Okay, I’m nestled comfortably on the sofa, my nose buried in between the pages of my current gay romance novel. The story is moving along and I’m thoroughly engrossed in the plot when suddenly, the author tosses the characters into a steamy sex scene. Oooh, now it’s getting juicy… until one man throws his arms around the neck of the other, while he’s kneeling on the floor, in front of his standing partner. Either the standing partner is a very short person or the one on the floor has exceedingly long octupus like arms. Hold everything! Putting the book down, I mentally picture this scene in my mind, it’s humanly impossible! Continuing to read, I still have this nagging question in the back of my head. WTF was the author thinking when he/she wrote the scene in question?
Thankfully, I haven’t encountered too many of these contortionist scenes, but when they do happen, the flow of the story hits a definite road block. Put out the barracads and flashing yellow lights, traffic is slowed down to a crawl, bumper to bumper, edging my way back onto the road and back into the story. These small oversights can make a good read into a mediocre read. Had the author taken the time to evalute the characters limbs and/or positions when writing the scene, he/she may have eliminated the choppy waves and the reader would have experienced smooth sailing through the completion of the novel.
So, authors, if we can’t physically get into the positions that we describe in our writing, don’t write it. Yes, we are writing fiction, but unless the characters are contortionists or have octopus arms, let’s keep it a bit more real, our readers (and our stories) will benefit from the realism.