I'm thinking more about the fact that writing about sex and writing about lesbian lifestyles do not have to be the same.
Maybe it's just an excuse, so I can tell myself I don't have to write bedroom scenes. Not that lesbian love scenes are any harder (or easier) to write than heterosexual love scenes. I don't write those well, either. The problem I run into is getting so caught up in the physical I forget to include what's really important: the spiritual binding which comes between real lovers, as opposed to sexual partners. I suppose even in mere sexual gratification there is some sort of spiritual binding taking place, but it would be minimal.
The more I write about it the more I find myself wondering if sex isn't merely a red herring. Perhaps what I am really struggling with is writing believable love. For that is what I really want to write. Sex is simply one of many possible manifestations of that love. It's such a controversial topic that it easily can assume center stage. But the real issue is the love which motivates the sex. Without the love there is no story worth reading. With the love it is the anticipation that these two people really belong with each other. Olympia and Aileen (opened my baby name book to two random pages and took the first names I liked) are two women - or I suppose they could be too young to be called women - who meet casually. They are not looking to fall in love. They are not looking for a sexual partner. They just meet and 'click' together, so they continue to meet when they can. They become friends. The friendship blossoms. At some point in time romance enters the relationship.
The truth is, that is pretty boring stuff all by itself. In a story, there has to be more going on. Something, or someone, has to be under challenge, and at least one of the main characters has to be directly involved in resolving the crisis. It is, in fact, this crisis which allows the relationship to build quickly and quietly without being addressed by the women. They are so focused on resolving it that they don't take the time to address their relationship properly. This will ultimately put their relationship at risk, for ignored relationships can fall apart just as quickly as they formed in the first place. The story's climax (I'm sorry, I couldn't think of a better word) is when both crises reach their moment of decision. The external crisis must be solved for good or ill, and the internal, love, crisis, must also be decided.
That, of course, is only one way of doing it. Another would be for Olympia and Aileen to meet and almost immediately begin a physical relationship. In this kind of story the question isn't about sexuality, coming out, or anything like that. The internal crisis is whether or not the relationship is truly a life long relationship, or one which should be broken, and the women go their separate ways.
There are a variety of ways to write the story. The key is very much like other things I've posted about. To write a story there are things a writer must know in her head:
- Who is the target audience (women, men, young girls, questioning, timid)
- What is the underlying question (sexuality-discovery/coming out, relationship-marriage/just lovers)
- What is the focus (love, sex)
If our goal is to produce erotica then we certainly should not be writing for young girls, and our focus is clearly going to be more on the sex than the love. And the underlying question is probably less about discovery of oneself than it is about what kind of relationship is going to be established.
If our goal is to explore sexuality then our target audience could be any of the choices, but probably less likely to be men. (That's a prejudice of mine.) The relationship is more in the background and self-discovery and acceptance becomes the focal point. I also believe a story like this is ultimately less about sex and more about love.
There are valid reasons for writing any kind of story for any group of people. But we need to know what it is we're trying to do when we go into a story. Why is this story important to us, as writers? That's probably the biggest question of all.