Anyone who’s ever attempted to write fiction — novel length or otherwise — will have probably at some point had to face the excruciatingly difficult job of writing a sex scene. The balance is always difficult to achieve. Do I describe it in detail or do I just leave them to it? Should she have her legs in the air like that, or would it be better if she was on all fours? Is “squeaking” better than “screaming” — or would a good old-fashioned “grunt” be more evocative? These questions, especially when coupled with that old favourite “is my mother going to read this?”, are a major concern and, ultimately, make for some unintentionally hilarious passages.
One such passage has just won this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Rachel Johnson’s Shire Hell is the 15th recipient of the prize — awarded by Literary Review Magazine:
“I find myself gripping his ears and tugging at the locks curling over them, beside myself, and a strange animal noise escapes from me as the mounting, Wagnerian crescendo overtakes me.”
Curling locks and Wagnerian crescendos in the same sentence! It makes me want to find some of my efforts from years ago. I like to think I may have written worse, but I somehow doubt it!
For more of the longlisted passages (‘”Oh, Lord,” he cried out. “I’m a-comin’!”‘), click here. Be warned, however. Some of it is not very pretty!