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Sabrina Young

1. What are the keys to writing love scenes/sex scenes with emotional punch?

The scene should change the emotions of the characters involved in a way that also changes the characters. In addition, these internal and external changes should either move the character closer to the story’s conflict or to the next point of their character arc. Physical touches should be connected to emotional responses in a way that the character learns something new about themselves or their partner and that contributes to (or conflicts with) their growth within the story.

2. How can you help authors create convincing love and/or sex scenes? What are some stumbles you’ve seen authors make when writing such scenes?

As other editors have noted in these posts, a sex scene is more than Tab A into Slot B. A love/sex scene should show the reader something new about the characters. It should support the storyline and the next plot point. If the heroine releases her fear of intimacy and becomes sexual with the hero, then she has more at risk when something happens to the hero or an ex-lover arrives on the scene.

Some stumbles include ending the scene too quickly, almost efficiently, in a way that tells you nothing about the two characters. In one of Asa Maria Bradley’s Viking Warriors series, when the hero and heroine finally have sex the scene was over so quickly that, as a reader, I was left thinking “that’s it?”

3. What does “show, don’t tell” mean in the context of romance? We have to know what the MCs are thinking, which is almost always going to be exposition/telling. When is telling okay and when not?

I think telling is okay when it is an internal thought that can’t be communicated in any other way. Telling becomes exposition when we are no longer in the story from the character’s POV. We’re being told the hero has blue eyes instead of showing the heroine “could gaze into his deep blue eyes forever.”

4. What are some important keys authors need to keep in mind to create a satisfying resolution?

Keep track of your plot points and subplots and tie up all your loose ends. Ensure that both characters have completed their arcs and are changed in a way that supports both the plot and their HEA. Resolve the conflict in a way that makes the characters face and overcome their weaknesses at the beginning.