Sex scenes: leave out the parts I’ll skip

Having finished Watchmen yesterday, I turned to a book without pictures: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard, a novel set in 1920’s Oklahoma during the oil boom era, prohibition, and in a time when people robbed banks and U.S. Marshals hunted them down and killed them. I like crime fiction, the more hard boiled the better. Leonard eludes the hard boiled label, he’s always a little too whimsical, but whimsical works too.

When I finish a Leonard novel, I always wish I had written it. One of my favorite quotations about writing came from Elmore Leonard. When asked about his style he said, “I try to leave out the things people skip.”

A good example of this is his sex scenes. He does not waste a lot of time telling the details. That’s good because reading about someone else’s sex in a fast paced novel is about as interesting as reading about them chewing food. It slows the narrative to a crawl. Leonard lets you know what happened shortly before people got in bed and what happened after they got out. Occasionally, you will get a short paragraph from the female character’s perspective that adds to the character development of both partners and moves the story along.

I am enjoying The Hot Kid. Leonard did not put in anything I want to skip.

Published in: on September 29, 2007 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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