Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Don't I Write about Sex?

by Ellery Adams.

Why don’t I?

Because I’m no good at it.

Wait, that came out wrong.

When I began writing mysteries, I focused on the puzzle first. I’ve always been a bit of a jigsaw puzzle geek and now I even do cryptograms when I’m waiting a long time (at the doctor’s office, for example. Why do we make appointments just to sit for thirty-forty minutes anyway? They should just hand out numbers like they do at the deli counter).

Next up, I turned my attention to the characters. From that point, the setting came into play. I steered away from romantic entanglements because I could never write them as well as the other stuff.

Now, with my Books By the Bay mysteries, I start with the characters and they drag me by the hair, this way and that, in true caveman style until the book unfolds like a rose. Thus far, none of them have shown an interest in getting naked. Great. I get down to the other elements and don’t have any R-rated sex scenes to worry about.

My heroine, Olivia Limoges, is a haunted, cynical, independent heiress who refuses to be swept off her feet by anyone. What a relief! Still, I can’t leave her on the shelf forever. I mean, the woman’s got needs. I can do a closed-door fling with the charismatic bookstore owner for now, but eventually, the man the readers sense Olivia belongs with is going to do something so heroic that she’ll have to defrost long enough to well, disrobe.

But not yet. I can hold off for another book. Because when that scene happens, it has to be right. It’s Olivia’s first time, after all. At least, it’s her first time being put on display by me.

This moment has to be as deftly executed as the clues woven into the plot. She has to be ready. I have to be ready. How much do you want to see in your mystery? Tell the truth now. Do you want your couples to go inside and shut the door? Or do you want to peek through the keyhole?

*Feel free to stop by my website. I am giving away a 3G Kindle on March 8th to celebrate the release of A Deadly Clich√© and it’s not too late to enter the contest! Thanks for having me, ladies!


  1. Hi, Ellery! It's great having you with us today, and I love the topic! When I read mysteries, I think I prefer sex to be behind closed doors, unless there's something about the relationship that's integral to the plot. I know I avoided sex scenes entirely while doing my Debutante Dropout series! Although my young adult nonmystery series was another story (believe it or not)...and THE COUGAR CLUB, of course. I always worry when I write sexy scenes, "What will my mom-in-law think?" ;-)

  2. Sorry about the Kindle contest bit - I had forgotten that by the time this blog posted, it would be over. Bad Ellery! Ten lashes for me.

    Thanks for hosting me, ladies. You are a very talented group.

  3. Hi Ellery,


    I think sex scenes (or any scenes) should be in a story only if they move the plot forward. If you don't need it, don't write it;)

  4. Ellery, I don't write about sex either, much to my mother's chagrin. (She likes her books sexy.) Can't do it. Won't do it. I have kids and I live in a small town. Can you imagine? Maggie

  5. I prefer the sex scenes behind close door.

  6. To sex or not to sex - that is the question! And a tough one at that. I had my Grandmother proof read my first book, so... you know, sex scenes were out of the question. But for my second book, my editor requested one. What to do? I decided the place where I draw the line is "throbbing member." If I have to describe someone's genitalia then the scene has gone to far. ;)

  7. What fun reading this post and the comments. The characters in my books do have sex but they are kind enough to shut the door so I don't have to watch. I know you all think because I'm old I just can't remember what it is all about--believe me, my memory is in fine working order. When I first began writing, I did put sex scenes in my books, but I got tired of figuring out new and fresh ways to write the same thing. Besides, everyone know how it works, I don't need to tell them, they can use their own imagination.



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