Readers’ Burning Questions

This post first appeared in 2013 at The Contemporary Romance Café.

I had no idea what to write about this month, so I asked readers on Facebook if they had any questions. As always, they came through for me. Thank you, Robbin, Karn and Mona!

Burning Question #1

How do you talk about what you write at PTA meetings?

I write erotic romance. There, I said it! (And bless you for thinking I’m young enough to be active in PTA.) I didn’t begin writing erotic romance until after joining VA (Volunteers Anonymous), so I’ve never had to explain to the mom or dad sitting next to me at PTA what I do for a living. I have friends, though, who are still trying to wrap their brains around my, uhh, unusual profession.

Burning Question #2

How do you decide when to have your character take the next step? Quarter
through, halfway, later?

I’m going to assume that by “next step” you mean turning point and not having sex without a condom. The cop-out answer would be, “Oh, I don’t make that decision. My characters do.” But honestly, I think if you read a lot of fiction, especially genre fiction, you already have a good sense of where your “turning points” happen—the 25%, 50%, 75% marks (mileage may vary). I’ll occasionally read a book or take a workshop on plotting/storytelling/story structure to break it down and gain new insight. This is a particularly timely question, because I’m currently working through a book recommended by Jeffe KennedyWriting Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, II by Alexandra Sokoloff. It makes the point that the structure of storytelling, whether in books, stage or film, has been pretty much the same for thousands of years. Sokoloff uses popular movies to illustrate elements of story structure, including placement of the inciting incident and climaxes (what I think of as turning points). And yesterday, I attended a presentation by screenwriter Matt McDuffie. He discussed storytelling and where to place that “next step.”

Burning Question #3

How do you keep the hands straight in multi-relations?

Yeah, all those hands (not to mention arms, legs, chests, lips and—um—other body parts) can definitely be tricky. I know some writers who use Barbie dolls. I occasionally use photos as a jumping off point or to determine if that position is even possible. But usually I “see” the scene in my head and type it as I see it (sometimes with my eyes closed). I try to use the characters’ names more frequently than I normally would, so the reader and I can keep them all straight. I must admit, occasionally when I’m revising weeks or months later, I’ll read a ménage scene that leaves me completely befuddled and discombobulated.

That wraps up this issue of “Burning Questions,” but tell me, if you learned you were sitting next to an erotic romance writer at your PTA meeting, would you find another seat? If you were sitting next to someone reading a book with this

Sharing Hailey Coveron the cover, would you strike up a conversation?

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