Aphrodisia Authors

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Writing that sizzling sex...

Love those sexy covers! This is my new one for the next book, coming out in January 2008. You know when you see a cover like this that the book is going to be hot. Sizzling hot. Firecracker hot, right? (Well, it IS the fourth of July!) So how do we do it? What lifts a story beyond mere romance and makes it erotic?

How about taking three little steps to better sex...

Someone asked me the other day what the secret was to writing those really HOT sex scenes without blushing. I laughed, because I know my answer wasn’t what she expected. I told her there were three things to keep in mind. One, she had to get rid of her mother. Not actually, of course, because we love our mothers—mostly—but figuratively speaking, it’s almost impossible to write hot sex with that imaginary mom hanging over your shoulder. Remember, the one who said you can’t SAY those things?

Much less, write them!

Okay...so you’ve taken care of the judgmental grown-up. Hypothetical Mom’s not frowning and shaking her finger at you. Step two? Turn your inner bitch free. We’ve all got one—she’s hovering in there behind the rules and responsibilities and the daily chores that keep her chained, but she’s in there. I like to think mine’s an alpha bitch. We’ll call her AB and she’s the one who can use those words that Mom said we can’t say. AB calls a cock a cock (or a dick or even a penis, but never, in her wildest imaginings, would she refer to that part of the male anatomy as a purple helmeted warrior or a steely pleasure shaft!) and she’s not afraid of her own body—or the bodies of her characters. She knows that sex is messy and not always perfect, but AB’s convinced that she deserves an orgasm and isn’t going to be happy with a man who ignores her needs. She’ll take a good vibrator over a bad lover any day, but she’s really holding out for “Mr. Perfect.”

Well, we write the fantasies that make women happy, and that means we OWN Mr. Perfect—or at least we need to convince our readers we do! Unless we’re comfortable with the language and the detailed descriptions of the sexual acts themselves, (even though we’ve probably never done half the things we write about) our readers are going to know we’re faking. Our discomfort will show through in every word we write. If we feel awkward writing those graphic encounters, our reader will feel the same way.

Not good.

So, get rid of Mom and get comfortable with your new vocabulary.

But what’s the third thing, you ask? (and if you’re not asking, by golly, you should be!)

We need to fall in love. Simple, right? And who is the object of our affection? Our characters—all of them who might be tumbling in or out of bed—or wherever we want them to do the deed. If we don’t love them, we’re not going to make our readers love them, and if our readers don’t feel a deep emotional attachment to the characters in a story, they won’t give a rat’s ass about the sex in the story. Without emotion, without the bond we, as writers, create, the sex becomes mechanical and boring. We all know how it’s done—there’s no mystery there. Creating those sexy scenes within the context of a good story filled with strong characters and powerful emotions is what lifts the truly erotic far above the level of what could easily degenerate into nothing more than crass pornography.

By the time I get to the first sexual encounter in my books, I’m already so heavily invested and involved in my characters that the graphic sex scene is the next natural step in the progression of character and/or plot development. I write the scenes because the story requires them, not because my editor wants more sex in the book.

There’s an amazing sense of freedom in creating well-developed characters, letting them fall in love and not shutting the bedroom door in the reader’s face. It’s simple, really. Just tell Mom to go away, let your inner bitch out of her closet, and turn yourself free to fall in love.

Posted by Kate Douglas :: 9:43 AM :: 10 comments

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