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 (or Tuesday, if Monday is a holiday) 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 Clarice Clique
As a writer, I enjoy imagining vivid and hot sex scenes. I draw sketches, look at photos online, gossip with my friends, read my old diaries, and have a drawer of dolls that have been put in much more interesting positions than your average Barbie.
Overall, though, when writing I derive the most excitement from creating believable characters. Whichever fantastical world they inhabit, whatever strange activity they are engaged in, and whomsoever they are entwined with, I always want my characters to feel real.
It is when the reader is connected to the characters, and cares about their fate, that porn becomes erotic romance.
Many of my longer pieces, including my two published novels, have contemporary settings which make it simpler from a creative perspective to develop very recognisable characters. Because so many people are familiar with working in an office and having secret crushes on a special colleague, or the budding sexual tension of a first date in a fancy restaurant, the reader can immediately relate and empathise, twisting their own hopes and dreams around the fictional scene. And through a small amount of dialogue, the meeting of eyes followed by shy turns away, the accidental brush of a hand against a muscled arm…it is possible for a writer to easily covey the attraction between two people. On top of this I often borrow and sneak in little quirks and incidents from my own life, which makes the characters more three-dimensional and their relationships feel more realistic.
For example, my novel Hot Summer Nights contains lots of very graphic sex and BDSM. When dealing with bondage and domination, I think it is incredibly important that the characters have some kind of truth within them. Even when my leading lady, Vanessa, is involved in an orgy with complete strangers whose names she’s never going to know, all the emotions she experiences are based in the love and trust she has for her best friend, Penelope. Penelope acts as her Mistress, guiding and pushing Vanessa to explore her sexuality to the fullest.
Hot Summer Nights contains many couplings, but at its centre it is about friendship and support between women. I hope that alongside the obvious thrill of erotica, my readers are invested in Vanessa’s journey and, with that investment, get a different sort of satisfaction from how her story concludes.