So a friend on an erotica-writing community that I’ve been part of for a while is giving a talk to a local romance writing group about writing smut. And surveyed us about our thoughts on how to right good sex scenes. I thought it might be interesting for me to share my thoughts — and get some of yours! (I’ll also link to the survey at the bottom, if you’d like to participate yourself. OH! And I link to not one but THREE new titles at the end!)
Let’s Talk About Sex: Writing Believable (and good) Sex Scenes
What is something you wish you knew when you first started writing love scenes that you know now?
That what’s happening in the point of view character’s mind is far sexier and more compelling than even the most well-written description of what body part goes where. (Since I write a lot of ménage and reverse harem stories, this is doubly true!) Specificity and sensory detail are essential, but mental and emotional detail are what really makes a good love scene work.
How do YOU write a love scene? (any rituals? Light candles? Sit down and bang out the words, etc)
Sit down and bang out the words, mostly. I find that I often do some of my best prewriting as I’m falling asleep, so it’s mostly a matter of reconnecting with whatever impulse I found as I was drifting off. 🙂
Any words you CANNOT stand to see in a love scene? (ie throbbing cucumber, flower dripping with honey, moist anything)
Meh. Overly flowery euphemisms for genitalia are a turnoff for me — 90% of the time I’ll just use “cock” and “pussy” and focus the descriptive language on the experience rather than the body parts (see my first answer.)
Why are sex scenes hard (ha) to write?
Because a) they’re about an experience that is by definition not happening in the language parts of the brain and b) if one isn’t really careful, they can get really repetitive really fast! “He thrust in. And out. And in and out…” 😂
Does it bother you if a book skips over safe sex? Why/Why Not?
I’m ambivalent. I try to include at least a discussion/awareness of safe sex in my books — but you want the characters to be swept up in passion, not having an adult, rational conversation (though it can be fun having them try to be adult and responsible while wanting to tear each other’s clothes off). I try to be honest about what those of conversations often look like in the moment — and occasionally, when folks didn’t use condoms or other safe sex methods, try to show the consequences of giving into impulse (pregnancy — I haven’t had anyone give anyone an STD, ‘cause that’s a buzzkill of the first order).
Btw, I do always try to be very clear about consent — that it be explicit and clear. And not just for the female characters.
Any other helpful suggestions/comments/words of advice?
Just write what you want to write. Share with people and find out what they think works and doesn’t work. Then write some more — of what you want to write. 🙂
So, what are your thoughts? What did you think of my responses — and do you think they accurately reflect my stories? I’d love to hear your comments, whether it’s as a writer or as a reader!
And of course, if you’re a writer and you’d like to respond to this survey, you can find it here:
Oh! And I have a trio of new books! One’s just been released:
Three lost souls have won a war and been stripped of everything else – except each other
What do you do after the final battle?
Ari, Annie, and Timi have every reason to be happy. They helped defeat the invading horde from another plane and won the war.
Yet happy is the last thing any of them are feeling. After losing so much, they feel like anything but themselves. Anything but human.
And yet like many other forms of magic, these three find that love cannot be denied.
Read Three Lost Souls, a Changelings sneak preview!
(Novella-length, post-tragedy contemporary fantasy; polyamory MFF erotic romance)
I also have a holiday-themed collection of my stories, Steamy Holidays: Sexy Holiday Stories, that’s being released at the end of the month:
And a much more adult version of my lady-knight-rescues-the-princess story, Rose & Lily, will be included in the new fantasy and fairytale anthology Into the Forest!