by Jamie Brenner
sexual tension? It can play out in many ways, but essentially it is conflicted
desire between people. My heroines are attracted to men they shouldn‘t want, or
want men they can‘t have. The push and pull of this inconvenient desire unfolds
in two types of scenes: Tension
without sex, and tension with sex. Let‘s discuss.
without sex: In my 1920s historical novel, THE GIN LOVERS, straight-laced
socialite Charlotte Delacorte has an unexpected attraction to lawless
bootlegger Jake Larkin. They meet at a funeral, and the proverbial sparks fly.
Everything about him galls her: the fact that he shows up to the family event
uninvited, the way he is dressed, the way he speaks to her. And yet she is
drawn to him. Her discomfort leads to a staple of the tension/no sex scenes,
is key in these scenes because it reveals character as it shows both parties
dealing with the surprise of their attraction, or how they deal with unwanted
attraction by pushing the other person away or challenging them. (These types
of scenes are also a great opportunity for humor/comic relief.) Whatever way
these scenes play out, it‘s important to infuse them with a sense of this is to be continued.
tension eventually leads to sex (at least, in the books I read and write): The
stress of whatever is keeping characters apart exists until the very last
second before they give into their desire. Then, as soon as the line is crossed
and things get physical, the external obstacle must be matched by a heightened
internal crisis: what did I just do?
What happens now? In THE GIN LOVERS, crossing the line with Jake makes
Charlotte realize she cannot stay in her loveless marriage. In my erotic
romance MISS CHATTERLEY, the heroine cheats on her boyfriend, and spends the
rest of the novel tormented with desire and guilt. The sexual tension should
increase as the book progresses, with higher stakes, as the internal and
external obstacles play off of each other leading to the ultimate resolution.
sexual tension, the kind that leaps off the page, usually happens when we as
writers have fun with it. Make your characters agonize a bit. Make them work
for it. And remember, although your characters might not get immediate
satisfaction, when sexual tension is done right, your readers always will.♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Brenner
is the author of THE GIN LOVERS (St. Martin’s Press). Writing as Logan Belle,
she is the author of MISS CHATTERLEY, THE LIBRARIAN (Pocket Star), and the Blue
Angel trilogy (Kensington). Her upcoming novel SWEET DESCENT will publish with
St. Martin’s Press in 2014. For more please visit jamiebrenner.com or Facebook