Writer’s Desk: Writing a (Sex) Scene

36-line_Bible

Every now and then when you’re writing fiction it’s time to figure out the scene(s) where a couple of your characters well, you know, ahem…

With some handy advice for how to handle such delicate moments, here’s Marc Almond, who after a dozen steps for things to keep in mind, comes up with this bit of inspiration:

Bonus Step! Step 13: Read the Song of Songs.
The Song of Songs, for those of you who haven’t read the Bible in a while, is a long erotic poem that somehow got smuggled into the Old Testament. It is the single most instructive document you can read if you want to learn how to write effectively about the nature of physical love.

By the way, if you’re following that bit, make sure to go with the King James translation. The language is just that much richer.

Readers’ Corner: America’s Top Ten Books

"Reading the Bible," Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)
“Reading the Bible,” Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)

The Bible is still the number one book in Americans’ hearts. At least, that’s according to a new poll by Harris Interactive that surveyed American adults to find out what their favorite book was. The rest of the top ten books are all fiction (insert atheist gag here), starting with the somewhat curious inclusion of Gone with the Wind at number two. Here’s the list:

  1. The Bible
  2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  3. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  4. The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The poll further breaks down the list by ethnicity, politics, age, geography, and gender. Conservatives and moderates preferring Gone with the Wind while liberals’ fave was the Harry Potter series; either way, everybody likes fantasy.

The last time Harris conducted the same poll was in 2008. Interesting, among the books that dropped off in the intervening six years were Atlas Shrugged, The Stand, and two Dan Brown novels. New on the list since then were a couple classics deserving of the name (The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath), possibly showing that Americans’ tastes are improving. That, or people who really like Ayn Rand and Dan Brown either just aren’t reading anymore, have started to die off, or are sticking with pretending to have read the Bible.

(h/t: New Republic)

New in Theaters: ‘Noah’

Every so often it seems that Hollywood gives the Bible epic another go. But there’s something about the genre that could well be so mired in the past that it refuses to be updated; Gibson and Scorsese couldn’t help but fundamentally remake it. Now comes Darren Aronofsky, last seen giving ballerinas nightmares in Black Swan, with his own unique take on the Bible story.

Noah is playing now everywhere. My review is at PopMatters:

In order to tell the story of Noah and the flood for over two hours, the movie erects considerable dramatic and political scaffolding, and in so doing, becomes a Biblical epic truly like no other. With its visionary asides and warnings of environmental apocalypse, it’s too idiosyncratic to make sense as mainstream seat-filler. But Noah is also a tamed thing, curiously lacking in daring for a director usually so eager to pluck an audience’s nerves like a violinist…

You can see the trailer here: