Welcome to spooky season, aka October. Can you believe it, the end of the year is upon us. But a new month means another new #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop. These are harder for me some months more than others. This month was one of them.
I’ve said it before that I don’t particularly think I’m one to give out advice and such but since these posts are about trying to help, I keep at it. Doing them are a benefit for me as writing them up makes me stop and think, but I tend to follow the sage advice of “write what you know.”
Now, hopefully you weren’t scared off from the title. I am a romance writer and a steamy/erotic one at that, which means all the sexy times are typically on page. No close door for this gal. My writing friends are wonderful at inflating my ego in regards to the sexy times I’ve written and have commented I should give lessons on writing those scenes. My imposter syndrome keeps me firmly in the belief my love scenes aren’t anything super special, but regardless this post is for them.
In May I wrote a post giving tips on how to include a romance into your story, if you wanted one. This is a continuation of sorts if you want to take it step farther and showcase some on screen loving. Just like a not every story needs a romance, even if there is one, not every romance needs to have sex on page.
If you’re going that route, ask yourself why
- Is the sex only there to be gratuitous? Are you wanting to add some “edge” to your story with a little on page boning but it doesn’t otherwise factor into the story or the characters? If that is the case, don’t do it. I mean everyone is free to write what they want, but we’ve all seen those movies where things are going along and they’ve not only forced a romance for some reason, but they’ve added a sex scene normally so they can show some boobs or something.
I’m not saying all sex scenes need to be deep and meaningful, but it should at the very least fit the tone of the story. It should not be shoehorned in.
It’s not as easy as you’d think
Romance gets looked down on a lot. The genre takes a lot of heat for being “predictable” due to the HEA/HFN endings. And it’s often referred to as “mommy porn” which is total BS since not all romances feature sex. Humans are messy complicated individuals and writing about that isn’t simple or straight forward. In that same vain, writing sex—good sex—isn’t simple either.
- There is more to sex than a boob squeeze here, an ass slap there, and putting body part A into body part B. Sex is more than penetration, hell sometimes there isn’t any. There is a lot you have to think about and orchestrate when crafting a love scene. What was the lead up to it for the characters? How are they feeling? What is going on in their head before, during, and after the act?
Even with a quickie hook-up that is hot and heavy, these things need to be considered. Sex is an emotional act, even if that emotion is just the happiness and satisfaction of doing it. That sort of life needs to be brought into the scene so that it adds to the story and to the characters involved.
- When you’re crafting a sex scene it can’t all be about the mechanics. Don’t make it read like a how to manual. No one wants that. Talk about how they feel, NOT just how the sex feels though that is also very important, but how the characters feel. Are they nervous in the lead up to the act? What are they thinking about their partner or partners?
Remember to add in the sights, sounds, and smells. And yes, I know the smells can be a bit clichéd LOL. We have all heard the jokes of the man (if there is one in the scene) smelling of sandlewood, or musk, or simply like a man but still it adds depth. How does their skin taste? Sounds weird, but it also adds a level. How does it feel? Soft, do they have calloused hands?
A sex scene is a well-choreographed mix of tantalizing, emotion, maybe some humor, and well-versed visual aids to help pull the reader into the moment. It should be given as much thought and care as any other scene you craft for your story.
Make it realistic
Look, I get it, romance is fiction so if the scene includes a cis male he’s probably gonna be working with porn star level inches and will have Energizer Bunny level of stamia. And that is all well and good, but don’t go too overboard.
I’m not scientific by any means, but some things are common knowledge and biology and physics only allow for so much. There is a blogger that I follow on Twitter that has read some pretty epic and gravity defying sex scenes and they are good for a giggle while asking what was the author thinking.
- Think about what you’re writing. Stop and visualize where all the body parts are, and how likely it is that a regular human could do this. Think about the location you have your characters. Certain things aren’t as possible in the backseat of say a compact car as it would be on a bed. These are the little things you need to keep in mind so your readers aren’t scratching their head and wondering what the heck is happening.
There is more, but I try to keep these posts from getting too long, so this is a good starter. For those of you that don’t write romance and/or sex scenes at all or on a regular basis these pointers will hopefully give you some basics to set you on the right path.
Stay true to what you want for the world you’re creating and don’t try and force something that doesn’t fit. And remember consent is key!
That’s it for this month. And well for 2019 actually as this hop takes November and December off. Guess I’ll see you next year if it continues.
Until next time