What writing love scenes can teach you about writing ordinary advance-the-plot scenes

When we googled “writing, making scenes come to life,” what came up was a lot of instructions on writing love scenes. Love scenes would seem to have a fair amount of drama built in. But author Karen Wiesner seems to think they are a particular challenge – and she should know she has written almost 100 books, including many romances.

“Love scenes can be a chore. They can make editors and readers skip to the next chapter to avoid the boredom, purple prose or embarrassment. Or they can be written so perfectly, your heart is full, your body is about to explode, your eyes are wet and you actually want to cry out at the beauty of what you've created. You'll forget you're writing words instead of experiencing the most emotional, exciting moment of your life. You may even have the urge to light up a cigarette to savor the

Wiesner’s impressive “Twenty Steps to Writing Great Love Scenes” can be seen at http://www.writing-world.com/romance/love.shtml.

If love scenes are a problem, what about those between an elderly couple having breakfast or a group of women at the coffee shop? Sometimes scenes like this are necessary to advance plots. While many of our clients are invested in climactic love scenes, they have a harder time making these more mundane scenes interesting.

Take heart, there is much to be learned from all the instructions on writing love scenes, if you skip strictures on how far to go and doing only what you are comfortable with. Below are some of Wiesner’s twenty steps that are very good advice to writing other kinds of scenes. We have redacted the word “love.”

*STEP FOUR: Make … scenes real instead of hokey or overly sentimental.

*STEP SEVEN: Don't use purple prose, hokey euphemisms, words or phrases
that make you uncomfortable. But do use words that are appropriate, even
if you're a little uncomfortable with them.

*STEP EIGHT: Set the scene and the mood for yourself and your characters.

*STEP NINE: Don't forget the genre you're writing in.

*STEP TEN: Use your characters background and experiences

*STEP ELEVEN: Choose your point-of-view very carefully.

*STEP THIRTEEN: Remember, it's all in the details.

*STEP FOURTEEN: Dialogue is sexy — use it to its fullest.

*STEP SIXTEEN: Ask yourself if you should "raise the stakes" physically
or emotionally… or both.

*STEP SEVENTEEN: Emphasize the physical, but not at the expense of the
emotional. Equalize the two as if on an analytical balance.

*STEP EIGHTEEN: Remember, less can be more.

*STEP TWENTY: Reveal something with each … scene.
Don't just throw them in for no good reason. Reveal something with each of
these … scenes. Reveal the character(s), advance some element of the plot, reveal hidden emotions.

Finally, a word of advice from us: approach every scene as if it were a love scene!