Since this is a writer’s blog and I write erotic romance, I thought I’d take some time and write something useful for new writers of erotic romance. (Or at least I’d try – you never know what can be useful as everyone has a different approach to writing.)
I was chatting on the msn yesterday with a really talented new writer and she made a confession – she has trouble writing sex scenes. And then today, while blog-hopping, I saw two other authors saying the same thing. One said she made them too jerky, and the other said she didn’t know which words to choose without either offending readers or offending herself.
That got me thinking back to my beginnings at writing sex scenes. The thing that held me back was thinking “My mother is going to read this.” That would be enough to paralyze anyone. And worse, “Maybe my father will read it!” (Well, extremely doubtful – men read books about World War One and car racing, not “The Argentine Lover”. But if I wanted my books to sell, I had to get over that, so I did. And I did it by writing as sensually and quickly as possible to sketch out the scene, and then go back and add the details. I started to work like that, and because it worked so well for me, I have continued to use that technique.
It goes something like this – I’m writing the book, and I get to a place where there has to be a sex scene, so I’ll write, (the names have been changed to protect the innocent)Zach shut the door behind him. Dora spun around at the sound. She hadn’t expected him to follow her. She took a step back and hit the bed. Off-balance, she tripped and would have fallen but Zach caught her. (We’ll skip the dialogue, although I usually go ahead and pen that in here too)
His touch sent waves of heat through her. (Now I’ll speed things up and describe the physical things they have to do in order to get naked and get into bed – )
Her shirt had buttons and her fingers trembled as she undid them. (check to make sure your character is wearing the same clothes in the beginning, middle, and end of a scene – if that morning she pulls a sweater over her head, she better not unzip the sweater when she takes it off and then button it when she gets dressed again after the tryste! – and I’ve see male characters unzip their pants and then button them up after, which always intrigues me and makes me wonder if the characters haven’t switched pants…)
Dora took off her clothes (I’ll go back and fill that in later) Zach took off his clothes (idem – depending on what mood I want – did he tear them off? Slowly push his jeans off his hips? etc.) And then the physical act – Who’s on top…etc.
She lay on the bed (alright, she’s being a passive lover this time – Zach – get to work…) Zach looked at her (time for some visuals) and then knelt on the bed (you sort of have to do this as a movie scene, so you don’t have her lying down, him kneeling over her, and then suddenly have her sitting up and running her hands over his chest – for one thing she’d smack him in the chin with her head, and if he’s further down, with his head between her thighs, for example, her arms would have to be awfully long to touch his chest. (not to mention it would be awkward)
Anyhow – once the characters have moved in the way they have to, have pretty much finished what they are doing, then I move on to the next scene to keep the story moving forward.
Zach looked at his watch and swore (men always do that – it’s not a cliché, honest, lol) Dora sat up and pulled her blouse back on, buttoning it up as quickly as she could. She didn’t notice she’d buttoned it wrong…
Then, maybe a day or two later, I’ll go back and polish the scene. I’ll add the details that make the mood. You have to use the five senses, so there’s touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. Don’t forget any of them. The lighting, the feel of the sheets, Dora’s perfume,the taste of Zach’s lips…And then I’ll go back a third time and see what I can add to make it even more sensual or sizzling.
And that is one way to make a sex scene less intimidating and more technical. If you can look at it as a director looks at a scene through a camera, and then come back to it like an artist touching up a painting, then I think it will be easier to write the scenes that give you trouble.
At any rate, I hope this helps!