May 132010

When last we left with my lesson, we talked about sex and scene structure. To review, sex is an ACTION and should be written like an action scene.

Stimulus > Reaction > Perception > Emotion > Response

This is the BEST way to keep your readers from tossing the book across the room. By writing this way we’re creating a mental movie that the reader sees in their head. If you’ll remember, the structure of a scene looks very choppy on the page and we’re left with a lot more white space than what’s typically seen in many novels.

Again, so what? The reader’s eyes do not notice this if you’ve done your job well by crafting deep scenes that take us into the action by using all our senses. Remember, erotica is not just about sex, it’s about involving all of the human being into the act of sex.

That means in our scenes we’ll show feelings, emotions, scents, tastes, sights, touch and more, over and over again until we’ve crafted the scene so well that we literally forget where we (or our hands) are.

What this looks like in action: (Piece from Dark Desires – my Total E-bound Ménage story out sometime this year)

Remember, we’re using the formula above to write the scene:

Romyn’s fingers slid down her arm until his thumb reached the pulse in her wrist. (Romyn’s ACTION)
Alex’s hand somehow found its way onto her stocking clad thigh. (Alex’s Action, also done TO Raven)
She squirmed and pressed her legs together. (Reaction) You could always say no.(Perception)
She scoffed at the idea. Raven never turned down a good fuck, especially if the two men were as powerful and capable as Romyn and Alex. A part of her realized she needed to feed off the lust, let it build inside her and contain it until she could get another fix. If she was truly human, which she was sure she was since only humans worked suck ass jobs and bothered with material things, then she would emulate her favourite demon, the succubus. (Emotion- with description to fill white space AND add to the story. Remember, we’re still in Raven’s POV and her head for a reason)
Alex looked questioningly at her. “Something the matter, Raven?” (Alex’s reaction)
His voice pulled her from her thoughts. She took another sip of her scotch and shook her head. “Nothing I can’t fix.”(Reaction, Perception, action, dialogue)
Yet she sat between these two men like she was the one up on the cross being ogled for sins she had yet to commit.
Romyn’s fingers continued circling her skin in a manner that sent shivers racing through her.
She shot him a glare.
He didn’t move from his pose, leaving his profile to her while that hand worked over her flesh in such a simple gesture that wouldn’t arouse a normal woman.
Raven was far from normal, she remembered.
She was so not normal that she was sitting in a gothic dance club with her boss and his partner, letting them both paw her like a pet.
She had to admit, this wasn’t a bad position. Perhaps she could have some fun at their expense.
Setting her glass down on the table, she took Alex’s hand and slid it higher up her thigh.

In the above example, I purposely extended the excerpt to show that scene is written in entirely Raven’s POV but we’re able to see Romyn and Alex based on their responses to her. Human beings often act before they think, just ask any marital artist. Unless the situation calls for tight thinking, like in a tense negotiation (which we’re not yet writing) then we’re going off our gut.

The tempting thing is to fill that white space so the pages don’t look so blank. If you must fill that white space (and I don’t see why not) then use DESCRIPTION.

Tell us, or take us there. Describe your sex scenes using all the purple prose you can throw in. This is the time for those words. Yeah, some editors don’t like euphemisms. Oh well. The language you use will match your style of writing and the language will flow more clearly.

Again I mention that this technique is not widely used by many of today’s popular writers. That’s fine; they’re more than established in many cases. This isn’t a pass for them, but an explanation. We’re not trying to write like them entirely, but we are trying to make a living from our writing. When readers see our books as enjoyable mental movies that hold depth, they’ll return to buy the next book. And the next one. And the next three after that.

The technique takes time to learn and really narrow down. So in future editions in my column we’ll break down the parts of this formula.

Next week, in our void we’ll have a special guest blogger. Lisa Wienberger, the cute half of Sensual SEO has offered us a guest post on; you guessed it, SEO tactics for writers. Until then, keep it sexy!

Sascha Illyvich


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