“I Give You My Body…” How I Write Sex Scenes by Diana Gabaldon


Anyone who knows me anything about me at all, knows how much I love Diana Gabaldon’s books. If you know me, and you DON’T know this? Shame on you. Clearly you haven’t been paying attention and you need to crawl out from under your rock and listen. It’s the only way you’re going to know these things. But I digress…

The only thing better than reading my favorite author’s books, is learning about how she writes. So when I saw that Herself*  had written this book, detailing her process in writing about intimate (and not so intimate) moments, naturally I had to read it. (And it didn’t hurt that I’ve always enjoyed reading about the art of writing.)

It was a very interesting read, pointing out the subtleties of scenes that I never really noticed before Diana specifically pointed them out. If you’ve ever read an article (or a book) that gives writing advice, one point is constantly being stressed: Show, don’t tell. It’s not something you necessarily watch for as you read, but when the opposite is done (telling, not showing), you’re absolutely going to notice it. Too much tell and very little show is the best way to ruin a potentially good book. (And I’m sure we’ve all read them at one time or another.) My favorite books have all been written by people who not only knew to do it, but knew how to do it well.

I’m guessing the majority of people who immediately purchased this book were likely Outlander fans, but you don’t have to be a fan of Outlander to read this book. It’s a useful tool for anyone wanting to improve their writing skills. There’s even a few laughs to be had here and there. The only thing I was momentarily taken aback by was the artwork that’s sprinkled in here and there… I wasn’t expecting that at all, so the first one was a little shocking to see. (Kudos to the artist, though… they’re very talented.)

It was a nice diversion from the wait for book nine, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, to be finished and available, albeit far too brief. Now I’m not-so-patiently waiting for Diana to make the wonderful announcement that book nine is finished… but I’ve been a fan long enough to know there will likely be at least two more years of waiting. Sigh.

* “Herself” is a term of affection and respect bestowed on Diana by her fans.

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Author: Diana Gabaldon
Title: “I Give You My Body…” How I Write Sex Scenes
Genre: Writing, Reference
Publication Date: August 16, 2016 by Dell
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

For writers looking to make sure their next physical interlude on the page inspires readers to share the moment rather than to laugh at it, bestselling author Diana Gabaldon divulges the writing secrets behind the sex scenes in her wildly popular Outlander novels.

“Ask me to your bed,” he said.  “I shall come to ye.”

In this revealing compendium, acclaimed writer Diana Gabaldon shares her invaluable lessons for creating an immersive reading experience, from evoking a mood to using the power of emotions to communicate physical intimacy. You’ll learn the difference between gratuitous sex and genuine encounters that move the story forward, and how to handle less-than-savory acts that nevertheless serve a narrative purpose. Gabaldon also notes that sex can be conveyed instead of described. With such tips as “The Rule of Three” for involving the senses, handy lists of naughty euphemisms (with instructions for use), and Gabaldon’s own examples from the Outlander novels, “I Give You My Body . . .” is a master class in writing to draw readers in and keep them riveted to the page.

About the Author

DIANA GABALDON is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting ‘Scrooge McDuck’ comics.”

The adventure began in 1991 with the classic OUTLANDER (“historical fiction with a Moebius twist”), has continued through seven more New York Times-bestselling novels— DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, AN ECHO IN THE BONE, and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, with more than twenty-eight million copies in print worldwide.

The series is published in 26 countries and 23 languages, and includes THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, Volumes One and Two, which are nonfiction (well, relatively) works which provide details on the settings, background, characters, research, and writing of the first eight novels in the Outlander series of novels. Gabaldon (it’s pronounced “GAA-bull-dohn”—rhymes with “stone”) has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Grey (a major minor character from the main series): LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER,  LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE, LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS, and THE SCOTTISH PRISONER.

Returning to her comic-book roots, she has also written a graphic novel titled THE EXILE (set within the OUTLANDER universe and featuring the main characters from OUTLANDER), but told from the viewpoint of Jamie Fraser and his godfather, Murtagh. The graphic novel is illustrated by Hoang Nguyen, and published by Del-Rey.

The eighth and most recent major novel in the OUTLANDER series, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, was released on June 10, 2014 in the U.S.A. and Canada. The book made its debut as number one on the New York Times bestseller list in the hardcover category and combined e-book and hardcover category! And the book is also a bestseller in Canada.

Diana is serving as a Co-Producer and advisor for the popular Outlander TV series, produced by the Starz network and Tall Ship Productions and distributed by Sony International, which is based on her novels. She has written a script for an episode of the series, also.

Her main current writing project is the ninth major novel in the OUTLANDER series, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE.

Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, (plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters, which entitles her to be “Diana Gabaldon, Ph.D., D.H.L.”  She supposes this is better than “Diana Gabaldon, Phd.X,”) and spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation before beginning to write fiction.  She has written scientific articles and textbooks, worked as a contributing editor on the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, founded the scientific-computation journal SCIENCE SOFTWARE QUARTERLY, and has written numerous comic-book scripts for Walt Disney.  None of this has anything whatever to do with her novels, but there it is.

Diana and her husband, Douglas Watkins, have three adult children and live mostly in Scottsdale, Arizona.

2 thoughts on ““I Give You My Body…” How I Write Sex Scenes by Diana Gabaldon

  1. This sounds like a must read for a romance writer. I saw your blog listed in the Book Review Directory. I blog and write, and noticed that most reviewers work hard reading and writing reviews, but don’t get much traffic for all that work, including myself. Like Ryan Lanz, I’d like to feature your work on my site. Each week I feature a specific genre. If you have a book review for that genre post the link in the comment section. I will visit it and list all the links the next week and on my link page as well. You don’t have to read another book, but publicize a post you’ve already created. Yeah!!! I read that you review biographies. Here is a link for memoirs. http://wp.me/p7tP3I-eS.There is no catch. I’m retired, love to read and blog for fun. Marsha 🙂

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