Tuesday, February 14, 2012


By Lise Horton

Like a Costco of love scenes, Shakespeare has something for everyone. While there is no sex on the page, there is plenty of innuendo. Some rowdy, some sly, some witty, love scenes of every flavor abound from passionate, lusty, or dark, to outrageously funny, poignant, or earnest.

Shakespeare’s lovers are virginal youths, gods and goddesses, attractive opposites, and murderous spouses. The wonder of Shakespeare’s characters in love, coupled with his brilliant language – that can be bawdy, or transcendent – is something you will be struck by again and again. You’ll never fail to find gems within his work that will inspire your own creation of both evocative love scenes and rich characters.

Revisit the most famous, and oft-quoted, of his plays – “Romeo and Juliet” – and you’ll be wallowing in romance, desire, and rapturous words of love. He captures with eloquence the youthful energy and passion of the pair. Witness the speeches of Romeo and his Juliet where their impatience and lust are so evident. Romeo’s famous Act II, Scene II speech “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks, It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.”, conveys his emotions and hormones running amuck. And Juliet, as she awaits the return of Nurse, her agitation blatantly clear, bemoans, “O, she is lame! . . . Had she affections and warm youthful blood, She would be as swift in motion as a ball;”. Later, the all-encompassing power of her love is laid out for the reader in Act II, Scene II with its stunning conclusion:

“…Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess’d it; and though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy’d. …”

On the opposite end of the love scene spectrum, you have the witty adult banter replete with sexual innuendo, foreplay if you will, between Kate and Petruchio, in “The Taming of the Shrew”. This famous meeting is a terrific example of Shakespeare’s bawdy bent (Act II, Scene I):

             Kate: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
             Petruchio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.
             Kate: Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies.
             Petruchio: Who knows not where a wasp
                      does wear his sting? In his tail!
             Kate: In his tongue.
             Petruchio: Whose tongue?
             Kate: Yours, if you talk of tales; and so farewell.
            Petruchio: What, with my tongue in your tail?
                     Nay, come again, Good Kate, 
                     I am a gentleman.
            Kate: That I’ll try.

For the author crafting love scenes, reading the plays of Shakespeare provides a bountiful wealth of inspiration.

In addition to his plays, there is also the breathtaking beauty of his poems and sonnets – rife with intense romantic emotions. Perhaps the most famous, Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) presents a lover’s litany to his lady of all her beloved characteristics. But my personal favorite never fails to choke me up. In a few short lines it expresses the all-encompassing power of love:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

To paraphrase Portia, I rest my case.

P.S. Of course, among the canon of dramatic literature, lovers and love scenes abound. For other tastes, you might try:

“Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” – a great exploration of post-coital emotions by John Patrick Shanley

“Talk To Me Like The Rain and Let Me Listen” – a lyrical outpouring between 2 lovers exposing their deepest longings, by the master, Tennessee Williams.

“Frankie and Johnny In The Claire du Lune” - Terence McNally’s quiet exploration of two strangers, hesitant, ordinary, who succumb to loneliness and longing. This is an exquisite, passionate play, as lilting as the song title it references.

“Fool For Love” – Again, this Sam Shepard play is sizzling with erotic tension and action between the two incestuous sibling lovers.

“Desire Under the Elms” – Like some other plays of Eugene O’Neill, “Anna Christie” and “A Moon For the Misbegotten”, “Desire”, with its theme of forbidden lust and love, is a deep and dark exploration of the human heart.

One of the most tortured pair of lovers in all of dramatic literature is Tennessee Williams’ very own Maggie the Cat and her husband Brick. The dynamics of familial pressures on a couple, Brick’s tormented secrets, and Maggie’s unrequited lust for her handsome husband are brilliantly explored. And perhaps the universal desperation of lovers can be summed up in Maggie’s classic speech:

“You know, if I thought you would never, never, never make love to me again – I would go downstairs to the kitchen and pick out the longest and sharpest knife I could find and stick it straight into my heart, I swear that I would! But the one thing I don’t have is the charm of the defeated, my hat is still in the ring and I am determined to win! What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? I wish I knew . . . Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can . . . Later tonight I’m going to tell you I love you an’ maybe by that time you’ll be drunk enough to believe me….”♥

Lise Horton is the new RWANYC Chapter President. She is currently writing in her two favorite genres, and keeping abreast of the fascinating changes in the world of publishing. Find out more about the industry on her blog, The Publishing Game, http://publishinggame.blogspot.com/.  You can also visit her at http://www.lisehorton.com/.

Friday, February 10, 2012

WRITING TIP: How to Write a Love Scene

From Del Carmen

With Valentine's Day around the corner, what better way to celebrate the day, the month!, the romance of it all, then by making love, physically and mentally.

Here is my writing tip on How to Write A Love Scene.

The secret.....always incorporate the five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing – to paint a full picture. Using all the senses heightens the sexual tension and makes for a better seduction and surrender!

Del Carmen’s “Ride A Cowboy” was published in the WOMEN IN LUST anthology (Cleis Press, November 2011). It was reprinted by Penthouse in their February 2012 issue. Visit Del Carmen at http://www.mydelcarmen.com/.

Monday, February 6, 2012


by Del Carmen

You want to write a romance, but do you know what kind? And, yes, Virginia, there are lots of different kinds of romance.  Here are some of the basics.


There are two recognized formats – series or single-title romances.

• Category romances are novels that are distributed in a sequential numbered series every month. Think Harlequin. They are the King in series/category romance. For example, Harlequin Presents, Desire, Blaze, etc.

• Single-title romances are just what their name implies – they are released as single books.


Now for the fun part--your genre. The main plot of course is boy-gets-girl and they live happily ever after, but setting, plot elements and even tone also helps to define and differentiate genres. And, nowadays, you can even mix and match.

• Contemporary Romance. Set in the “now,” in present time. Includes everything after WWII / 1945. (Note: Some publishers consider anything after 1900 a contemporary. Always research publishers before submitting.)

• Historical Romance. Just want it says, historical; novels set before WWII. These can be medieval, Regencies, Regency Historicals (yes, they are different), Westerns, Pioneer, Indian, Victorian, etc.

• Paranormal Romance. Everything from time travel to vampires to dragons to fairies to angels.

• Young Adult Romance. These are novels geared toward young adult readers, usually 14+. Think TWILIGHT, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.


Within all these subgenres are more subgenres, a few which have become their own category. Below are a few of the more prominent examples:

• Inspirational Romance. Religious or spiritual beliefs play a big part in these novels and in the romantic relationship. Christian and Amish novels are included in this category.

• Regency Romances. Are romances written specifically during the Regency period of the British Empire. These have specific mannerisms, language, style. Think Jane Austen. Think Signet Regency Romances.

• Regency Historical Romances. These are also set during the Regency period, but they take liberties with the mannerism and language of the Regency period, and are wider in scope.

• Medical Romances. These were the original romances where the hero was always a doctor and the heroine a nurse or secretary. They are still popular.

• Romantic Suspense. These romances have lots of mystery and thriller elements in the plot.

• Novels with Strong Romantic Elements. These are novels that have a romance in them, but the romance does not headline the story. Nor is the HEA a guarantee. For example, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.

• Erotic Romances. Are romances that leave the door wide open and allow the reader to “watch” what goes on between the sheets, in the backseat, in the pool….well, you get the idea. These are both naughty and nice.


And, if you are scared to write a 80,000-word manuscript, you can always start small. Consider writing a short story in any of the genres above, or maybe try your hand at a confession. Writing these can help hone your craft and keep you motivated. Good luck and Happy Writing.♥

Del Carmen is the sexy alter ego of Maria Ferrer, who is looking forward to exposing more of herself. Visit her at www.mydelcarmen.com.