, my brother will agree, have no doubt. Now don't fret.
Jared, Brock and I will be here tomorrow morning at seven. Be ready."
With a slap of the reins, Emmy headed for home.
Honey wasn't sure if she should laugh or cry at what had
transpired. She walked around the yard to pick up the dishes she
threw at Brock. More work because she had to wash them again but it
was worth it. The sooner she married him, the sooner she could
experience everything Granny told her about sex.
She and Brock had come close to making love but were interrupted
by Brock's younger brother, Nick. Thank goodness, he was out of town
with Mr. Ryan. At the thought of their encounter, Honey remembered
the feel of his firm body pressed against hers. Her woman's core
filled with lovely swirls of heat, as well as other parts of Brock
were hard and getting harder by the minute. It was thrilling and she
loved it. Perhaps getting married now was the best solution.
Emmy was right. She was exactly like Granny Cordella. Lustful
and wicked, but Brock didn't seem to mind. Maybe while packing she
would find Granny's hidden treasure, the jewel of the
lace w:st="on">Nilelace>. She'd
looked everywhere with no luck. Hopefully, she wouldn't leave it
behind. Lord knows, her father would not let her back home. She
placed the intricate carved box at the bottom of her small chest with
her wedding dress. Granny Cordella made her promise not to open the
box until she was married and Honey kept her promises.
She cleaned the kitchen and finished the chores.
Once upstairs, she packed all her belongings, except for what she
would wear tomorrow. She peered in chests and the back of drawers.
After supper, she even peeked inside Granny Cordella's secret spot
above the fireplace mantel. She was disappointed she did not find
Brock fisted his hands in his pockets as he tried not to beat
the shit out of his cousin, Andrew Gray.
Andrew sneered. "I've got Grandfather Seamus' will. So, thanks
for the house and land. You can't do a damn thing until the reading
of the legacy next week. So don't go lookin' at the court house,
because it isn't there. Everything will be mine. I'm the only one
with proof to claim everything you've got."
Brock grabbed Andrew by the collar. "You money-grubbing
cocksucker! You forged that document."
"Good luck proving it, lickfinger." Andrew tried to break Brock's
Brock tightened his hold and a rush of delight coursed through him
as Andrew gasped for air. With a muttered curse, he shoved him away.
"I'm leaving you with nothing, Brock. Not a fucking thing."
Andrew straightened his shirt and strolled out the door.
Son of a bitch. I'm in a pile of deep, deep shit. Brock paced
the pine floor, his boots making a steady thump against the worn
planks. Who could he trust to help him, right now? Hell, everyone was
gone. He needed to eat. His best ideas always came when he had a full
Light footsteps on porch stopped his agitated state. His sister.
Emmy and her husband, Jared, could always be counted on in times of
Emmy ran up to him, stood on her toes and kissed his cheek. "Hey,
big brother I have a wonderful idea."
`Tell me in the kitchen. I'm hungry." He prayed for patience.
Emmy's ideas meant trouble or work for him and he had plenty of both.
She fixed him a plate piled high with fried chicken and biscuits
Aunt Vergie had dropped off earlier, then poured him a large glass of
spring water from the pitcher by the sink.
"Now, I've just come from visiting Honey and I told her Parson
Sparks is returning tomorrow. You two can get married then. There's
enough of the house finished you and Honey can still move in."
"Emmy, you don't understand."
She frowned and laid her hand on his arm. "Brock, Honey has one
week to move out of her Pa's house.
Warrenis on his way to lace w:st="on"> Amarillolace>
to marry and bring back his new bride. You know he's a mean old
possum and would toss Honey out with nothing but the clothes on her
He sighed. If this shit pile gets any bigger, I'm going to
fucking suffocate. "That explains why she was so fired up earlier."
Brock slathered butter on his biscuit and took a bite.
"Now, I told Honey all of us would be at her place in the
morning. You and Jared can move her furniture and trunks. It
shouldn't take long. She and I will take her buggy to my house so we
can prepare for the ceremony. And of course I'll have a basket of
food for you and Jared to take back to the Lazy B."
Brock dropped the chicken leg onto his plate and groaned.
Emmy reached over and smacked the back of his head. "What in
heaven's name is
He glared at her before answering. "Dammit, Em I do love Honey.
But, I'm in a considerable fix." He lowered his voice. "We can't talk
here. I don't know where that bastard Andrew is and I don't want him
to hear us." His cock was in a state of agitation at the thought of
Honey, her golden hair and flushed cheeks. He dreamed of her every
night and woke up to wet sheets. Maybe getting married sooner was a
Emmy hurried and lifted the picnic hamper off the peg by the
door quickly placing his heaping plate inside. "Ma, can get this
later. Let's go to my house," she whispered. "I knew something was
going on." She wrinkled her nose. "I never liked Cousin Andrew, you
know. I won't correct your cussing, because that's exactly what he
Brock hurried with Emmy out the door. "I need to speak to Jared
anyway." He hitched Blossom to the small wagon and tied Em's paint
pony to the back. He wasn't sure who Andrew had snared with his fancy
talk and dad-blamed lies in town.
Brock helped Emmy in the wagon, then handed her the basket.
She adjusted her bonnet strings. "Why is Andrew here?"
"To cause trouble, for me Em. Big trouble."
She held onto the wagon's smooth plank seat. "Andrew has always
been jealous of you. His high-falutin' and cheating ways have always
gotten him into one predicament after another."
Brock let out a humorless laugh. "He wants the land Pawpaw
Seamus left to me and he's a forged will. He even admitted it. I've
got to find the real one before the court reading next week or I'll
lose everything including the house." Brock fisted the reins and
coaxed Blossom into a brisk trot.
A short time later, he pulled the wagon into the barn. Just in
case, Andrew was nosing around, he didn't want his cousin to know he
was here. A bad feeling clawed up his back.
"What happened to the document at the courthouse? It was
supposed to be safe there."
Brock jumped down and patted the mare. "It's gone. Andrew already
did his dirty work before he came to gloat."
Jared walked out of the end stall and helped his wife from the
wagon. "What in the blazes is going on Brock? You never park in here
unless it's raining."
"Dear, we have to hide from Cousin Andrew and make plans. I'll
be in the house preparing the wedding list." Emmy kissed her husband
on the cheek. "Wash up and come inside."
"Wedding? Who's getting married?" Jared unhitched Blossom and
dumped some feed into an empty trough.
Brock led the mare to a stall where he brushed and made sure she
had plenty of water. He followed Jared outside and said, "My
wedding." He briefly explained his problems with Andrew and Honey.
They washed up at the water pump and Brock was grateful Jared
hadn't said anything yet. Before stepping inside, Brock checked the
bottom of his boots. His sister hated dirt. She'd make his take is
dad-burned shoes off if he made on dirty footprint.
"Come into kitchen and sit." Emmy called as she placed a heaping
platter of fresh donuts between the men. "Brock your lunch is on the
Brock looked at Jared and rolled his eyes at Em's bossiness. He
pointed to the plate. "There's plenty. We might as well eat, as we
Jared grabbed a drumstick, "I love Aunt Vergie's cooking. I can
tell by the smell, this is her recipe." A large grin eased across his
sun-tanned face. "A food break is exactly what I needed."
"We're her favorites in the family. That's why there's enough
for both of us." While they ate, Brock gauged the distance from his
chair to the door. If a quick getaway was needed from Em, he could
dump the chicken and donuts in the basket and run. His brother-in-law
could stay there or follow. If he knew Jared, he'd be right behind
Emmy tapped her finger on the paper. "I'm making a list for
tomorrow. I don't want anything forgotten." She shifted in the
chair. "If Ma doesn't return from her midwife duties in enough time,
she'll understand the rush when we tell her Honey was about to be
thrown out of her Pa's house."
lace w:st="on"> Warrenlace> is mean ol' cuss for doing this to Honey." Jared pointed
the chicken leg at Brock.
"I do feel better getting her away from him. He's always been
too rough with Honey." Brock caught Jared's gaze, replaced the food
in the basket from the plate, and grabbed a two handfuls of donuts
while Emmy wasn't looking.
Jared added his handful of the fried pastry and gave Brock's arm
a light hit and motioned for the door.
"Wait! The rings. Do you have them yet, Brock?"
He sighed. "Yes, Emmy, I do. My clothes are ready and so are her
wedding gifts. I just need to pick them up. Well, I reckon I need to
get back to the house and do what I can before tomorrow. There are a
few things I can finish up in the bedroom." He grabbed the basket and
dashed to the doorway.
"I can help you for a short spell." Jared sprang from the chair
and followed Brock outside.
Brock swung the wicker container in the wagon set and patted
Blossom before hitching her back up. "I'd be much obliged for the
help, Jared. Things will go faster with the two of us working." All
he could think of now was having Honey as he'd dreamed. Hot, wet and
ready for him to plunge into her waiting pussy. From their few
encounters, Honey was going to be fun between the sheets. God had
Tambra Kendall/2007 Red Rose Publishing
Tambra Kendall information:
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