The Buildup Is Better Than The Sex. Trust Me On This One.


I just wrote an incredibly torrid scene between my two lead characters. The steam practically wafted up from the keyboard and I had to stop a couple of times and squirm a bit, it was that good.

Damn, it was that good.

And they didn’t touch each other once.

It was their first real face-to-face after seeing each other from afar, and the circumstances were more than a bit surreal (it’s a fantasy romance, after all) which lent itself to the tension crackling in the air. The chemistry between them is undeniable.

But of course, I’m going to have them keep denying it, just for a little while longer. Until something triggers it and sends them over the edge and right into each other. Until they’re both not able to beat back the flames anymore. Until they throw all caution to the wind and say what the hell and worry about the regrets later.

And of course, it’ll be so damn good when they do there won’t be many regrets.

When you’re writing romance, or sex, or any combination of the two, buildup is everything. Why the hell do you think YA is such a hot genre? YA is all about buildup and rarely involves sex, yet you see thousands of Twilight Moms and women who are Team Gale or Team Peeta slugging it out on internet boards.

Write the eyes meeting, the spark or the flame behind them. Write the brush of an arm or the warmth of a hand at the small of her back. Write the way the rain makes his shirt cling or the way the wind blows her hair across her lips before he gently tugs the strand away and tucks it behind her ear. Write the way his body presses into hers as they hide in the alcove, waiting for the danger to pass.

Write the buildup well. The rest will happen organically, and it will be all the better for it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me….I have to figure out what they’re going to say to each other, once they actually speak.

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