Spice It Up: Adding Sexual Tension

June 10, 2015

This month I’m talking about great tips I’ve received from editors.  Last week we talked about changing monologue into dialogue.  This week we’re going to touch on adding sexual tension to a scene.  I owe this one to the great Roxanne St. ClaireNote to writers: if you ever get a chance to take her scene workshop, don’t miss it!

Adding Sexual Tension

When She Knows Contemporary RomanceI employed this technique quite a bit in When She Knows because the heroine is trying very hard to deny her growing attraction for the hero.  When the hero and heroine first meet in this story, there is no reason for there to be any sexual tension, but the readers know what Shannon has gone through that morning and her denial of anything more than a passing distraction of the hero’s physical form. Adding sexual tension raises the stakes.  Suddenly there is more than just conflict between these two characters.  There’s sexy conflict.

Here’s an example:

“Shannon, was it?” he said when he was close.
He had felt her breath hitch when she had bumped into him, and now he dared to step a little closer than politeness would have dictated.  He saw it again, the slight hitch in her chest, and he felt a smile spread over his face.  He leaned in, dropping his voice to a soft, rich level.
“Have you heard of the Internet, Shannon?”
“Yes,” she whispered softly, her eyes locked on his.
“Use it,” he said and walked away, leaving her standing in the parking lot, her pen completely still.

Up next week is a special guest post from my very own editor, Kate, from How Novel Editing. (Don’t worry.  She’s promised not to write an entire post about commas!)

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