Writer’s Desk: Writing a (Sex) Scene

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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.

Reader’s Corner: 100 Most Requested Out-of-Print Books

Every year, BookFinder.com compiles a list of the 100 most sought-after out-of-print books. Their 11th annual list was just released and it’s quite the read.

For our sins, the #1 title is Madonna’s oh-so-scandalous “book” Sex. Stephen King makes a few high-up appearances, most surprisingly for the little-known My Little Pony, which was released as a limited edition in 1989 with illustrations by Barbara Kruger. Some other highlights:

  • Nora Roberts (?!) – Promise Me Tomorrow
  • Cameron Crowe – Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  • Salvador Dali, J.R.R. Tolkien, others – The Jerusalem Bible
  • Ricky Jay – Cards as Weapons

 

 

 

New in Theaters: ‘The Look of Love’

Steve Coogan displays 'The Look of Love.'
Steve Coogan displays ‘The Look of Love.’

lookoflove-posterThe collaborations between director Michael Winterbottom and comic Steve Coogan have created some of the greatest film comedies of the past couple decades, from The Trip‘s deadpan sniping to 24 Hour Party People‘s recreation of the Manchester music scene. For their fourth film, Winterbottom and Coogan focus on Paul Raymond, an infamous and glamorous figure in England who is essentially unknown across the pond.

The Look of Love opened this week in limited release. My full review is at Film Racket; here’s part of it:

It would be too much to call Paul Raymond the Hugh Hefner of England; if only because Hef never owned that much real estate. But in many other ways, Raymond’s life story, as shown in Michael Winterbottom’s flashbulb-riddled biopic, shows a definite kinship with Hef’s. They were both kids from straight-laced backgrounds who became erotic publishing and nightlife impresarios, as well as standard-bearers in the fight for (profitable, highly profitable) sexual liberation in the 1960s and ‘70s. Just like Hef, Raymond claimed that he didn’t publish pornography; what he was selling was a lifestyle. Unfortunately, lifestyle is just about all that The Look of Love has going for it…

The trailer is here:

DVD Tuesday: ‘Where Do We Go Now?’

 

Filmmakers run all kinds of risks when they try to update the classics; for all the universality of some of the great dramas, they can fail miserably when downloaded into new and sometimes incompatible formats (witness what happens when studios try to dress up Austen and Shakespeare as candy-colored high school comedies). Nadine Labaki’s zesty Where Do We Go Now? has to navigate two minefields: updating Aristophanes’s Lysistrata and setting this comedy amidst modern Lebanon’s murderous religious strife. The result isn’t a new classic, but stands nevertheless as a potent and lively satire about how the violence of men tears societies down and the lengths to which women go to staunch the bleeding…

The Oscar-nominated Where Do We Go Now? comes out today on DVD. My full review is at AMC Movie Database.