April 6, 2014

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Secrets of Writing Sex Scenes

Have you ever wondered how authors prepare to write those sizzling hot scenes in their novels?  Where do they come up with their ideas? From personal experience, I can tell you it isn’t quite the scenario you might expect. When I wrote the first seduction scene in “So Right with You,” it was late at night. The mood was set with the TV on for background music, and Zombieland was playing. Yes, I wrote my first seduction scene to Zombieland. Now, you need to understand my teen daughter had informed me that she was the most sheltered child in the world, because her parents had not allowed her to watch a horror flick. She was the only kid in her class who had never seen a monster movie. I had asked her, “What do you want to see?” Her response was: “Zombieland.” That night, as I sat there surfing through channels for something to watch, I found it on, so I wrote my first steamy scene to the cult classic. You know, I was actually doing research on whether Zombieland was an appropriate movie for my teen daughter. I have to admit I was entertained by the movie, but there was no way in hell she was going to see it, not for a while anyway.

Now, that scene was a bit let’s say anti-climactic; basically no climax. The scene is in the book if you would like to read it. Anyway, I had to persevere in order to bring my fictional couple much needed satisfaction. So buckling down, I proceeded to write my first full-on sex scene. I sat on my sofa in broad daylight with again the television on for background noise and tried to write it. My problem with the scene was it was a bit messy, literally. My couples much to my disconcertion ran rue with my book and were engaging in hot, messy, sticky sex. I personally had a problem with this. I wanted to clean it up. Things were melting on the nightstand. After sleeping on it, I again took out my computer notebook and finished the scene. To really give my scene the push it needed, I gave myself permission to write freely and without embarrassment, well mostly. I reminded myself that the scene was not about me but was what Chloe, my heroine, would do. One little tidbit about me is that I tend to read what I write out loud as I do it. You can imagine how hard it was to write a scene like this with my two children in the house. I learned to whisper read quickly.

When the scene was finished to my satisfaction and of course my couples, I texted my neighbor to see what she thought. She arranged that night for her fiancé to take their young daughter out to the movies. Over wine and bottles of water, I read her my first sex scene. I think I did a good job. At one point, I looked up from fixing some typos and found her staring at me with what could only be described as sexual frustration. I stopped fixing my errors and finished reading the scene. At the end, she told me she was afraid when I asked to get her opinion on the scene that I was a bad writer and she would have to be put on the spot. My bad. I had never shared with her my work or that I was a writer before. And of course, I chose this piece to break her in.

So the secret about writing sex scenes is this: write it however it works for you and don’t allow your own embarrassment or thoughts about what you would or wouldn’t do hold you back.  Just write it!