Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wet Spots & Contraception - a Review and BOOK GIVE-AWAY!

I was given the honor of being one of 24 writers given a chapter of Alison Kent’s new book, Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance, to review. Kent gave me Chapter 22, ‘The Marriage of Fantasy and Reality.’ Kent’s book focuses on applying all aspects of craft to erotic romance, but it also addresses fiction in general.

Writing about sex can be awkward. Yet, most romance sub-genres contain some level of it—some are even based on it. Most genres outside of romance also contain some romance and, with romance comes sex.

When writing sex scenes, questions writers face include:

  • How much sex to add?
  • How realistic should the scenes be?
  • How do you deal with sexual realities such as wet spots and contraception?

These are only some of the topics covered in Chapter 22 of Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance. Kent addresses the subject of writing about sex head-on and discusses when and when not to deal with the realities (or inconveniences) of sex.

Kent acknowledges that many readers choose romance novels to escape into fantasy and, because of that, writers need to be aware of what details are relevant and will move the story forward.

Her writing is conversational and to-the-point. Kent has a healthy matter-of-fact attitude that will help any writer understand how to write the best sex scenes for his or her story. Scattered throughout the chapter are quotes from various authors telling how they write sex scenes. Authors quoted in Chapter 22 include Alyssa Brooks, Cheyenne McCray, Shiloh Walker, and Saskia Walker. The book is also sprinkled with little boxes that contain comments and tips from Kent.

I’ve only read one chapter of Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance and it was very insightful and helpful to my writing. Based on reviews of other chapters, the book sounds like a must have for any writer’s bookshelf. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance is due to be released September 5, 2006 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Links to reviews of other chapters:

Chapter 1
Chapter 3
Chapter 5
Chapter 9
Chapter 20
Chapter 23

Alison Kent is a best-selling sensual romance author. Her books include The Beach Alibi, Larger Than Life, and The Bane Affair.



I’ve actually pre-ordered two copies of Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance. The extra copy will be a give-away to someone who comments to this post. I want to know: what aspect of writing sex scenes do you find hardest to write, and why?

Deadline for entries is September 5 at midnight.

Update: Check out the profound writer who answers John Baker's 'Five Questions.'


Casey said...

Well I can answer this one pretty easily. I don't have much sexual experience. lol. Chalk me up to being old fashion but I believe sex is something special that happens when two people can connect in a very real way.

That being said, I write erotica. lol. So most of the things I write, I have NEVER tried. It's pure imagination and fantasy. What would I want to happen to me, what would I feel, how would I react.

This book sounds fun! lol

Anonymous said...

My writing pertains to mystery and I would have to say that writing the intimate sex scenes is just challenging, period! I see the sex component as something personal and difficult to put on paper. I like to share these moments with my husband, not the entire world! LOL!

I do see the book as being interesting and a worthwhile read! Congrats on getting a chapter!


fat girl said...

I write very emotional romance. I love the big huge emotional blowups. I also try to write my erotic romances so that if you pulled the explicit language out you would still have a great romance.

That is my biggest challenge. I have a hard time sometimes knowing just how explicit to make my language in order to keep the romance and not turn it into straight out porn.

Also, with erotic romance you want quite a bit of sex, but not just an endless string of sex scenes. Keeping that balance is hard. What I'd like to know: When do you know you need more or less sex?

Delinda Jasper

Anonymous said...

What aspect of writing sex scenes do I find hardest to write? Keeping the plot pace and not going slo-mo into too much description of almost painterly detail and losing the sense of humor and individualism of character to the skin. I had one test reader call my erotica smut for being explicit.

Jen said...

I don't read romance for the sex--not that everyone does, but I do hear a lot about people loving the "hot" stuff (hence the popularity of erotic romance), so for me, the challenge is write something that is hot enough to satisfy my editor, but not so graphic it sucks the romance from the story.

Anonymous said...

I don't write erotica, although I edit it. I don't write sex scenes at all in my work, though...I write tension, but not sex. My sex scenes are behind closed doors.

Melly said...

I don't write or read erotic romance (maybe you can recommend a good book to start?), but I write sex scenes in my sci-fi (no aliens so it's not too weird :).

The hardest thing for me is to keep it clean and not raunchy if you know what I mean. Well, I occasionally get porny instead of "nice and erotic", or maybe it's a misconception. I'm not sure always what the lines are (other than certain words).

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

I think the hardest part for me is interweaving the emotional aspect with the actions. In romance, emotion and sensuality have to be there to make it strong. And that's what I struggle with!

Unknown said...

Nice post. I've been anxiously waiting for this book's release. You were lucky to get a sneak preview.

NativeMoon said...

When I think of some of the good reads that I have had which have stood the test of time, they bear the distinction of conveying the raw emotion and innate physical attraction that drives passion. The biggest challenge for me is writic erotica for people who seem to equate erotic with hardcore pornography and who also want every action etailed to the minutest and extremely frank specification. I actually look at it as a challenge now, to write without giving so much away.

Many who demand or expect hardcore descriptions are wont say that there isnt enough romance. I dont by any stretch of the imagination intend to be a throwback to Jane Austen or even the Harlequin Romances of my youth - but I do believe that if we take Austen as an example, and the character of Mr. Darcy: by the end of that novel his legion of admirers are filling in the blanks of Darcy the man. Everything I have ever read that delves into this thorny subject talks about the likelihood of 'smouldering sensuality'; the manner in which he would look at his bride; the touch of his hands; what being loved by him feels like. Conversations about that man are always fairly erotic - and yet none of the ladies involved resorted to hardcore pornographic details. That is saying something considering the novel was written in the Regencey era. Of course we have moved on from those times remarkably - but women all over the world were turned on just by Colin Firth coming out of a lake fully dressed with his shirt dripping wet to his chest in the 1995 YV adaption of the novel. Originally the scene was going to be done with him naked, but I think the filmed scene actually does prove that less can be so much more.




Jen said...

I have a tendency towards humor and silliness, so I sometimes have difficulty keeping sex scenes from getting too silly or cheesy. I also find the orgasms a bit difficult to write, wanting to avoid being cliche, corny, fake, and most of all, boring.

Shannon McKelden said...

Though I wouldn't quantify what I write as erotica, I do write sex scenes, and don't really like to, so I could use all the help I can get. This book sounds like a terrific tool, and I know that Alison is an awesome teacher, so if I don't win it, I'll have to go pick it up!


Jean said...

Oh, wow. What a question. I have a difficult time writing romantic sex scenes. I can easily write a "wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am" scene or one where the character is having sex for the sake of sex, but romantic sex between two loving people is tough for me. In many cases, sex is a weapon in my books.

As for the inconveniences of sex, am I the only person who wonders why nobody ever finds characters in the situation where it's "that time of the month" and sex with that hot guy would be so inconvenient (not to mention messy) (and would they or wouldn't they go through with it even if it was?)?

Congrats on your chapter -- I'll look forward to getting the book whether I win or not.

Sayre said...

When I write a "sex scene", it reads a little like a 1930's movie. You get up to the passionate kissing, a remark (how long do you think he'll be happy playing in the closet?) and a virtual fade to black, where we come back after the fact with whatever the next action is.

It's tough to write sex when your story is about something else. I don't want to fall victim to the Top Gun syndrome. Wonderful movie, but the romantic side story absolutely ruined it. Just too cheesy.

Crystal* said...

Sometimes I have issues with "parts" names. You know. *ahem*
Then I worry that they're having sex in silence.
Where do I insert the moans and groans?
Are they wearing underwear? How does that shed?
Level of heat?
Yeah...it's a tough job. But someone has to do it.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Ever tried to write a sex scene with no practical sexual knowledge at all? That's really hard.

ellie said...

I concentrate on the individuals character and leave the sex scenes in great depth to others.

joelle said...

I do not dwell at great length on sex scenes but rather build up to it and then leave it to the reader's imagination. I try to expose the character's personalities.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Writing sex scenes is just like writing anything else. In fact, writing everything else is just like writing a sex scene.

Basic three-act structure is as old as the hills. Setup, confrontation, denouement. But I like to think of them as seduction, foreplay, and climax.

As writers we're constantly seducing our readers, building their excitement, then giving them the big payoff at the end.

And every scene you write should have those elements.

The most difficult thing about writing sex scenes is that you're actually dealing with sex -- a touchy subject that can easily cross the line from titillating to offensive. Finding the right balance is tough.

Lara said...

This is a little odd... but what I struggle with in my sex scenes is... new positions. :) My characters always seem to end up in the missionary position, and every time I try and shake things up, the big change is girl on top. And I'm afraid it's getting boring.

Maybe I need to pick up the Kama Sutra. *grin*

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

LMBO! You guys are so FUNNY! While I can't write romances, I have written some pretty fair sex scenes (one of them was written while waiting for the baptismal font to fill up--we used to clean a church etc etc)! The agent I sent it to said: "You write very well, Sir!"

ROTFL! I am a GIRL! (Ask Nienke!)