The Thrill of the Chase

One of the things that readers prize so much is the anticipation, the sexual tension between characters even before mouth touches mouth.

If an author throws her characters into bed without teasing out the tension, it’s almost like she was too easy. But writing that tension is hard (for me, at least), since I also want to make my characters happy. But the whole point of writing a book is to make them suffer.

Because if characters are too happy, they’re boring. Just remember the opening lines of Anna Karenina:

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

And, to prove the point, last night’s series return of the Vampire Diaries featured a kiss that has been anticipated since the Salvatore Brothers first arrived in Mystic Falls (Amanda will back me up, I know!). If you don’t watch the show, just scoot halfway through the clip to see the relevant parts.

Sexual tension. Who does it best?


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Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

LOL! That was definitely a great example of building sexual tension. 🙂

I totally sympathize with you–I HATE making my poor characters suffer, but without that there is no story. Yet they start to feel so real to me I almost feel like I should apologize to them sometimes…

Jane George
10 years ago

I thought Amy Sherman Palladino pulled of the URST (un-resolved sexual tension) really well in the first four seasons of Gilmore Girls. Poor Luke Danes.

10 years ago

I have not watched the show, so don’t know the situation or relationship set-up for the scene. That being said, they did a good job of developing the tension and resolving it.

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

My friend Melissa James does wonderful sexual tension.

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