Helga’s Post # 20 — Virginia Woolf was right on when she wrote about women writers needing their own space. A Room of One’s Own holds as true today as when she wrote it in 1929.
I could relate, especially during those last frantic days of writing before our group’s deadline. I was so far behind in my target to finish my novel – my new novel – that I really needed my space. All of the time. Which meant I had to apply some tough measures. No phone, no Skype, no shopping, no cooking, no cleaning.
Still, challenges, other than a cruel deadline, had to be mastered. One such happened last weekend. Felt tired of writing scenes about chromosomes, DNA and so forth – way too complex for a neophyte biochemist. Slow going and lots of research and checking facts.
I needed something to motivate me to stay focused and passionate about my story. I read somewhere when things get tough, write a sex scene. I did. Between my female protagonist and someone she shouldn’t have sex with. She should have known better, but didn’t. Though I warned her.
Outlines can never predict when a protagonist gets the urge (sex being spontaneous much of the time), so this scene sort of landed in my brain out of nowhere. It started to take shape on the screen and it changed my plot (to the better, I think). So here I was, two pages into it, right in the middle, right at the steamy point. I focused on all those minute details and finding the right voice, the right sounds, to make it really erotic without sounding cheesy and have readers bursting out laughing. In other words, deep concentration was required.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Because there was noise all around me. Lots of it. Annoying, high-pitched noise. I finally blew it and yelled.
“How can I write a sex scene when you’re running that friggin’ vacuum cleaner around my feet?”
It wasn’t fair. I regretted the words as soon as they were out (we made up later). Because my husband, the most lovable man on the planet (for me), had offered to put his shoulder to the wheel and support me in the sanity of the final stretch of this challenge. With shopping, washing dishes, replacing toilet paper, providing soothing background music, and cleaning house. And cleaning he did. Efficiently. Noisily. Endlessly. With the noisiest vacuum cleaner in the neighborhood.
Have you ever tried to write a sex scene without a room of your own?
Ah, the challenges of writing fiction. The intricacy of getting non-writers understand that you gotta be in the scene. Arthur Miller understood.