I have even taught classes on writing about sex, and I've looked closely at different writers' sex scenes. On the level of craft I've given it a lot of thought. The pitfalls are simple: It can sound clinical or medical, which isn't right, or pornographic, because the characters disappear.
A knowledge of craft is not the enemy of creativity. You sit down to write and realize, today's going to be a really unconscious day and I'm going to let it all out. Or, today's going to be analytical. And some days all mixed up.
Not a lot of contemporary fiction is written about brothers and sisters. Salinger's Franny and Zooey was an inspiration for me. In Franny and Zooey, the sister gets in trouble and the brother comes to help her out. But I wanted to make sure that in my novel the sister had more to do than lie around on a sofa muttering, which is what Franny does for two-thirds of Salinger's novel.
It's about transitioning from adolescence, when you live together with parents and see each other every day, to the era when you don't live together and start to grow apart and have to figure out how you're going to have an adult relationship.
I remember being in the same position as Ruby, when I no longer believed in God as I was raised to believe. But I still am a believer - it's a personality trait, to be someone who can believe. But then what do you believe in?
But revision is a creative act, not merely an analytical imposition of rules of style on a more creative first draft. That's a myth - that the first draft is more creative and everything after that is ruining creativity.