I’ve been working furiously on a short story that I’d really like to get in for a submission deadline on Sept. 1, so I haven’t even really LOOKED at anything else, let alone posted or participated! But this is stuff that’s on my mind, so it’s the perfect time to talk about it.
13 Things To Keep In Mind When Writing Steamy Fiction — Or any fiction, for some of them!
1. Show, Don’t Tell — If you want people to feel your adult fic, you’re better off with full description and dialogue instead of just a description.
2. Remember that sex involves *sensuality* — use all the senses. There are sounds, scents, sights, as well as physical feelings. Use them all to make your erotica more erotic.
3. Make it realistic, position-wise — nothing throws me out of a steamy story than a confusing or anatomically impossible sex position. Seriously, there are some things the human body just can’t do. Visualize — or better, try for yourself — any position you might be using in your story!
4. Do Dirty Word Counts — it’s really difficult to find different words that describe body parts and the way they’re used in sex. Be careful not to overuse the few that are most common. Do a little internet research, and you’ll find some great erotic thesauruses that can really help.
5. Don’t forget characterization — it’s easy just to use one character as Part A, and the second (or third… or more) as Slot B. There’s no need to sacrifice the people in your steamy scenes. How they respond to what’s going on, what they like, how they act, all of these can provide means of developing character.
6. Remember Your Genre — If you’re writing a kind of sex that you’re familiar with, or read a great deal about, you don’t have to worry as much. However, if, say, you’re a woman writing M/M scenes, or a vanilla person writing BDSM, do extensive research. Read widely in your genre. Talk to people involved in the scene, if you can. Your details will ring more true if you do the work than if you just imagine it. If you’re writing romance, don’t forget the romance in the sex!
7. Pacing — I was really reminded of this by reading that gawdawful 50 Shades of Blech series. Look, writing and reading a sex scene is like having sex in your head, and helping your reader do the same. If the flow is interrupted — say, by too much inner monologue or running commentary *cough*, it’s like you’re talking to your reader, telling them what they’re supposed to feel while they’re in the middle of getting off. It seriously kills the mood. I like to write my sex scenes all in one go, with no interruption, so the flow is steady. I can go back and fix the mess later. So to speak.
8. Just because it’s naughty doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be structurally correct. Or ignore the rules of grammar, spelling, etc. (Yeah, I know, I don’t follow that rule here, but this is my blog, not one of my novels or stories.) Don’t count on your spell check. Read it, print it out and read it again. Read it out loud. Get a first reader/beta for a fresh set of eyes. This is also good for gauging the effectiveness of your sex scenes. See #6 — if you can get someone involved in the lifestyle of your genre to first read you, you’re rocking!
9. Know Your Anatomy — not just yours personally, though that’s helpful. It is a good investment of time to learn about genitals and how they work during arousal and different kinds of sex. Know the proper names of things, and how they really operate. Understand that there are erogenous zones outside of breasts and genitals. They’re important in sexuality as well, so learn about them.
10. Be Aware of Expectations — Different genres have different expectations for what will and won’t be involved in the sex scenes (for instance, if there’s no bloodplay in my vampire sex, I’m really kind of put out!). If you are writing for a particular publisher, make sure you understand their guidelines. Some publishers simply will not publish certain things, or will only release them under certain lines. Know the guidelines before you submit!
11. Read, read, read, read, and also, read — seriously, it can’t be repeated enough. Read in your genre. Read outside your genre. Read nonfiction. The more you read, the more your writing will improve. When it comes to erotica, read as much of your chosen genre as you can get your hands on so you’ll know what’s in and what’s out.
12. Don’t hold back — When I talk to new writers, especially about sexy writing, I always tell them to write all the way to the edge of their comfort zone, and then cross it! Your first drafts are your playground, where you can go anywhere, experiment with anything. Editing and re-writing are where you can pull back if you really feel like you need to. You’d be surprised what you come up with if you let your imagination run wild!
13. There are lots of kinds of steamy — from sexual tension with closed door action (where you don’t “see” the sex) all the way up to hardcore porn, there are lots of ways for fictional beings (not just human!) to express sensuality, and they can all be really hot if done right. Different strokes for different folks… so to speak.
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!
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Okay, I really have to get back to work! I’ll see you when I next come up for air!