One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.
by Margie Church
That’s the difference I see between sex scenes and erotic romance.
I’ve often started my books out with scorching hot sex between people who just met, but to be successful at romance writing you must create an emotional connection between the lovers. If you don’t, readers—who will have picked up your erotic romance novel in search of both those qualities, but find to their disappointment that it contains only the first—will hate the character who “gives in” to someone who has no apparent love for them, and they’ll hate the character who keeps coming back to take it. It’ll be impossible for readers to respect either character or understand why they care so little about each other.
In the opening chapter of The 18th Floor, Alexa and Sebastian have a blazing hot, chance sexual encounter. She’s been lusting after him for months. Little did she know he had his eyes on her, too.
The tricky part of this scenario was making sure Alexa didn’t appear to continue the relationship solely because she had the hots for Sebastian and he was the most adventurous lover she’d ever had—let alone appear seduced into a liason that would end as soon as Sebastian got tired of her. I had to make it clear after that first scene that Sebastian had a heart, and that he respected Alexa’s intelligence and autonomy.
When Sebastian eventually reveals he’s a Dominant, Alexa has to decide whether she wants to discover what that means or turn around and say goodbye. Sebastian makes it clear that he really wants to keep dating her, but that this part of him isn’t something he can just turn off. As their relationship continues, their honesty and visible care for each other makes it easy for readers to like them together—both in and out of bed.
Here’s an except that challenged me to build their emotional connection. It takes place the evening after their erotic meeting at work. Sebastian has called Alexa to confirm she’s going on a date with him that weekend. One comment leads to another and phone sex ensues.
From The 18th Floor by Margie Church:
He cleared his throat, and drew a long breath. “Strength. I have a sexy body with lots of great muscle tone. When I hold you, you’ll feel my power. You can see my stomach muscles ripple when I’m on top of you, between your legs.”
The comment made Alexa’s pussy throb even more. “Put some lube on your hand. I want you to stroke your beautiful cock.”
While she waited, Alexa went to the armoire to retrieve her favorite dildo. There’s no reason he should have all the fun. She slid the seven-inch toy from its silk case and licked the tip, anticipating the full feeling of it inside her.
His soft moan got her attention. “You’re hard now?”
“Tell me how it feels to watch yourself stroke your dick. Lift it up, show me your balls.”
“Tension…heat building in my balls…my stomach and thigh muscles are tight, like I’m getting ready to jump. I want some pussy.” He hissed, “I want yours.”
Goose bumps pebbled her flesh. Alexa opened a bottle of lube and spread some over the dildo. The light pink toy glistened in her palm. “I’m holding my favorite dildo. It’s all ready to slide in.”
“Are you standing in front of a mirror, too?”
“Yes. I’m leaning forward, spreading my legs. The tip feels cool. I’m so hot. So wet. I probably don’t even need any lube.”
“I wish I was there. My dick is pounding in my hand while I stroke it.”
“Fast or slow?”
“Slow and easy right now. Work that dildo into your pussy slow and easy, too.”
A sigh left her lips.
“What was that?”
“My dildo…all the way in. Feels so good but I wish it was your cock.” She nibbled her lip while she worked the toy inside her. The eyes staring back at her in the mirror were dark pools. Red stained her cheeks. She’d never played this game before and couldn’t believe how much it aroused her.
Sebi continued their erotic phone conversation. “I can feel my cock sliding deep into your pink slit until my balls rest snugly against your asshole. Baby, do you like your ass fucked? Have you ever?”
Her eyes closed as she envisioned his hard body beneath her, his dick stretching her sphincter. “Yes, I like it. Maybe you can fuck my ass while I use a dildo in my pussy. That would rock.”
“Bring your favorites on Saturday. I’ll make your fantasy come true.” Another low moan left his throat. “Spank your clit.”
Shock waves of pleasure made her walls tense around the toy and more difficult to stroke swiftly. “Makes me so wet. Play with your balls. I want to hear you come. I’m imagining you’re standing behind me. Your hips are slapping against mine as you pump into my wet slit. It hurts, and it feels so good. I’m gripping you so tight with my pussy. You can hardly move. I’m getting close.”
“I’m covered in your juices. You feel fucking amazing. You’re so hot inside. Your little pulses start around my dick. You’re getting ready for a big orgasm. I want you on your back so I can come all over your breasts.”
The reader can clearly see these characters like each other and enjoy pleasuring each other. It’s mutual. If they had no emotional connection, they wouldn’t talk this way. In fact there’s likely to be very little dialog. This is erotic romance.
Margie Church writes erotic romance novels with a strong suspense element, in keeping with her motto: Romance with SASS (Suspense, Angst, Seductive Sizzle). Never expect the same thing twice in one of her books. She tackles subjects and conflicts that aren’t typical in romances. Life is complicated. People are, too. Marrying those concepts makes her work fascinating to read. Margie was 2011 GLBT Author of the Year, and her book, Hard as Teak, was named 2011 GLBT Book of the Year at Loves Romances Café. She is well-known for her BDSM erotic romances as well.
Margie lives in Minnesota, is married, and has two children. Some of her passions include music, poetry, walking on moonlit nights, fishing, and making people laugh.
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