“I sometimes think novelists write about sex in order to avoid boring themselves to death.” – Walker Percy
While writing The Ride, I came to a place in the story where the next logical step between two of the characters was a steamy sex scene. This is going to be fun, I thought. With my hands poised above the keys, I froze.
“You don’t have a clue what to do here, do you?” I heard my Muse mutter.
She was right, I didn’t. Each word sounded forced or hokey. I deleted a few of the words immediately. “Your mother is going to read this," I reminded myself. Though no easy task, I finally worked my way through it and was pleased with the outcome.
After running across information about Britain’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award, I feel even better about the scene. I didn’t make this award up. According to LibraryThing Beta,
“The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award is an award given annually to the author who produces the worst description of a sex scene in a novel. The award is in the form of a "semi-abstract trophy representing sex in the 1950s", which depicts a naked woman draped over an open book. It has been presented each year since 1993 by the Literary Review, a London literary journal. The award was originally established by Rhoda Koenig, a literary critic, and Auberon Waugh, then editor of the Literary Review.The given rationale is "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it".”
The 2008 award went to Rachel Johnson for Shire Hell. From guardian.co.uk,
“Johnson was singled out for her novel's slew of animal metaphors, including comparing her male protagonist's "light fingers" to "a moth caught inside a lampshade", and his tongue to "a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop".”
Also according to the article, her prize was a plaster foot and not the trophy of a woman draped over a book. I’m trying to keep this a PG so you’ll have to read the article in the guardian.co.uk for more details. You can also read about the other nominees and Updike’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Entire “nominated” passages for previous years can be found at Literary Review. But, here are excerpts of a few of my favorites (that I could print without blushing too much).
From I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe winner in 2004: “Hoyt began moving his lips as if he were trying to suck the ice cream off the top of a cone without using his teeth.”
From Bunker 13 by Aniruddha Bahal, winner in 2003: "She's taking off her blouse. It's on the floor. Her breasts are placards for the endomorphically endowed.”
And from Kissing England by Sean Thomas, winner in 2000: "She is his own Toshiba, his dinky little JVC, his sweet Aiwa. Aiwa - She says, as he enters her slimy red-peppers-in-olive-oil ****(word censored by the author of this blog) - Aiwa, aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh"
Have you read any scenes that should be nominated for this award? Do you have any advice for writing sex scenes?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: The Ride, writing sex scenes, Bad Sex in Fiction Award, Literary Review, Rachel Johnson, Updike, Tom Wolfe, Bahal, Sean Thomas, Walker Percy,