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Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series? : Writers' Block Party • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

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funduckit
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby funduckit » Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:06 am

Hi Gracie; first of all your question, or part of your question asked about an ongoing series... a mystery series. I think if I answer that part (in my poinion) then i'll also answer the other part of the question: Sex?
It totally depends on where your characters are going too, in their day to day activities, their age (you mentioned Harry Potter) whether their character has an urge for sex and romance and whether you want them to. Its again; all up to you. Sex sells its true, but this is an ongoing mystery series, so... does anybody know of a successful ongoing mystery series that has badly written sex scenes that are totally out of charecter?
You also say 'your main characters sex life'. Sex can still help sell your stories if it is a scene where the victim has a sexual encounter. This may freshen things up, it may spark up your main characters reputaton i.e. they are then involved with a case where the victim or perhaps even the killer, (hey can't killers have sex?) is read as being sexually active.
You also mention that your main character is a 'she' I have no idea of what agegroup so i'll just throw this in... women enjoy sex, women also have a very strong biological clock. This plays a huge part of any womens life, these urges at around the thirty years of age mark, (if in fact your character is around that age) would make it highly unrealistic if it wasn't thought about and examined, at least by your character. Ask any women who has survived after menapause, without much sex in her life or children for that matter. Ask them how hard it was, not having a family, either by choice or by misfortune, if indeed they will talk of this with you at all;it will undoughtedly be a long, deep, emotional conversation and all to apparently: of absolute importance to them.
Sex for a women is important, all to many stories have unrealistic characterisations, showing women who don't seem to have a pulse or any other interesting parts of their anatomy.
The bottom line is clear: do you want this series to be realistic? Do you need realism to be successful? :)

Jumbie
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby Jumbie » Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:27 am

I agree that women have normal biological needs. I don't agree that one has to write about them. You don't write about your characters using the bathroom on a regular basis, do you? It can be implied, or ignored as you and your characters see fit. I've read lots of books that I've enjoyed thouroughly without sex in them at all, and lots with sex that I've enjoyed just as much. (The book had sex in it - I didn't have sex while reading it. That would be annoying. ;))


touchstone
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby touchstone » Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:40 am

Georganna may be right, sex sells, but so do a million other things. The "formula" for mystery and/or series writing demands sex in no way. If you want to, ok, if not, ok. It depends on yourself and on what kind of people your characters are.

Jamesaritchie
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby Jamesaritchie » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:21 am

There are lines of books within certain genres that demand a certain amount of on stage sex, but these books are about the on stage sex.

It's just a really, and sort of weird notion to think that because women have biological urges and enjoy sex that the sex therefore must be on stage and written about. This is the case ONLY when the book is about that part of a character's life.

Readers looking for sex scenes would have to be pretty stupid to go looking in teh mystery section of the bookstore. Or the western section, the science fiction section, teh fantasy sections, etc. Sure, you may find sex is a few of these novels, but odds are you'll strike out, and if it's sex you want, there certainly won;t be enough in any of these books to please you.

But each time I hear someone say a book must have sex, or vulgarity, to be good or realistic, I wonder if that person ever acrually reads novels, or if they were born yesterday. It's a real put down to writers from Shakespeare to Heminway, and to hundreds of extremely good writers out there today.

And someone please explain how a line such as "She kissed me. . .it proved to be a very good night" doesn't show a person's biological urges and needs just as well, and usually better, than an on stage sex scene?

I believe writers should write sex in any way they wish, and that's all well and good. But no one should do anything just because it sells, cocaine sells pretty well, too, but I believe I'll pass on selling it. And no one should try justifying what they write by saying it's unrealistic without it, or good writing demands it. That's nonsense.

Write sex scenes because that's who you are and the way you have to write. But believe me, outside of some lines of romance novels and erotica, the reading public is not flipping through novels looking for on stage sex, and the bestseller lists are loaded with novels that have very little or no sex in them.

gracie
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby gracie » Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:21 am

Wow - some great answers! I'm heartened to see how many other writers don't consider tell-all bedroom scenes a necessity. Thanks for all the input.

OmenSpirits.com
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby OmenSpirits.com » Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:55 am

Since this is about the concept of mystery, and that happens to be apart of what I write.

I'll tell you what you can do.

Ever watch an old crime/mystery/noir movie?

Remember the sex scenes?

If so, take that concept and modify it. I come from the idea of innuendo, depending on the necessity and purpose of the sex. What it says about the situation and or characters involved.

Why are they having sex? To what purpose does them having sex serve? Does the situation go towards the plot and move the story forward?

'I pulled her near me, touching, caressing. The silk smooth against her soft skin.'

Her kiss was like butter scotch, her hands worked over me, around me, down on me. She knew what my body asked, and she felt the urge to answer it.

I picked her up, craddling her gently.

The bedroom door closed slowly behind.

---------

I was up, looking through the refrigerator, looking for the orange juice. I found the carton hidden behind the Arm & Hammer.

A pair of arms came up behind me. Her hands held me firmly. Her kiss to the back of my ear said that she was happy.

Last night felt like laying in rose beds in June.


Writing sex doesn't have to be graphic, nor does it have to be excessive.

It all goes toward character and plot.

;)

jmar2
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby jmar2 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:08 am

HAH! And you dared to cast aspersions on Twinkie. You old softy, you. She's going to get you. Next time you leave that wonderful hat laying around, off it goes to be buried in the garden, no... Off it goes to be rolled on, right after we've found a nice batch of sun-baked earthworms. Now, hold still while she kisses your nose. :)

Sorry to hijack your thread, Gracie. Twinky told me to do it.

John

OmenSpirits.com
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby OmenSpirits.com » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:35 pm


yudelka
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby yudelka » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:44 pm

I absolutely agree with James and most everyone else. Normally, books don't advertise sex unless it's a romance novel. Like James said, most people looking to read about sex would more than likely not go to the mystery section. Come to think of it, that's kind of comical, considering their "other" options.

Sheri
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RE: Is sex necessary in an ongoing mystery series?

Postby Sheri » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:42 pm

James...

I do have to say, it was a pleasure reading your last response.
You certainly have no trouble "putting it into words"!
I couldn't agree more!

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