Advice, Characters, Craft, Dream, Fiction, Scene, Tips, Writing

Frigid Fiction

The beginning of this post is rather … unusual, and to lessen my chances of it getting search hits of the wrong sort, I will use creative spelling.


Let’s just say a woman had a s.e.x dream and in this dream, though aware the act was taking place, she felt none of the usual physical sensations. Then, at the moment of what should have been an exhilarating s.e.x.u.a.l orgasm, she felt her soul being pulled out through her entire upper body instead.

As a writer, I might see this dream as an illustration why a scene I struggled through editing yesterday did not have the desired impact. Although the scene is written in deep third pov, I failed to convey the intensity of the character’s thoughts and feelings. Though I wanted the reader right there in the scene, I kept them far away from feeling the emotion of it. In effect, I ripped the soul out of what should have been a powerful scene.

It’s okay, we’re all adults. Let’s talk openly. Do you ever discover passages of frigid fiction in your writing?

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9 thoughts on “Frigid Fiction”

  1. I wrote a scene that I thought worked great,with two lovers finally arguing out the Big Issues in the story to that point.

    But two women in my critique group could not get past the female character saying ‘f—!”

    I questioned them a lot about their feelings throughout the scene, because, as I explained to them afterwards:
    If they noticed one word, let alone got hung up on it, the the problem was not that word: the problem was that the scene failed.

    If it had worked as I thought it had, they would have been entirely caught up in the drama, not the profanity.

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    1. Good point, Paul. And kudos for realizing the true problem. This makes me want to go back through old critiques to see if I misunderstood the real import of some objection. I keep reminding myself that any time a reader stops reading, for any reason, I have to question why.

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  2. I definitely think I’ve written scenes where I pulled the soul out. I find that it’s usually when I’m thinking too much about what the reader might want to see happen and not enough about what the characters would actually do.

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  3. Even my dreams are boring compared to other people’s. *Sigh*

    I’m afraid to answer that question you’re posing. I don’t know the answer — but I’m afraid it’s probably yes.

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  4. Oh yes, it happens too often for my liking. I once wrote a scene where two lovers (icky word that) were reunited after a decade. It was dramatic and tragic and just felt phony, and this was not even meant to be a romance!

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    1. Oh, certainly, it’s easy to set the wrong tone with just a few careless words. I’ve been editing all day and right now, I’m whining … writing is hard.

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