Saturday, December 5, 2009
Adding Some Heat Between the Sheets
Though I love coming across a steamy hot sex scene in a story, I can honestly say that, for me, a sex scene is by far the hardest thing to write. I agonize over every word. But no matter the difficulties, when done right, I think an intimate scene can add a lot to your story if you choose to add one in. Here are a few things I've found have helped me...
* Avoid repeating yourself.-- Often, easier said than done, in this type of situation. You need to make sure that things aren't getting repetitive, not only in what the characters are doing, but also in your choice of words. And that is where some of the difficulty comes in, since there are only so many ways to refer to ones anatomy. Once you add the additional constraints for what was in use during a certain time period, you're left with even less words in your arsenal. However, some things can be assumed. If you've already referenced a particular bodypart, and the action has not strayed too far, then you can often skip another reference. Another way is to reference a different area in close proximity, as long as it's clear where the action has now headed.
* Think about the small details. -- By doing this you pull the reader into the scene. I'm not normally one for a lot of details, but this is where you need them. How does her skin feel to the touch? Does he taste of whiskey when he kisses her? Can he smell her perfume? Is his stubble rough against her soft skin? Does the firelight cast a golden glow across her skin? Does that same light catch the planes of his muscular form? The details will help your reader visualize the scene and pull them in. Even if you choose to remain pretty vague about "the act" itself, by including the little details you still keep the scene intimate.
* Use their thoughts and emotions.-- Sex is an intimate act (even if your characters are not necessarily intimately involved) and there are bound to be thoughts if not emotions. Too often you come across a sex scene and it's just the physical act. By adding thoughts and emotions, we again keep the reader involved in the scene.
* Make sure the scene is not confusing.-- I think this very important. Too often when the writer tries not to get too explicit or if the writer is trying something a little "creative" *ahem* things can get muddled in the process. Nothing pulls a reader out of a scene faster than having to figure out what just happened, or trying to account for all the body parts during an acrobatic feat. This can be especially difficult to do if there is more than one person of the same sex involved, since you can no longer say his/her or he/she and have it be clearly understood.
* Be creative.-- I know this goes without saying, but it can be easy to start repeating things. Try for a little variety, especially if you have more than one sex scene. A quickie or a long night affair, slow and sweet or fast and rough, fun or tender. Even within the one scene, change things around a little.
* Take into account the character's personality and history.-- This is something that will keep the reader involved beyond just the sex scene, as it can add insight and often lend a bit of surprise. Is your character normally shy and timid, but a fierce and dominant lover? Or do they stay true to their personality? Did something happen to them in their past that causes them to react a certain way when intimacy is involved? All these personality quirks will lend depth to your characters.
I hope this helps. Any other suggestions? Do you write sex scenes into your stories or is it something you completely avoid?