I know. Sounds like I'm talking about Norman Mailer's work, right? But no.
I'm talking about my own.
Fiction is filled (one would hope) with emotionally charged scenes, and while I'm writing one of them, be it a death scene, a declaration of love, the HEA or a sex scene, I'm often entirely caught up in the moment. Me, I am an emotional animal. I'm the kind of person who cries at movies, whether they're sad or happy or genuinely moving or shamelessly schmaltzy. I've been moved to tears over episodes of The Simpsons and Futurama, for godsakes!
I cried once to the point of exhaustion while banging out the scene that mercilessly killed two of my favorite characters in my grand, huge, massive, epic WIP. I had to tell people for two days after that I'd had an allergy attack, and that's why my eyes were all puffy and red.
I read that scene now, and I'm "meh". From sobbing to stoic after four passes of my dispassionate editorial eye.
Sex scenes, too. While writing them, I'm affected in predictable fashion--sometimes to my great discomfiture when I have to abandon a scene in the middle and say, function at work in front of, you know, people and stuff. By the time a book is ready to submit, that same scene often leaves me entirely cold. I have to remind myself of how I felt while writing the first draft, tell myself over and over--"Yes, damnit, it is hot! The reader will think so, too!"--because usually, by the time I've polished the living bejeesus out of it, well, it pretty much does nothing for me anymore.
My latest novel, Bound by Steel, which should be out in October, was a major departure from this phenomenon. The hot scenes in that book are, well, still hot to me--even the ones at the beginning. I don't know exactly what this means. I didn't sit on the manuscript as long as I usually do before sending it off, and let my editor know this. I was concerned the writing wasn't ready. She came back with an enthusiastic "I love this book!", which is an enormous relief. Perhaps it's simply a function of increasing confidence. I know I write pretty damn clean (editorially speaking, not smexing-wise, heh) and if I can submit a solid story without agonizing over every sentence, that can't help but be good for my mental health.
And even if the back-and-forth of edits with this one takes longer than it did with Crossing Swords or Healer's Touch, well, I think I'll be able to live with that for the opportunity to keep getting misty over the happily ever after. Because for me, getting all emotional is what good fiction is about.