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Monday, July 30, 2012

WRITING SEX SCENES

By Rosanna Chiofalo


Though sex scenes in novels may seem to come effortlessly to writers, most authors will tell you that they feel some anxiety before writing them. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The key to writing seamless sex scenes that will leave your readers begging for more (excuse the pun!), is to forget about your audience and completely immerse yourself in your character’s mind—and body!

The pitfall that most aspiring writers, as well as new authors, fall into is worrying too much about what their loved ones will think. I, too, was guilty of this when I wrote my first sex scene. As the youngest of four children and with siblings who were quite a bit older than me, my first thought was what they would think of their kid sister writing such a hot and heavy scene. I could hear one of my brother’s voices in my head as I wrote my sex scenes, saying, “Where did you learn this stuff?” Of course, it wouldn’t matter that I’m in my early forties and a happily married woman!

One of the most difficult aspects of being a writer is exposing yourself, and especially your writing to the world. Even when a book isn’t based at all on your own life, writers know that readers can’t help but see an extension of the author in his or her writing. Perhaps this sense of exposure is partially why writing sex scenes can be so intimidating.

Another challenging aspect of writing sex scenes is making them natural and not forced. Using the right language is crucial to believable sex scenes. Also by avoiding repetition and staying away from clichés, writers can greatly enhance their scenes. Think about your characters’ dialogue. For example, if your heroine is an assertive, sassy character, then making her prim and proper in the bedroom—whether it’s in her actions or language—wouldn’t make sense unless she was intentionally role playing. Above all, writers must always remember to stay true to their characters.

What’s helped me the most in writing convincing sex scenes, as well as making me more comfortable, is reading. As any author will tell you, reading each other’s work is the best way to improve your own writing, regardless if you’re writing about sex or how your heroine has had her heart broken. The more sex scenes I read, the less I have to think about crafting them. The writing flows more easily.

Lastly, I also like to keep a notebook in which all I write are mini sex scenes. Sometimes, I use some of these scenes for my books but many times I don’t. The notebook’s purpose is to get me in the habit of writing sex scenes and make it less apprehensive for me each time I do so. I write longhand in the notebook rather than sitting in front of my laptop. Writing longhand where I can sit on the couch or anywhere that is comfortable makes it more relaxing for me and takes away some of the pressure writers can feel when sitting in front of their computer at their desks where they normally write their novels. Find what works for you and stick to it. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to creating the most breathtaking, sizzling scenes—and not caring what your friends and family think!




Rosanna Chiofalo is the author of the upcoming novel BELLA FORTUNA (Kensington Publishing, August 28, 2012). She lives with her husband in New York. Please visit http://www.rosannachiofalo.com/.


3 comments:

  1. Great post! It should be very helpful to shy authors who have yet to get into the groove of writing love scenes.

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  2. This is a wonderful post and I love the idea of the little notebook. I don't have issues writing these scenes, myself, for one thing I have no family member, spousal, children or job/religion/community issues about the fact that I write erotic romance, which I consider very fortunate, especially when I talk to people who have to figure out how to juggle both their writing and their personal responsibilities. When I began writing romance I had a suspicion I would have trouble with the love scenes, but soon discovered they were fun to do - though I often have to scale them back when my characters complain they need sleep. Definitely great advice to just keep writing these scenes - and saving them. You never can tell when a scene that doesn't work in one place can, with adjustments, work in another, or even inspire a new scene. Lovely book cover by the way! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Lise! Hopefully, my advice can help many writers. Talk to you soon!

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