Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sighting trouble early: tonal anomalies

I mentioned one scene that came to me when my current M/M romance story idea hit. There was a second scene that came along with that. I won't post my sketch of it because this blog is marked as non-explicit and I don't need to get in trouble with Blogger/Google.

Suffice it to say that this second scene raised big questions about the tone of the story.

Now, I don't have a problem writing explicit stuff. I've made no secret of that. (Both here and way back here.) But the events in the scene made me think about both how explicit the sex and violence would be, and how deeply entwined with each other they were. On one hand, I am very much against the "rape becomes romance" and I'm leery of the "you'll like this, even if you don't think you will" tropes... but I know that walking the line between consent and non-consent can be very... energizing.

I also had to think about those hazy borders between romance and erotica. There were several scenes in Disciple where I had to decide when, exactly, to close the bedroom door -- and a few where the door never did close. Hawks and Rams (working title) is a shorter, more compact story than Disciple and, now that I have an outline blocked out, there may not be so much sex in terms of total number of scenes... it just has the potential to be much more... hm, well, I guess the term I want is "memorable." Rather than "scarring." Erm.

Also, to some degree I should just write the darn thing and see what the characters are up for. They might solve the problem for me, if I let them.

Getting back to tone. So if I'm going to have this one explicit, borderline-violent, very sexual scene, the rest of the story needs to match the tone. Or at least not clash with it horribly. In no way should I pad the story with gratuitous violence or sex merely to keep this one scene from looking like it dropped in from some other book somewhere -- but. That one scene does look anomalous given the current outline.

Does the scene need to be that nasty? Will it be a turning point in the tone of the story? Can the rest maintain that level of violence? Maybe a certain unpleasant scene earlier should get nastier?

Have you ever had to deal with a scene that felt like an anomaly in a given story?

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