Let’s Talk About…. er… Intimate Relations

Hello Lovelies,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of the places in the world that I would like to see, that list included the Scottish Highlands (if you missed that post you can read it here). One of the reasons that the Scottish Highlands was included in my list is because one of my good friends introduced me to the TV series Outlander, knowing that the books that inspired the series have been on my to-be-read list for quite some time.

Over the last few days, I found myself with a little bit of time and decided to actually start reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the first book of the Outlander series and it is everything I had hoped it would be! Diana Gabaldon is an absolutely amazing writer and I can’t wait to work my way through the series, which has eight books so far with a ninth book being written right now, not to mention Diana’s other works which build on the stories of some of the secondary characters in the Outlander series.

As I make my way through the first book in the series, not only have I noticed and admired the quality of Diana’s writing, but also the way in which she describes the more… intimate scenes in the book. It’s no secret that the Outlander series (both the book series and the TV series) contains… well… sex, but there’s something I noticed about the way in which Diana describes these more intimate scenes which I’ll discuss in a moment.

Image courtesy of Flickr CC George Duncan
Image courtesy of Flickr CC George Duncan

Unless you have been living under a rock, most of you will be familiar (or at least heard of) E.L James’ Fifty Shades series and the subsequent hype and apparent disappointment of the film. Whilst I think that E.L James’ writing style leaves a lot to be desired, the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey showed some small amount of promise. However, the relationship of the two main characters was built around their sex lives and the rest of the story built upon that. This is similar to many other contemporary romance novels, such as those by Sylvia Day, Meredith Wild and J. Kenner (although these writers are in a totally different class compared to E.L James). In these contemporary romances, the relationship between the characters revolves around their sex lives and the emotions that develop. Every element of “intimacy” is described in every sordid detail from the beginning to the “happy ending” and whilst sometimes that may be a good thing, other times it’s not really what the story needs in order to develop. I mean, that’s all well and good for the genre that these books are in and the stories the writers wish to tell, but it’s not right for every romance story and it’s especially not right for Thomas and Rose’s story.

You see, I’ve been battling with the idea of including some of the more intimate details of Thomas and Rose’s relationship as it develops not only throughout Lonely Hearts, but also throughout the rest of the series. I feel that by acknowledging these aspects, the readers will understand the develop of their relationship and it also adds another level of emotion for the characters. I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst it is essential to acknowledge the degree intimacy that develops between Rose and Thomas, as it shows the develop of their relationship, it is not something that needs to be described in explicit detail.

***Possible spoiler alert*****

This is similar to my experience so far of Jamie and Claire’s relationship in Outlander, even though their relationship takes a natural development leading to… intimate relations, it is not the defining aspect of their relationship. The particular scenes I’m referring to are (so far) dealt with quite tastefully without the need to describe every sordid and explicit detail. The scenes are there, there’s no mistaking that Jamie and Claire are intimate, but some of the finer details of the particular encounters are tastefully left out. I know I am only part-way through the first book and this may very well change and I’m fine with that, however it has given me something to consider in my own writing – that it is possible to write about intimate encounters between characters without it defining the characters’ relationship or the book itself. I don’t want Thomas and Rose’s story to be one of those books that people flick through to simply read the “naughty bits”. It happened with Fifty Shades and I’m sure Google would be able to find similar lists for other books as well, but this is not the type of story that is Thomas and Rose’s. Sure there might be romance, maybe even love, but it is not what their story is truly about. With the help of Jozsef, Rose gets through each day but she feels the darkness of her past constantly at her heels trying to pull her down, she sees things that others don’t, including the shadows surrounding Thomas. Thomas has his own darkness and in some ways it feels similar to Rose’s but also very different.

So, as I head off to add some more questions in my notebook about Thomas and Rose’s story, it seems that it is possible to write about “intimate relations” without it defining your characters or story.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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If Things Were Different

Hello Lovelies,

This week I’ve been thinking about the dynamics in Thomas and Rose’s relationship. The circumstances that brought them together and those that threaten to tear them about. If things were different, perhaps they would never have met. If the Wall St Crash never happened in 1929, if the recession now known as The Great Depression never happened, even if they never lost their parents at a young age or if they had never experienced darkness in their lives then perhaps I would be telling a very different story.

I’ve written before about choices that we make and how these choices change the direction our lives are taking, whether we realise it at the time or not. Yet what about those things in our lives that we cannot change, circumstances beyond our control? How do these things impact and change our lives? That is exactly what I am thinking about in relation to Thomas and Rose’s relationship; the kinds of things that have happened in their lives that has made them who they are, things that are beyond their control.

With Rose and Thomas, everything that has happened int heir lives and in the wider world has paved the way for them to meet. Rose can’t deny that she has feelings for Thomas, but thinks it better for both of them if she doesn’t act on those feelings. Thomas on the other hand, doesn’t always do what seems to be best for him and he is determined to be with Rose, with no one getting in his way, not even Rose herself.

So, what things in your own life, that have been beyond your control, have changed your path?

Enjoy,

KK

Susannah Place Museum. Image Retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons User Caz and Craig Makepeace
Susannah Place Museum. Image Retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons User Caz and Craig Makepeace

““Édesem, it looks like you have yourself a handsome young admirer.” József says with a smile as he leaves his office and comes back into the front of the shop. Even though I am quite sure he is right, I know that nothing serious could ever come of it. What would people say, a wealthy businessman with a poor tailor’s daughter? As if that wouldn’t be enough to gossip about, what if someone uncovered my secrets, my darkness? I don’t think I could stand the thought of my innermost secrets being splashed over the pages of some newspaper. “Rosie, don’t do this to yourself, don’t overthink things. You are a beautiful young lady and Mr Heath obviously has excellent taste, just see where things go without looking so closely.” József interrupts me from my thoughts and always knows when I am overthinking. Even though I would like to believe him, I know that nothing can really between Thomas and me.

“What would you like for lunch?” I say to József, hoping to distract him and at first it seems to be working.

“Some sandwiches will be fine Rosie and I know that you’re trying cause a distraction.” I knew he would be onto me, but I wave my hand dismissing his comment as if I have no idea what he is talking about and head outside and into our house which is directly next door to the shop.

*******

As I busy myself by making some sandwiches for lunch, I begin wonder where Thomas will take me for dinner. It would probably be somewhere posh, so I really need to see if we have any material suitable for an evening dress. It’ll be a push for time, but I’m sure I could make something suitable in time. He’s awfully forward, just look at how he behaved earlier, perhaps he will kiss me, do I want him to? I think I do.

Flickr Creative Commons Copyright de sata1
Flickr Creative Commons Copyright de sata1

Am I seriously considering this? Although on the other-hand, I can’t just turn down an invitation from a man like Mr Heath. That would be rude and also could cause friction in József and Thomas’ business relationship.

Just one meal, just to be polite and I will thank him for a lovely evening and we will both go on with our lives –separately. But what if he wants to see me again? What if he wants more? Could I give him more? Should I?
What am I thinking? Why am I even considering this? Thomas and I are from two different worlds, it would be best for both of us to go our separate ways. One evening, which will be lovely, I’m sure – perfect even, but it cannot go further than that. I cannot help but feel as though I am throwing something of immense value away and as I catch my reflection in the window, I see my mother’s face looking back at me and as she does in those moments when I need her help or advice she spoke to me, “Rosie, some things are just meant to be.” What does she mean? That Thomas and I are meant to be or are we are meant to go our separate ways?”

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.