Today, the Book Bird has a real treat, if you like to see into a writer’s mind. Angela Hartley, author of Copper Descent, has agreed to guest post for us all the way from Utah, and here she discusses how much is enough for your audience (wink wink).
Angela’s debut novel is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK. You can check her out at Goodreads, and she writes a great blog if you want to get to know her better … You can also find her on Facebook and the inevitable Twitter. Oh, and you can read all about her below.her post.
When a Climax Leaves a Reader Less Than Satisfied
Alright, kids, we’re going to have a talk today. I’ll try to keep it tasteful and the embarrassing parts down to a minimum, but I think there are some things you should know about your characters and sex.
Whoa! Hold the phone … Did Angela just use the “S” word? Quick, call the FBI, CIA, and NBA!
Okay … I do recognize that the National Basketball Association has nothing to do with the other initials. But with how often some of their players wind up in the media over the sex topic, I thought they’d want to be alerted.
The subject is touchy (no pun intended), I get it. But as writers, if we don’t address the “How To” aspect, we’ll be fumbling around in the dark like idiots. No one wants to leave their reader less than satisfied, but you also don’t want to walk your grandmother into a strip club and sit her down in the front row. Unless of course, Grandma’s into that sort of thing, which brings me to my first point:
Know your Audience
There are genre guidelines for most publishing companies out there, and even in the structure of those genres there are varying degrees. For example, let’s take the genre of horror: for a Middle Grade reader, you want an unsettling feeling, nothing too extreme or nightmare provoking, and absolutely NO SEXUAL CONTENT. Listen to Aunty Angie on this one folks.
I live in a very conservative community, and you don’t want those mamas showing up at your door in the middle of the night with torches and pitchforks (I was pretty lucky to get out of that one alive and only needing to wear a scarlet A, which I totally ROCK by the way).
You can get away with a little more with a Young Adult audience. This readership has lived outside of their parent’s safety bubble, but they’re still trying to figure out their place in the world. As a majority, they like paranormal and are also pretty curious about sex. You can explore some aspects, but just like the teens you’re writing for, you shouldn’t go all the way.
My novel, Copper Descent would have been classified a Young Adult horror, but because more graphic and romantic elements are involved in the series as a whole, I decided to move up an audience base to New Adult. The first comments I received by changing to a New Adult novel was, “There’ll be SEX!”
This meant I needed to beef-up my existing manuscript and add a sex scene with a strong enough punch to warrant the change. Just like I don’t want to put graphic love scenes in front of the eyes of my teenage children, I also don’t want my new adult audience to feel like they were… well… let’s just say, cut off prematurely.
Hitting the Sweet-Spot While Staying Classy
Personally, I’m not very big on divulging the full Monty, and unless you are writing Erotica, your readership probably doesn’t want that kind of exposure either.
If you are writing for adults, more than likely they’ve had their own encounters, and their imagination can fill in the details. Sex is a big part of our lives, and there’s a reason why it’s such a huge deal. We enjoy it. Memory is one of the best tools a writer can ever tap into.
I like to focus on the reader’s emotional aspect of physical intimacy. Emotion always packs a stronger punch than wacky terms no one is really comfortable in using. It’s kind of the difference between picking up a hooker and having a well-kept mistress. They both get the job done, but the latter carries far more finesse.
This guest post was brought to you courtesy of Angela Hartley, Author of The Sentient Chronicles.
A little more about the author
Angela Hartley spent much of her childhood being shuffled from house to house with only a book for companionship. The magic she found in the written word saved her in many ways, transporting her into worlds far more enjoyable than the one she resided in. Literature became a passion and the idea of writing carried her through years of uncertainty.
After high school, she met and married her own Prince Charming. They rode off into the sunset in his blue Toyota and a whole new world full of hope and happiness opened up. He claimed they could move mountains together, and they did.
While facing the painful realization that sometimes there are no tomorrows following her father’s tragic death in 2005, she decided it was time to follow her dreams. With the love and support of her family, she dove into another world, full of procreating angels and demon rock stars.
Her debut new adult horror novel, Copper Descent will be released on Amazon May 2014. Angela currently resides in Midway, Utah with her three children and husband.