Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Was Wrong

By Andrew E. Kaufman, author of psychological thrillers

I recently reached the halfway point in my next novel. I sat back, smiled, and drew in a giant breath of relief… 

Then I almost fell out of my chair. Swear to God, if you were there, you would have seen the whites of my eyes. Yes, folks, there was horror: plain, raw, and oh, so very real.

Horror because I came to a shocking realization, that I had to do something I vowed I would never do in one of my books. Not only had I made that vow, but I’d made it with fists pounding, lips pursed in utter defiance, right here on this blog, indelibly written for all of cyberspace to see.

I said would never put a sex scene in one of my novels.

And I quote. On November 8, 2011, I said this:

Sure, a romp in the hay would be good fun and all, but there’s a time and place for everything, and if some killer’s got a bullet with their name on it, they’re not going to be thinking about getting it on; they’re going to be thinking about getting the hell out. Period.

And this:

Besides that, in suspense, pacing is everything, and it seems to me this would only slow things down, and if it doesn’t serve a purpose, isn’t it just gratuitous?

And, of course, there was this:

And then there’s the predictability factor. It’s just too easy.


Little did I know those words would come back to bite me on the ass with the sort of vengeance only an author could dream up, and that I’d be forced to eat every one of them with a fork and spoon.

So here I go. I’m just going to come right out and say it now.

I was wrong.

There, I said it.

It’s not like I want to have sex (in my book). The fact is, during my relatively short career as an author, I’ve managed to avoid it at all costs (Well…there was that one part in my first novel where the two protagonists almost did, but I gently avoided that trap by ending the story just in time). 

However, this time around, there will be no avoidance. My. Characters. Must. Have. Sex. Not only must they have sex, but they must have mad, passionate, crazy-assed sex. Why? Because the plot dictates it, and if they don’t, I’ll lose my credibility as an author (and trust me when I say, if there were a way out of it, I'd so be there).

I’m not going to give away the story, but let’s just say there’s this certain femme fatal. She’s bad news. Real bad. And during the heat of passion, she reveals a deep dark secret about herself. Of course, my protagonist being a typical dude, is too busy enjoying the pleasures of the flesh to pay any attention to it, and it’s only years later that it comes back to haunt him.

 See what I mean?

The fact is I’d do anything to not have to write this scene (have I mentioned that?). I don’t even like to read them. But life does have strange and interesting ways of teaching us things, and this, without a doubt, has to be one of the strangest. And humbling. So when the truth reveals itself, you can do one of two things: you either swallow your pride and try to learn something, or you go the way of fools. Guess which way I’m headed.

So what has Drew learned?
  1. I will never say never again (because one day I just might have to).
  2. Yes, there is a place for sex in suspense thrillers (he said, rolling his eyes).
  3. It’s important to admit when you’re wrong: I was wrong (he muttered, grudgingly).

Now I need to figure out how to write the damned thing.


  1. You can do it, Drew! And if it makes you feel any better, it will get you a whole new audience. ;)

    Great post!

  2. LOL. I can't help myself, Drew. I'm laughing! And laughing! Heck, a little sex is good for the soul. Isn't it?

    I'm sure you'll figure it out.:-)

  3. Good luck Drew. Women say men can't write sex convincingly, but I'm guessing that you are one of the few exceptions. Go home and do some research!

    In my first book I wrote a really racy scene was a way to open the story line. It seems like a gratuitous romp when you first read it, but as the story goes on it becomes more and more central to the plot.

    I don't write sex in most of my books, but I agree it does have its place.

    And a good roll in the hay couldn't hurt once in a while!

  4. LOL! Love it! And can't wait to read it! Go for it, Drew! Make sure you do lots of research first, though! ;-)

  5. I'm glad you kept an open mind about the whole thing. Gonna be interesting…

  6. I'm so sorry, Drew. I know how you feel. I write mysteries, not thrillers, so my characters are allowed a little down time to have sex. They have it, but it's not explicit. I think my MC deserves some privacy. But I know, at some point in my writing career, I will have to write a full-tilt sex scene. I don't wanna do it, but if I say 'never', well, you know what will happen.

    Good luck with the scene. We're rooting for you.

  7. I am running around, laughing like a mad woman, and clapping my hands. I KNEW THIS WAS COMING!!!! All the hints dropped, all the begging to PLEASE let your characters share even a simple kiss (okay, so I'm the hopeless romantic lover here!) and you blow that completely away with actual S-E-X! Watching you (even from a distance) agonizing over the fact that this scene was absolutely necessary to progress the story has been PRICELESS, my friend. As with all things you do, I feel positive this will be perfectly executed and not leave readers wondering "now why did they stop to do that?!" Sigh! Yep, you've made me one happy woman. So proud of you!!! Now hurry up so we can all read it! :D

  8. You are an amazingly humble individual; and surprisingly, much more like me than I expected. Poor you:)
    Nevertheless, my admiration for you as an individual and a novelist has multiplied enormously because of your willingness to experience accountability and transparency. I would say we could use you in politics, but please don't: much rather have you at the helm of your author-ship.

  9. Thanks very much, Archie. As I always say, I'd rather be a student of the truth than a victim of ignorance. I try to find the lessons as I stumble through life. To everyone else, it lessens the wounds to find humor in our errors. Glad I was able to provide you (and me) with some.

  10. Andrew,

    Don't write too good of a sex scene or the lady fans are going to be stalking you at conferences.

  11. The first time is the hardest, after that you'll find it much easier. I hated writing my first sex scene, especially knowing my mum was going to read it. Go for it, you'll do fine.

  12. You said it proud and loud ~ never say never!

  13. Having recently returned from Left Coast Crime, where I served on a panel called "Sex in Mystery" with Allison Brennan and Deborah Coonts --- well, you should have been there.

    As Allison so wonderfully pointed out, sex scenes are dictated by the characters and the plot, not by the author's decision to have or not have them.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  14. I meant to add that Barry Eisler found that men were sharing his books with their wives, and he realized he was cutting his audience in half by not participating in romance conferences as well as mystery/thriller ones.



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