Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sex and Chocolate

Food and sex are often paired together.  Not surprisingly, since they both fulfill a primal urge.  But in romance novels, we don't often read about what the heroine is eating for breakfast or whether the hero is trying to start eating more healthily.

I've often heard some good advice about writing, which is that every major scene should satisfy every sense.  Touch, smell, sight, sound and taste.  Yet we so seldom get around to taste.  The salty tang of sweaty flesh.  Dark rich chocolate dribbled over...  No, sorry, I meant food.

In my own romance manuscripts, dramatic moments can take place in restaurants or parties where I try to describe a dish to demonstrate both the atmosphere of the restaurant -- seared ahi tuna conjures up linen napkins versus barbecue chicken wings, which screams brightly coloured paper ones -- and sets the tone for the characters.  A meat-and-potatoes man may be a wholesome cowboy while a rare steak and asparagus with hollandaise sauce gentleman might be a top notch businessman.

For my heroines, the decisions are a little trickier.  No heroine wants to diet on the page, so that means no salads as main courses or skipping out on dessert.  Mmm...dessert.

Nothing can ratchet up the tension growing between the main characters more than a sinfully decadent final course.  Chocolate.  Cherries.  Whipped cream.  They all evoke sensuality.  And they're all precursors for a night of passionate lovemaking.

So try bringing that fifth sense into your writing.  Salty, sweet, bitter or sour, our sense of taste should also be exercised while we read a toothsome romance novel, even if it's only to make us drool.  And beware the hero or heroine who declines dessert.  We won't be having them over for dinner again.

Photo courtesy of savit keawtavee at freedigitalphotos.net

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