Tension of various sorts

This is my second attempt to post something this week. I had a really great post all typed in and everything on Tuesday, and then it vanished somewhere in the internet/computorial ether. And it made me so mad, I didn’t even want to bother to try to recreate it. So I didn’t. And by today (Friday) I don’t remember a thing I wrote. Probably about my busy week last week. (The one before the one that’s ending now, in which I sat in a hospital waiting room while the M-I-L got her knees replaced, then rushed down to get the last-son-at-home registered and indoctrinated for college, then rushed back to check on the M-I-L (and babysit the grandboys) before rushing home again…)

So. Now I need to come up with a new blog post. Preferably not having to do with the Fourth of July doings here in town this weekend, though I’m sure you’ll find them eminently fascinating–turtle race, stick-horse rodeo, Depression dinner and all.

Read a thing this afternoon (or maybe it was still morning) claiming that much of what prevents a romance from being a compelling read is a lack of sexual tension, and I’m still trying to decide whether I agree with that. Sexual tension is important, I agree, but I think there are things that are more important.

Before I go farther, let’s define sexual tension–it’s “wanting to have sex, while not actually getting to have it.”

That done, I have to say that I have read a number of very successful romances without any sexual tension at all, because they are having sex all over everywhere, like little bunnies. (Well, maybe not everywhere, but you get the idea.) I have written some books that I thought were rather successful, without any sexual tension. I’m sort of in the middle of one right now. (I say sort of, because it has gone on hiatus for the next little while.)

For instance, in Linda Howard’s To Die For, the heroine is completely incapable of resisting the hero. She melts every time he nibbles on her neck (or something like that) and falls into bed with him. (Or onto the floor, or the sofa, or…wherever.) And yet, the book is successful. (I know some people don’t like the heroine–maybe this is why–or the tone of the book, but you have to admit the book has sold well.)

I think the reason is Emotional Tension. If you don’t have sexual tenstion of the “want to but can’t” variety, you have to have something else. It’s part of the conflict, yes, but much of the time, if there is no sexual tension, you’ll find a lot of emotional tension. As in “I want to love him/her, but I can’t.”

Much of the time, when the characters fall into sex with each other early on, you wind up with a lot of conflict/tension of the “I didn’t mean to, and I shouldn’t have, but I did” variety. Because, after all, these are novels and we have to have conflict.

Anyway, I guess my point is that you don’t always have to have sexual tension. But you DO have to have Some Kind of tension of some sort.

Okay, dh is home, and promised to take me to some movie or other tonight. Now we just have to negotiate for which one…

Hopefully, the next time I try to blog, it won’t lose my post.

Don’t forget my contest. Lots of prizes to win!

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