Writing Sex Scenes

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Mike R
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mike R » May 19th, 2011, 7:17 pm

I find I'm unable to give either the attention they deserve.

Also, random insertions are a danger.

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polymath
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by polymath » May 19th, 2011, 7:24 pm

Writing workshop number one principle: Address the writing not the writer. Sole exceptions tolerated for directly addressing a writer: sincere praise and approval and ecouragement and supportive commentary. Nothing is more likely to incite passions and clashes during writing discussions than direct condemnation and disapproval of a writer and a writer's strongly held opinions, especially when the verbiage is emotionally charged.
Last edited by polymath on May 19th, 2011, 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JulieCJ
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by JulieCJ » May 19th, 2011, 7:27 pm

Mike R wrote:I did a blog about why to write it. The link is in my signature, you'll have to scroll down a few to get to it.

I think that sex is an important relationship building tool. You can also destroy relationships with it. Characters will do and say things during sex that they won't otherwise. You can reveal things about your characters with sex.

Sex is a tool and a good one. If you don't want to use it, don't. But I do, and I will. And I'll have fun doing it. That may be the best reason to write sex; it's fun.
I loved your post! I added your blog to my blogroll! Pink faces, indeed!

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Mira
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mira » May 19th, 2011, 8:17 pm

Well, Nathan or Sommer might delete this, which is okay, but I feel I really need to say this.

Sierra, I really don't like that you told Julie to "shove it." I think that crosses the line into a personal attack and it's not okay.

Aside from that, sorry to hear you're leaving the forums because you seem to enjoy it here. On the other hand, I have noticed that you tend to take these threads very personally, so maybe this isn't a place that is going to feel comfortable for you.

This may be hard for you to hear, but I think It's most likely because you tend to share very personal information on these threads - for example, your own sexual preferences - which is probably not the best idea if people are discussing concepts that might invoke disagreements. It makes those concepts more personal and ends up with your feeling angry and misunderstood if people don't agree with you.

It also can make it uncomfortable for those participating in the thread with you. I don't want to feel that if I disagree with someone they will take it as a personal attack and start attacking me back.
Last edited by Mira on May 19th, 2011, 8:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Margo
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 8:19 pm

Watcher55 wrote:I hope everyone else saw my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, the worst thing a teacher can do is lie to a kid.
'Lie' is such a strong word. Manipulate? No, no, that one won't do either. Play like a two dollar fiddle? :)
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Collectonian
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Collectonian » May 19th, 2011, 9:09 pm

Wow, overnight/day thread explosion! Weeee....skipping some of stuff (though Poly rocks!), to get back to this question.
Margo wrote:I'm curious about a few things (and, everyone who writes sex scenes, please do chime in). Have you written other books with sex in them? Did you go about writing the scenes in the two book differently? And do you have a particular technique for writing them? Donald Maass has a technique that focuses on five different sensory details -- a quality of light, the scent of the smoke from a snuffed candle, etc -- that has worked well enough for me, but I don't think it's the best I could do. Other techniques?
Of my current works, all of them have some level of sex scenes. All of them were written differently, with different feels, purposes, etc. I, of course, don't feel that any of them are filler. In Broken Wing, there is a fairly graphic rape scene (which I generally don't consider a "sex' scene, but will include them here for purposes of discussion), and there are two consensual sex scenes. The assault caused the MC to withdraw from the world to the point she develops a form of agoraphobia. As she recovers, the two consensual scenes illustrate both her trust in the male MC, as well as showing major turning points in her recovery. I don't fade to black because I felt it important to capture her reactions and set backs during these scenes.

In Aisuru, To Love, there is only one sex scene that doesn't fade to black: the first time the MCs make love. It is the ultimate expression of trust for the female MC as she could literally die from the experience, but trusts his promise he can protect her enough to risk it. The scene not only shows their love, but captures how he keeps her alive since it does become relevant later. While in Fall From Grace, there is one consensual sex scene that has the first bits then fades to black. For these characters, the start is the part that needed to be told, the rest would simply be extraneous. If it were a romance, I would have included it, but since it isn't, it would have been "filler."

I don't have any real technique for how I write them, though, basically I just picture it in my mind, as I do the rest of the story. :-)

That said, to answer another posters question, I love me some well done gratuitous scenes in my reading, and even not so well done ones considering all the freebie erotica I'll read from Amazon on my Kindle PC :-P

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 19th, 2011, 9:19 pm

Just a quick interjection because I don't want to derail the main thread because this is a very valid topic for writers, there is another more tense thread going on that can very quickly get away from everyone and I am going to strongly suggest that the conversation steer clear of personal sexual experiences and/or commentary on personal experiences should it come into conversation. I think in this particular thread, as it has already done, it is too easy for feelings to be hurt and comments misinterpreted.

Always good advice to remember-
Being in disagreement is fine but it is usually a good idea to end a particular thread of conversation when there is no middle ground to be found and all parties have had their say.

In response to Mira - I don't know how to delete anything yet, so I'm not going to try. :-) I haven't gotten the official training book yet and I'll likely end up finding the self-destruct button instead :-)

Carry on!
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 9:25 pm

Collectonian wrote:Of my current works, all of them have some level of sex scenes. All of them were written differently, with different feels, purposes, etc.
Oh, very nice. The details of each of the works were good illustrations for what you were trying to do and why.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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polymath
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by polymath » May 19th, 2011, 9:42 pm

I concur with Margo. Sex scenes with intrinsic purposes and problems are to me artful. I know the form of agoraphobia you speak of, Collectonian, personally, though not from sexual abuse. Cause, existential identity crisis incited by a crowd of indifferent strangers crushing me and me fainting and no one with which to timely and healthily work out its meaning. I didn't cause it. No one did. It just happened. It's taken me a lifetime to come to terms with it, if I have. Identifying the existential crisis resulted in an agoraphobic withdrawal reaction was a major step forward. Kind of too low of a low-concept premise to easily adapt the experience to narrative forms though, so far.
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Mira
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mira » May 20th, 2011, 12:52 am

Sommer Leigh wrote:
Carry on!
Aye, aye, Captain! Good suggestions - try to stay away from getting too personal, and when you've reached the point of complete disagreement, shake hands and let it go.

I can do that.

You know, I really enjoy hearing everyone's opinions. I definitely don't always agree with everyone, or they with me, but that's what makes the discussion so interesting. Even when we agree to disagree, it's still worthwhile hearing a viewpoint very different from my own.

Of course, my true goal in life is to get everyone to completely agree with everything I say, but in the meantime, I'm up for hearing about what other people think of things.

Threads like this, where we really explore and get into the depth of a controversial topic can be absolutely fascinating. I learn alot by thinking about the topic, hashing it out, reading what people write and forumlating my thoughts.

Although, I still, for the record, admire someone who can write a darn good sex scene. I can't do it. I can't write fight scenes either. The mechanics of it baffle me when it comes to writing. I'm not that aware of the physical universe - I tend to be be more intuitive than perceptive, so writing something physical is a real stretch for me.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 20th, 2011, 1:20 am

Mira wrote:
Sommer Leigh wrote:
Carry on!
Aye, aye, Captain! Good suggestions - try to stay away from getting too personal, and when you've reached the point of complete disagreement, shake hands and let it go.

Although, I still, for the record, admire someone who can write a darn good sex scene. I can't do it. I can't write fight scenes either. The mechanics of it baffle me when it comes to writing. I'm not that aware of the physical universe - I tend to be be more intuitive than perceptive, so writing something physical is a real stretch for me.
I love both of these statements :-)

Confession time! I used to be a terrible, terrible, terrible elitist book snob when it came to romances. My BFF reads them all the time and I couldn't help but think "But you're so intelligent and academic! What are you reading this stuff for?!?" I know. I know. I am VERY SORRY. I have since learned the error of my ways and that one should never look down ones nose at anything until you've experienced the best it has to offer. I am a convert.

So the book I mentioned above by Sarah Maclean, 9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake? I'm not joking when I say that I held my breath through certain scenes and like when they were over? I could barely catch my breath. My cheeks flushed. I had to like, take a break and get some air. Holy moly but that girl can write some sex scenes. It's a really fantastic example too that you can write a great story with complex and exciting characters living inside an engaging setting and pepper with heart pounding, toe curling scenes of decadence. I realize the title is kind of silly, but it makes a lot of sense in the story and has several deeper meanings you pick up along the plot. It will now be the book I turn to for inspiration.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Mira
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mira » May 20th, 2011, 1:46 am

Sommer, I just ordered a book. :)

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Cookie
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Cookie » May 20th, 2011, 9:13 am

I thought I was uncomfortable writing sex scenes, then I realized it was because they were unnecessary in the book I am writing. While my characters do have sex, and I do allude to it, it just wasn't necessary.

I have another wip that does have sex scenes, but they fit into the plot, and I had no problem there.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 20th, 2011, 10:39 am

Mira wrote:Sommer, I just ordered a book. :)
Let me know what you think! I just started reading one of the companion novels.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Collectonian
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Collectonian » May 20th, 2011, 12:14 pm

Mira wrote:Although, I still, for the record, admire someone who can write a darn good sex scene. I can't do it. I can't write fight scenes either. The mechanics of it baffle me when it comes to writing. I'm not that aware of the physical universe - I tend to be be more intuitive than perceptive, so writing something physical is a real stretch for me.
Fight scenes drive me nuts! And several of my novels have them. They are a struggle for me because I can picture it in my head, even act it out to a degree, but writing it and describing it a way that is active, exciting, and appropriately detailed drives me nuts :-P

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