He gripped her firm-fleshed thighs in his strong hands as he plunged into her again
and again, her mewls of ecstasy fueling his rapacious lust, his well-muscled back
arching like a bow as his steel-hard cock ravaged her hot, sweet pussy.
“Harder! Harder!” she begged. “Do it! Do it! Fuck me!”
“Oh, YEAH . . . “
He pounded into her like a jackhammer. Her nails raked his broad back. Her
big breasts heaved wildly with each panting breath as —
— as she wailed with pleasure. Her orgasm shook her whole hot glorious
body, her slippery cunt squeezing him until he —
EDITOR: Are you two deaf? I said, stop already.
HEROINE: [breathless] What?
HEROINE: Is there a problem?
EDITOR: You might say that. Who the hell are you people?
HEROINE: Well, I’m . . . [sitting up]
I’m . . . [pulling on robe] You know.
EDITOR: No, I don’t. You just jump into bed on page one and start — for lack
of a better term — doing it. I mean . . . That’s it? That’s all she
HERO: Was there supposed to be more?
EDITOR: Are you sure you’re in the right department? I edit romance.
HEROINE: Yeah. That’s where we were told to go.
EDITOR: I think there’s been some kind of mistake.
HEROINE: Weren’t we doing it right?
HERO: I know I was.
HEROINE: Hey, you “jackhammer” me one more time, asshole, and you’ll be —
EDITOR: Actually, you weren’t.
HEROINE: Weren’t what?
EDITOR: Weren’t doing it right.
HERO: Excuse me? [swaggering] Care to try me on for yourself before
you pass judgement?
EDITOR: Technically, that could be difficult.
HERO: Oh. Right.
EDITOR: Sorry to break it to you, but if you want to be a romance novel, you’re
going to have to start all over from scratch.
HERO: Speaking of scratching . . . [glares at
HEROINE] My back is killing me where you —
HEROINE: I was expressing uncontrollable passion.
EDITOR: Actually, I think you were expressing mundane lust.
HEROINE: Come again?
HERO: [cracks up]
HEROINE: [flustered] I mean, say what?
EDITOR: All this tedious jackhammering and fucking and hot pussy and steel-hard cock and so on . . . It’s pornography, not romance. Wrong
department. Wrong publishing house, in fact.
HEROINE: So you’re saying we have a problem.
EDITOR: You’re quick.
HERO: [scared] Please don’t send us back to the slush pile. I haven’t
worked in months!
HEROINE: Yeah, we want to make this work. Honest, we do.
HERO: Can’t you give us some pointers? I can do it standing on my head. I’ll do
it with two chicks at once. I could do it with a French accent, how would that be?
HEROINE: Maybe I should wear some pink chiffon?
HERO: I look great in leather chaps. Or a police uniform. I can do historical
dress, but no codpiece — that’s out.
HEROINE: And my hair — do you think I should go blonder?
HERO: We could get some mood music in here.
EDITOR: You’re missing the point. [sighs] Look, tell me a little about
HERO: Well, we got into this bed and —
EDITOR: All right, let’s try an easy one: What are your names?
[HERO and HEROINE look blankly at each other]
EDITOR: I suppose it would be too much to ask if you have friends,
professions, families, homes, problems, conflicts, secrets, ambitions, fears — you know,
HERO: Well . . . I can go for three hours without stopping.
EDITOR: Good. Should a world crisis arise wherein such a skill is needed to
save humanity, we’ll know who to call. Until then, is there anything about you that
would make you a loving husband and a good father? What are your best and worst
qualities? Will you protect, honor, cherish, and be faithful to the woman you love? Can
you make me fall in love with you just as passionately as she needs to fall in
love with you?
HERO: Um . . .
EDITOR: [to HEROINE] And how about you? Are you someone I can
identify with, no matter how different the particulars of our lives? Will I respect the
way you face adversity? Do you have a sense of humor? Can you make me care
desperately about your life and the outcome of your story?
HEROINE: Um . . .
EDITOR: In other words, are you each someone whose quest for the ideal
lifelong mate will keep me interested for the next four hundred pages?
HERO: Hold on, no one told me I had to be an ideal lifelong mate for her!
EDITOR: Someone should have. Romance novels are about two people falling
in love and making a lifelong commitment to each other.
HEROINE: But I thought he was just supposed to be a good lay!
EDITOR: Uh, and wouldn’t you include being “a good lay” among the qualities
you want in the man you’ll spend the rest of your life with?
HEROINE: Sure, but I don’t have to spend the rest of my life with him just
because he’s a good —
EDITOR: If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life together, then you
can’t be a romance novel.
HERO: Are you sure about this?
EDITOR: Sorry, those are the rules. Anyhow, my point is, great sex is part of a
great relationship. If you want to be published here, this needs to be about
developing a great relationship, not just wearing leather and doing it for hours.
HERO: But we were having great sex —
HEROINE: It was okay.
HERO: Yeah, you were only pretending when you came all over the
HEROINE: Hey, I was just going as fast as I could, since you were
obviously not going to take your time and —
EDITOR: Okay, being a really generous editor, I’ll step in and say we’re on the
right track here.
HERO: Excuse me?
EDITOR: Well, good romance couples talk. Not precisely the way you two were
just talking, but compelling fictional lovers work out their mutual problems together.
Including sexual problems. Just a hint, though — they often try to be, oh, a little
sensitive to each other’s feelings when they work things out. Especially when
they talk about sex.
EDITOR: Sure. Because they care about each other. So when you’re not entirely
happy with the way he’s making love to you —
HERO: I gotta make love to her now?
EDITOR: — you’d try to make your point without hurting his feelings.
HEROINE: [clears throat] Could you, uh, maybe go a little slower next
HERO: I thought you liked it fast.
HEROINE: Why the hell did you think that? You never asked me what I liked.
We just got into this bed and —
EDITOR: Don’t worry, we’ll go back and fix the part before you get into bed
with each other.
HERO: There is no part before we get into bed.
EDITOR: That’s what we’re going to fix. Now . . . [to HERO] When she makes a request like she’s just made, you could
reply . . .
HERO: Sure. Whatever. I’ll go slow.
EDITOR: [sighs] We’ll work on dialogue later. Now as to the
scene . . . Keep in mind that sex isn’t just an athletic event for the
heroes and heroines of romance novels; they’re expressing love. So, physically, you
might be doing exactly what you were doing before —
HERO: Oh, good!
EDITOR: — but tone, nuance, intention and response — in short, everything else
about the scene — have to be completely different from the way you’ve just done it.
HERO: Different how?
EDITOR: Well, let’s go back and try it again. From the top, please.
He gripped her firm-fleshed thighs in his strong hands as he plunged into
her again and again, her mewls of ecstasy fueling his rapacious lust, his well-
EDITOR: Stop there.
HERO: What’s wrong now?
EDITOR: How does she make you feel?
EDITOR: How does she make you —
HERO: Well, you know . . . My cock’s really hard.
EDITOR: [despairing] Why do I even bother?
HERO: No, wait! Don’t give up! I can do better!
EDITOR: I’m waiting.
HERO: She’s, uh . . .
HERO: I feel, um . . .
EDITOR: Go on.
HERO: Well, I’m glad she’s here.
EDITOR: Good, that’s better. Why are you glad she’s here?
HERO: [desperately] ‘Cause I really like fucking?
EDITOR: [head in hands] This’ll never work.
HERO: Wait! Tell me, please! Why am I glad she’s here?
EDITOR: Actually, since I don’t know who either of you are or what your
relationship is or what this moment means to you —
HEROINE: So how about giving us a for instance?
HERO: Yeah, a hint or something.
EDITOR: [wearily] All right, try this.
Her flesh was like warm silk under his hands as he sank deeply into her
welcoming body, her soft cries of pleasure searing his soul with urgent passion. His
back arched as they moved together, one desire, one heartbeat, one soul.
Do you see my point?
HERO: Seems a little murky to me. I mean . . . I’m not quite
sure what I’m doing to her.
EDITOR: That’s okay. What you’re doing isn’t the important thing.
HERO: It’s not?
EDITOR: No. Listen, this is supposed to be a wildly emotional moment, a
physical joining with your soulmate, an intensely passionate blending of two people
who’ve found each other at last, a total abandonment of ego and self to love. A blissful
union which transports you beyond the technical details of what you’re doing to each
HERO: Doesn’t the reader want to know anything I’m doing to her?
EDITOR: Sure. Enough so that we’re positive you’re having sex and not doing
dishes or playing baseball. Enough so that we can tell it’s good. But the main thing is —
HERO: All that transportation stuff.
HEROINE: I think I see what you’re driving at. How’s this?
He filled her, completed her, took her beyond herself until she no longer
knew where she ended and he began. Lost in his arms, in the passionate hunger of his
kisses, in the melting heat of his love, she abandoned herself to his every desire, his
every whispered whim.
EDITOR: Yes, that’s better. You’re getting the idea.
HERO: Okay, I can do this, too. How about this?
He loved her so much, he wanted to make her come again and again and
HERO: What do you think?
EDITOR: We’ll work on it.
HERO: But it was better?
EDITOR: Uh, yeah. Better.
HEROINE: So we’re not going back to the slush pile?
EDITOR: I’ll work with you a bit more.
HEROINE: Oh, thank you!
EDITOR: No promises, though. We’ll just see how it goes.
HERO: We’ll work hard!
HEROINE: We promise!
EDITOR: Okay, now let’s go back a bit.
HERO: How far back?
EDITOR: How did you two meet?
HEROINE: Well, we got into this bed and —
EDITOR: [sighs] Let me call down for some coffee. I can see it’s going to
be a long night.