The Book That Made Me: Embrace Using Sex in My Writing
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
As you can tell by how ragged the cover is, I have had Dark Lover by J.R. Ward for many years. I have read this book over and over again. I know the main characters, the secondary characters, and the tertiary characters. I know every sex scene and I believe I know the purpose behind each sex scene. This book is a pillar in my reading comprehension history and I will forever be grateful for that.
Dark Lover was released in 2005. It is the first in a sprawling, sexy, and captivating paranormal romance series. There are many creatures in these books, namely vampires, but the most interesting part to me was the sex. It wasn't because they were hot (which they were!), but it was because Ward uses sex as a means for character development.
Two characters would have sex and by the end I felt like I knew them better. If they were grumpy pre-sex, seeing them be vulnerable and sensual during sex added a layer into who they were. If they were demure pre-sex, seeing them be bold during sex explained to me that there were parts of themselves that they (deliberately or not) kept from others.
For me, I primarily write fantasy, not paranormal romance. I had been worried that the amount of sex in my writing was too much, or that people wouldn't understand why sex is an amazing tool to move the plot along. Books like Dark Lover showed me that while sex can be fun for the characters, it can also be helpful for the writer.