Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: I would Never Write...

When I was about nine years old I decided to write a book. It was a novel - a children's novel, but still a novel. I remember that it was set in Hong Kong and was titled "The Silver Bird of Happiness". I wrote somewhere around a page, in longhand, before I abandoned it. Partly I lacked persistence, but that wasn't really it. I was very persistent at certain things, things that just required repeating over and over until I was successful. But I didn't know what the story was going to be, other than in the sketchiest detail. And so I gave up.

Later at high school we had an assignment to write the first chapter of a novel. Again, I had absolutely no idea of plot. So I fudged it. I decided the first chapter would "set the scene". I thought of a character (based on my father) and a scene (near my home), and wrote a descriptive first chapter. I received a very high mark, I recall, but it's a good thing that no one asked me to write the second chapter.

And so I decided that I would never be a writer, after all. Until years later I found myself writing poetry. But I still told myself I would never write a novel. Except that I notice that stories are creeping into my poems. Small stories, certainly, but nevertheless stories. And then there is NaNoWriMo. I've bought the book. Maybe one day I will write that novel.

I would never write a sex scene, though. I wouldn't know how to handle it. After all, my knowledge is far too limited. Sex scenes in novels don't involve couples who have been married forever. But then, there the topic of writing sex scenes came up in the writers' festival yesterday. "Writing sex", declared one of the authors, "is just writing. It arises out of character and plot." She admitted that some sex scenes are put in just to spice things up, but usually they don't work. Good sex scenes are there because they advance the plot. And I thought of a character or two I had in mind for a novel, and how the sex between them would go, and admitted to myself that maybe I could do it. One day. Right now I have my poetry, and I have a family history or two to write (one for my mother's family, and one for my father's family.) So, not just yet. But maybe one day...

More Sunday Scribblings here

11 comments:

Brony said...

Great post. Writing is such a magical thing. You can do so much for poetry.

As for relationships I have one site you might like. It only has one post at the momment, but I'll be doing more (http://definingintimacy.blogspot.com)

And for the writing sex scenes, My friend has just started(http://dildosfordummies.blogspot.com) It could be educational. Who knows?

Michele sent me!

Tia said...

That is so interesting! I always wanted to write a book too (even though I had no proven talent what so ever) and when I was in high school I did the very same thing.... I based "the novel" on my visit to Florida to see my brother...falling in love with his best friend... No clue where it was going, but I think I got three or four paragraphs done! =)

It is inspiring to hear you say within the same paragraph "I would never write a sex scene though" and "....and I admitted to myself that maybe I could do it." That is the creative spirit getting stronger within you right in front of our very eyes! Good for you!

chiefbiscuit said...

You are brave and honest - I wouldn't be brave enough to admit the same! But it's true ... I wouldn't know how to go about writing a sex scene.(There i admitted it - you gave me courage!) I loved what you said about being glad they didn't ask for the second chapter - I can SO relate to that!

Pacian said...

I could write a sex scene, but I'd have to work on ever letting anyone else see it.

January said...

You may want to try writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. That will definitely start your novel idea.

I've written poems about sex, so writing sex scenes can't be that difficult.

Great poet!

January said...

I meant "Great post!" But great poet seems appropriate, too!

Autrice DelDrago said...

Writing a sex scene can be difficult... not because of the intimacy between two people, but because you want to appeal to a broad base of readers. Steamy sex scenes and graphic descriptions should be left to romance novels (I have really been harping on those as of late!) but they are not needed in most other works of fiction. Alluding that two people "have at it passionately" between chapter 4 and 5 is much more captivating than actually exposing your character's love life (and body parts) to the readers. And, you never know if children or young adults are reading your novel!

Uisce said...

I wrote a novel last year and part of the story was these two people getting together and making a baby. I was so freaked out about the idea of sex in my novel that I just pretty much said, yeah they did it and they had fun. It was soooo lame! I should have just left that whole part out, I think! Here from Michele's!

Chelle Y. said...

I could never write a book, much less a sex scene. Even after being married for almost twelve years, sex scenes make me blush and I usually find myself looking away.

You did a great job on this post.

paris parfait said...

Lovely post, Catherine. I think you can write whatever you set out to write - after all, you're telling a story. And stories happen all around us every day, if we just pay attention.

Carmi said...

I have a feeling that that book is in you, and you will indeed write it.

I always wondered what life would be like if I had the guts to write for a living. I made the switch 3 years ago, and now I know: it's more fulfilling than I ever dreamed.