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Please Help Me, Dr. Lanyon 2

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, Dr. Lanyon diagnoses the ailing prose fragment!
For clarity, I've put the original story text in bold and Dr. Lanyon's comments in italics.
    Roger knew that they were going to have sex now.  The question was: where?  Dick was calling the shots, so Roger asked him.
    Vell, vell, vhat do ve haf here? Fraulein Kimberling has been kind enough to share her sickly prose with me, and I’m going to see if we can patch it up any. So! As ve used to say in Vienna, let’s get down to it. To start with: Roger and Dick. The Nickster is being funny here, but in fact I would always urge you to take extra care with your main character’s names. Granted, I would take Roger and Dick over Ashley or Cody or Marcello. Personally, I think M/M fiction is peopled by way too many pretty hermaphrodites with pretty little names, but that’s just me. So…Roger and Dick. 
    Now let’s consider this beginning -- Nikki was handicapped by the fact that she was concocting a scene out of thin air -- but ordinarily we would want to flow into this moment a little more gracefully. We could do that by getting right into Roger’s head (EXCUSE ME, but I need you to concentrate here). What I mean is, we want to write this scene from Roger’s POV and in Roger’s own voice.  So we might try something more like this:
Oh wow. It was really going to happen. Finally. He and Dick were going to fuck.
    It’s helpful to let the reader know what Roger is feeling because hopefully this is a big moment in the story. If Fraulein Kimberling has done her job properly, Roger and Dick have struggled to get to this moment. There have been a couple of tantalizing close calls, but now comes the real thing. In a manner of speaking. A couple of physical cues to the reader would help here. Is Roger’s heart speeding up with excitement? Is he getting hard? Is his skin flushed? Are his hands perspiring? Or is he wondering if he paid the electric bill? I can’t tell.  As for Roger wondering about where they will consummate this hot-blooded coupling and deciding to ask Dick…this is reporting, not story-telling. The author (I don’t think I can refer to her as Nikki as anymore) is telling, not showing us, right?  So instead we might try using dialog:
“You mean right here?” Roger flushed as his voice shot up on the word “here.”
    This way we know that Roger is wondering where the deed shall be done, and that he’s looking for Dick to supply the answers. Aren’t we all?

    “Do you want to go to the bedroom?” Roger indicated the bedroom door with his left hand.
    I’m thinking Nikki was a dab hand with the puppets when she was a kid. I can see her thumb waving Roger-the-Lion’s little left arm now.  We don’t need a lot of detail here. In fact, mentioning Roger’s left hand made me wonder if there was a wedding ring on it or something significant about it. All we really need is: “Do you want to go to the bedroom?”  If you think readers will be unsure of who is speaking, then you can add the Roger Said tag. The business of Roger indicating the bedroom door is meaningless and not particularly interesting, so I’d leave it.  Frankly, the question itself isn’t interesting either. You don’t want to put dialog in just to have dialog -- give your characters something interesting to say or shut them up. That’s my opinion. 
    “I think I’ll just stay here.” Dick was patting the sofa cushion beside him.  The sofa was leather and hand been a hand-me-down from Roger’s grandpa.  When Roger sat down next to Dick, the cushions squeaked and smelled like Old Spice aftershave. Dick patted the sofa cushion beside him.
    Again, if Dick has nothing interesting to say, it might be more intriguing to have him stay silent. Now it occurs to me that maybe Roger is shy and he would prefer the dark and quiet of the bedroom -- if that’s the case, then he can sort of shift around and suggest the bedroom. Otherwise: Roger sat down, giving a nervous laugh as the leather cushions squeaked. His thigh brushed Dick’s.
    Did grandpa leave a whoopee cushion in the sofa? Never mind.
    I don’t think the bit about the sofa’s history is relevant at this moment, and if Roger smells Old Spice aftershave while in the upright position, the sofa reeks. Is this the scene that you’re trying to set for your big romantic moment? If you’re going for comedy, maybe so. Maybe cat pee would be even funnier. I leave it to you. But wait till Roger is rolling around in the cushions before he’s sniffing the upholstery. Now if it’s Dick who smells like Old Spice, that’s different because it would be nice to get some sensory input here. 

    Dick put his arms around Roger and then stroked Roger’s back longingly through his t-shirt. Roger’s heart was racing. They were really going to do it now.
    And I, for one, can’t wait.
    Agent X, reporting from Roger’s living room, tells us what is happening in the scene but we’re not getting much richness of detail here are we? And that’s the fun of fiction, the fun of writing -- not to mention reading.  Readers want to live that scene with the characters. They want to feel what the characters feel -- physically and emotionally.  You’ve got to let them know what’s going on -- it will help to go deep into our POV character’s mind. 

    His heart was racing as Dick’s muscular arms drew him close. Dick smelled like Old Spice and cigarettes and something dark and sexy and uniquely Dick. 
    “Man, you’re nervous,” Dick said, and there was a thread of amusement in his voice.
    “What time does your wife get home?”
    “Ha. Funny.”  Was this really happening? Dick’s hands were a warm weight through the thinness of his tee shirt; they slid down Roger’s back, gathering him closer still and he could feel Dick’s erection -- and knew Dick could feel his. 
    Since we’re not (and should not be) in Dick’s head, we can’t know that he’s stroking Roger longingly -- unless Roger is projecting -- but we can know what Roger feels as he is stroked. 
   
They kissed and Dick pushed his tongue into Roger’s mouth probingly.
    Slow down, dude!  Again, take your time and make sure you’re letting the reader know what the characters are experiencing, both physically and emotionally. So Dick pushes his tongue inside Roger’s mouth and…what does that feel like? What does Dick taste like? 
   
Roger groaned in pleasure and his hands sought out Dick’s hard, taut abdomen.
    Really? Why? I think there are more interesting things he could reach for at this moment, but I would take time with the scene. Like he could kiss Dick back and we could get a little detail about Dick’s soft lips and silky hair and rough-velvet beard and smooth skin and black fingernails -- oops! But this is romance, so we the people are looking for idealized little bits of reality.  

    Dick sure works out, Roger thought.
    Roger really is gay. 
    Dick’s mouth tasted like the jagerbomb that he’d just had at the bar before they’d come home.  
    Well, unless I know what a jagerbomb tastes like, that’s not going to do much for me, although I applaud the appearance of sensory detail. You could break this down into the individual flavors of Red Bull and Jagermeister, but I would just go like so: Dick’s mouth tasted like alcohol and cigarettes, he tasted dark, he tasted dangerous. 
    They finished kissing 
    That was fast!
    and Roger found the top button of Dick’s jeans.  He pulled them open and Dick’s cock boinged up from within the nest-like folds of stone-washed denim.
    Wow. I…I adore the boinging cock. It’s probably not the most romantic image, but it’s so damn funny. And so flipping true. But…the usage of this particular (brilliant) verb is going to depend on a variety of factors -- like whether you want this scene to be funny or erotic.  Don’t throw an entire thesaurus at your love scenes. And while metaphor is good, use it sparingly. Clean, simple, precise language that captures accurately what everyone is experiencing. So…how about a little detail on what this cock looks like jutting up from the silky dark nest of Dick’s groin?  
    Eminem was playing on the radio as Roger bend (bent) down and started to suck on Dick’s cock, which tasted good, like Dick.  There was some precum dripping out the top of it and that tasted like soap, but the rest of it was good.
    Well…as romance goes… Details, details. I’d start with some idea of what Eminem is singing, and then slowly, step by step, take us through the scene. Roger slides down to his knees on the carpet -- because, unless he’s Gumby, no way did he bend himself like a hairpin to take the fat, full length of Dick’s cock into his mouth -- then a little teasing tongue work around the head or glans of the penis. This is where we hear about that little pearl of precum, and this is where we find out that it tastes salty/sweet/musky/bitter -- whatever you think will tell us the most about Dick.
    Then Roger begins to suck. He sucks…well, and maybe he does. Is he experienced? Has he done this before? Does he like doing this? Is he brilliant at this?  Inquiring minds want to know.
    By the way, I like the touch of Eminem on the radio. This tells us something about Roger -- he listens to the radio, for one thing. If it was his stereo we’d know even more because we’d know he listened to Eminem by choice.

    “Yeah,” Dick growled throatily, “yeah.”
    “No,” Dr. Lanyon growled, “no.”
    Never mind the redundant throaty growl, doesn’t Dick have anything more interesting and meaningful to say to Roger? I mean, if they had been talking all through this scene then maybe a little meaningless porn prose would be fine, but this is supposed to be a love scene. Where’s the love?

    “Keeeerist,” Dick growled. “I knew when I saw you waiting for me tonight…”
    Roger should not talk with his mouth full.
    Roger felt himself getting a chub inside his green basketball shorts.  He wanted Dick to fuck him but how could he tell Dick that?
    I revise my earlier opinion. Roger went to a club in green basketball shorts? He’s very deep in the closet, isn’t he?
    Okay, it seems to me that Roger’s wee soldier should have been standing at attention long before now -- and in romance we do not refer to a “chub” unless it is in dialog or deep in the POV character’s viewpoint. Remember: writing love scenes requires a balance of realism and romance. Too much of either and it gets clumsy and fake.

    Dick seemed to read his mind, because he pulled his cock out of Roger’s mouth
    HUH? NO. WAY.
    and with his thumb wiped away the saliva from Roger’s chin.
    While I appreciate the detail here, ungraceful slurp though it is, no way did Dick pull out before he came. Why would he? This ain’t how it works -- in real life or M/M romance novels. No, we’ve got to follow Dick all the way to orgasm in all its hot and silvery sugar-glazed detail.          
    He dragged Roger up beside him and then yanked down Roger’s shiny basketball shorts before Roger could even protest. Roger blushed because Dick could see his nakedness and that make him shy.

    Yeesh. This doesn’t seem feverish, it seems awkward and rough, and for some reason the shiny basketball shorts are just embarrassing. And again, Agent X is reporting events, not allowing us to live the scene with the characters. It’s hard to fix this without fixing the earlier stuff because if Dick just came, he needs a few seconds to recover (with the reader), and then we have to proceed slowly and painstakingly through the ritual of first time anal sex in a romance novel. Unless the point is to show this encounter as a disaster and Dick as a dick. 
    “Don’t be shy,” Dick rumbled. “Leave it to me.”
   
Hmm. Take a cold shower, Dick, and call me in the morning.  

Comments

"While I appreciate the detail here, ungraceful slurp though it is, no way did Dick pull out before he came."

Unless he hears his mom pull into the driveway. Which could explain a lot... Seriously fine advice Dr. Lanyon. The patient may die, but your fanyons will die laughing. Seriously, is that what a Jaegerbomb is? And how does one learn these things? As Miss Lisabea said this morning, sounds like 'bowl hugging and regret'. I always appreciate the Mentorifficness that is you...

Peopled by way too many pretty hermaphrodites with pretty little names'... Sporffle. Guilty as charged, Dr. Lanyon.
A Jaegerbomb is a shot of Jaegermeister dropped into half a pint glass of Red Bull-- although at all the bars around here it's dropped into half a glass of Rockstar. This vile nasty concoction is guzzled as quickly as possible, due to the repulsive taste.

Note: if the shot glass is small and the mouth guzzling is big, there is some choking hazard. The bartender will inform you.
Back in my day we dropped a shot of Bourbon into a mug of beer. I guess that was a Boilermaker. Choking hazards applied there as well, both going down and... inevitably... coming up. Yeesh. I am so glad I don't do that anymore.

Still good to know, in case I need to torture a character in a particularly vile manner.

"This vile nasty concoction is guzzled as quickly as possible, due to the repulsive taste."

Always nice to see people having a good time.
'Peopled by way too many pretty hermaphrodites with pretty little names'... Sporffle. Guilty as charged, Dr. Lanyon.

Aw, LL, that's only 'cause Jake, Jack, Nick, Tim, and Nate are used so often and by so many. Variety is the spice of life. *g*

OMG, I was teasing *affects Sebastian's accent* da Sea Witch by throwing Jake and Tim in that list (even though they are used frequently in romance) but then a thought niggled at my brain and I ran to a certain someone's website and OMG he uses all of those names and the Jack, Nate, and Nick weren't even for him.

I heart my MOM, I do.

Lately I've been a slave to bizarre genderless names like Kelly and Robin. I did one whole foreign story with a Michel and Rene. What the hell was I thinking? Into the soundproof flogging booth I go.
Oops *glances at the WIP Prequel to hunter's kiss. Someone mighta told me!

*pets Jack* It's okay lovey. You have a fine name.

Well, I meant everyone except your Jack of teh Jack and Casey duo, of course. *g*

*tries not to tell a certain someone to hurry, hurry, hurry on prequelage*
and black fingernails -- oops!

This, by the way, is an homage to Ginn Hale, and not a statement on how much Dick smokes.

(Anonymous)

An Homage!!!!

Hey this is Ginn
And an all I can say is,"Wooohooo, an homage from Josh Lanyon!!!!!!!"
I'm going to be blushing all day!

Now I have to skulk back into my shed.
Oh, I thought the black fingernails could have been because the character was a Goth -- which would have added some interest. Except a Goth would have a prettier name, and wouldn't be caught dead with someone wearing shiny green basketball shorts.
This whole exercise was hilarious, though. "Boinged..."
Oh, fear not, it's not over yet. There's still tomorrow.
though. "Boinged..."

That boing was sheer Masterpiece Theatre.
A Jaegerbomb is a shot of Jaegermeister dropped into half a pint glass of Red Bull-- although at all the bars around here it's dropped into half a glass of Rockstar.

Rockstar? Huh. What won't these kids think of next?

I've had car bombs which are a shotglass of whisky dropped into a pint of Guinness. Or is a shotglass of Bailey's? Maybe it's Bailey's. Anyway...a shotglass of anything dropped into a pint of something else is almost always bad news. It must have something to do with the glass. Yeah. It's the glass for sure.
I think it's Bailey's cause that's what makes it fizz up so that you have to slurp it down real fast.

And I would suggest that shots don't need to be dropped in anything to be bad. I was at a going away party with the kitchen boys recently and one of them bought me a Peruvian Goat Fucker, the contents of which I cannot relate, but it wasn't all that tasty.
but it wasn't all that tasty.

You're kidding. With a name like Peruvian Goat Fucker? I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
You cannot bring a Peruvian Goat Fucker into the room without telling us what the hell it is. (grin) The Internets seemed to have failed me in my research. (double-grin)

You can e-mail me if you don't want to sully your LJ blog.

Dr. Phil
I honestly have no idea what's in it. Next time I'm at that bar, I'll ask.

(Anonymous)

As stated previously: bowl hugging and regret. Or, my 20's.
As stated previously: bowl hugging and regret. Or, my 20's.

Pretty much everyone's twenties. On the bright side, at twenty your body can handle what would probably kill yet at thirty.
Pretty much everyone's twenties.

Hmmm. I only have 7 1/2 years left. Guess I better get on that then.
Don't worry. There's a lot that can happen in 7 1/2 years. :)
OMG, I am laughing so hard I can barely type. You saved it, us, and poor Roger and Dick so brilliantly. “Yeah,” Dick growled throatily, “yeah.”
“No,” Dr. Lanyon growled, “no.”
You tell 'em, Doc!
Dr. Lanyon, after reading your commentary where you totally 'destroyed' Kimnik's attempt to write a love story between two guys, I have now given up my dream of writing the next great novel from the Great White North - I had wonderful visions of sitting in front of my computer pounding out my bestseller cocktail in hand, now I'm weeping in my Jaegerbomb. Without a doubt you know your stuff and I'm really, really sorry :) that I made fun of you from time to time on your LJ. I promise to do better in the future LOL
Funny, funny, funny. As entertaining as it is informative (just like "Man oh Man)! Although I hope my originals aren't as obvious as this one was intended to be I hate to admit how much I need to see these things pointed out - particularly about the reporting vs. storytelling. I am way too left brained :)
Dick sure works out, Roger thought.
Roger really is gay.


heh.

You know, there's a little part of me that actually wants to read a sex scene between green basketball-shorts-wearing-jagerbomb-guzzling-old-spice-donning-sexually-fumbling dudes. It's sort of refreshing after all the angelic, extremely-coiffed smooth heroes that are out there.
Oh crap. Did I just describe my boyfriend?
Um, I think you very well may have described your actual boyfriend. CUTE!!!
Oops *glances at the WIP Prequel to hunter's kiss. Someone mighta told me!

Sometimes you want to make a point with a name, of course. Like..."Adrien English" does not exactly send the Man Vibes rippling through the universe.
J--"Adrien English" does not exactly send the Man Vibes rippling through the universe.

N-- I wasn't going to mention it.
sorry that I made fun of you from time to time on your LJ. I promise to do better in the future LOL

Uh huh. Yeee-ah.

I hate to admit how much I need to see these things pointed out - particularly about the reporting vs. storytelling. I am way too left brained :)

It's pretty much one of the most common flaws in writing. Not that there aren't times when telling is more effective for covering ground than showing, but a scene of lovemaking would not be one of those times.
Dr. Lanyon had me at Maybe cat pee would be even funnier. Now there's a sex scene...

Dr. Phil
ewwwwwww
name

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