Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Delayed gratification...

This week, in honor of Nanowrimo, I have been doing posts that have to do with writing. Yesterday, we had writing sex scenes.

Today is somewhat related but not exactly...

Sexual tension.

The words, when said slow enough, almost suggest what it is.

In a society that is riddled with instant gratification (Netflix was not around when I was a kid. Nor was Starbucks. It was a harsher time, altogether.) the stories that seem to really capture the largest portion of the public are full of unfulfilled sexual tension. Scully and Mulder had it. Bones has it. Twilight had it... sort of. Castle may have perfected it and don't get me started on Haven...

Why are people so interested in watching/reading about/seeing people NOT do it?

The Hunt
Did you know that there are people literally addicted to the hunt? Once in a successful relationship, they will break up just to find someone ELSE to hunt? The body has a chemical reaction that is unique to falling in love. You can find an interesting article on the pheromone and endorphin release and such here.

The Chase
And once we have realized that we are attracted to this person, the chase ensues. Some chases are pretty short.

Him- Hey, how you doing?
Her- Let's discuss that while we are trying to get my bra back off the ceiling fan, shall we?

Some are longer... Some never end. The people around these real-life, long-term chases tend to get annoyed with the parties involved.

But in a book or movie, we are fascinated. Is this going to be the moment? Are they gonna kiss? Did she even hear what he said? *grabbing tissues*

So including this kind of drawn out relationship... that one where the reader never quite knows when they are going to finally see what they feel, really draws a reader in, letting them become a part of the action.

Jane Austen understood the power of tension. Regency era novels do tend to lend themselves nicely to tension but Austen may have written from experience. She loved once... and they never actually 'got together.' So she, possibly the mother of romance writing, lived her whole life single. Some say it is because of the one love she had was so great that she wasn't willing to settle for less...

Persuasion, her last completed book, was all about this... A couple, torn apart by society but drawn back together years later... Was she possibly thinking of the 'what could have been's of her own relationship?

The girl knew, regardless of if she was writing from her own experience or not, that people loved to read about the unfulfilled passions...

In my Odd Stuff Series, Janie wants what she thinks she should want- Vance. He is rockstar hot, with vampiric reflexes and hair like a sheet of liquid night.

But what she needs is Chance. Chance doesn't put her on a pedestal. He sees her for what she is, good and bad, not what she wishes she was. They spend two books bouncing off each other, scenes riddled with tension, as they figure out how to deal with one another.

And readers loved it.

What movies/tv/books have you seen with tension and do you write it into your own work?

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