Tension

Apologies for yesterday. Things are a hair better, but not by much. However, in an attempt to put a semi-positive spin on the pain factor, I’ll do a quick comparison of it to writing tension.

Over the weekend, the pain was awful. Literally, I couldn’t leave my bed for longer than 30 minutes – heating pads, TENS and all that other fun stuff. Monday morning the pain had moved somewhat from the epicenter and the relief was amazing.

I was completely mellow for most of the day at work. I still hurt, but the relief was so palpable that my body completely relaxed. (Only to betray me on Tuesday, but I digress.)

Anyway, in thinking on it, and because I was in the process of trying to write something smutty, it sort of occurs to me that it’s an awful lot like writing a relationship between characters. You’ve got to build that tension between them (sexual or otherwise) – build it and build it until it almost hurts. So when they finally figure out where they’re going – i.e. they sleep together, or what have you – the payout is worth it.

I know one of my biggest writing flaws is that I have a tendency to want to get to the good parts too quickly. But there’s something delicious about stringing it out a bit. As a reader, we know or hope it’s coming, but if we’re rewarded right off the bat then we often lose the momentum to continue reading. (And on the other hand, you don’t want to string people along for *too* much time – nothing irritates readers more than waiting for something that either never happens, or is really lame when it does.)

Even when it’s a good build-up, we don’t want to leave the characters too happy for too long. It’s fun to read/write about the characters finally getting it on…but it can get boring very quickly. So as writers, we need to ramp up that tension again and give them something else to work through. (Remember Moonlighting? It was sooo good. Until the characters slept together. And then all that beautiful tension just fell to the floor. Which is okay, except so much of the story was *built* around that tension. Where do you go from there?)

Much like my back. “Oh ho ho, you’re feeling better? WRONG!”

And so here I am. Waiting for the next bit of relief.

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