I’ve been having a fun writing the novella about Malcolm/Charles and Mélanie/Suzanne’s wedding. I’ve thought about these events a lot and I know the characters well. It’s interesting–and at times surprising–going back in time and getting to know who Malcolm and Suzanne were before either had influenced the other. And the last couple of days I faced a unique challenge in telling the story of these characters I know so well–writing their wedding night.
As I’ve discussed before, with these books I instinctively faded to black the first time I got to a love scene. But this scene is different. The details matter in showing what the scene means to both Malcolm and Suzanne. It’s a challenge to work out what they’re both thinking and feeling and to decide how much emotional and physical detail to include.
There’s also the question of how much to “romanticize.” There’s a certain amount of awkwardness for both Suzanne and Malcolm which seems very real. But I found myself worrying it made them look too foolish. Then a bit later I worried I was getting too flowery. It’s a tricky balance. Just as Mel/Suzette tries to find the core of who she is throughout the series, I have to try to find the core of who these characters are in this scene and what’s true to them.
I think Dorothy Sayers gets the balance of reality and poetry perfectly in Peter and Harriet’s wedding night scene in Busman’s Honeymoon. What are your favorite love scenes? How detailed are they? What makes them work?
This week’s Fraser Correspondence addition is a letter from Mel/Suzanne to Lady Frances.