Nov 152014
 
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By Nobilis

I recently asked some of my writer friends about the plot of a story I’m working on—was it a romance plot? One of the responders said that the plot didn’t matter as much as the tone; that a romance focused more on the feelings of the characters, and erotica focused more on the events and sensations. If the play-by-play of sexuality overshadowed the characters’ feelings and motivations, she said, then the story was erotica rather than romance.*

Now I should say here that I greatly respect this author, and in fact I am an enthusiastic fan of her work. I’m not saying she’s wrong. There’s a certain amount of truth there. Romance does require a focus on the characters’ romantic feelings and motivations, and erotica does require a focus on sensation.

At the same time, I think her answer implies that a work cannot be both romance and erotica at the same time, and I disagree with that. For one thing, any work longer than a short story will shift focus as it moves along. Action, conversation, reflection, and anticipation all bring out a shift in focus. Any story that focused on one of those elements to the exclusion of all others would have serious problems.

For any given character, there are at least two channels in which to consider their story. Stories will often have an “interior conflict” and an “exterior conflict.” The interior conflict deals with the emotional and intellectual life of the character, which can be romantic, or fearful, or curious, or fill-in-the-blank—and most likely some combination of these. The exterior conflict is about the problems they solve, the obstacles they overcome, the experiences they seek out in the world. As it is written, romance tends to live more in the inner life; the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Likewise, erotica lives more in the outer life, in the experiences of the characters. That’s not to say that there aren’t elements that cross over between interior and exterior. But what I’m getting at here is that there’s plenty of room in a romance story for eroticism, and plenty of room in an erotic story for romance.

You can look at science fiction the same way. When the speculative world exists mostly in the exterior, then the interior conflict can be a romance story without interfering much. In contrast, erotic speculative fiction needs to mesh the sensuality with the speculation. The worldbuilding needs to directly address sexuality, or else the two elements are going to fight for attention, and the reader might start to wonder why there’s so much sex in the science fiction story, or why the erotic story is set in a science fiction setting. I come up against this issue any time I write an erotic science fiction story. How I deal with it, well—maybe I’ll write about that in another blogpost.

Erotic Romance is a thing, and it’s a thing that makes sense. There’s no line between them, no border that can be crossed.

And to my friend, if you’re reading this, thank you for giving me a blog topic this month. You gave me a lot to think about.

 

*Or something like that. I may be misquoting her, which would be a shame but wouldn’t alter my point here.

***

Learn more about Nobilis and his work at his…

Website: www.nobiliserotica.com
Podcast: nobilis.libsyn.com
Twitter: @nobilis

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Jun 302014
 
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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?” To answer that question, twelve 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 MJ Flournoy

Back in the day, certain genres were geared exclusively to the male reader. The language was coarse, graphic and to the point—no flowery language, no building of sexual tension. That old adage, slam bam, thank you ma’am, pretty much summed it up.

Today, readers expect more, demand more and, of course, receive more. While early examples of male-oriented porn insisted on “just the facts, ma’am”, modern readers expect the genre to deliver the same erotic punch, but with heightened sexual tension. The genre has moved from behind the counter and under young men’s mattresses into the cultural mainstream as writers have increasingly described sex with excitement, passion and titillation—all while pulling the reader right into the action.

I much prefer to write love scenes than sex scenes. Does that mean the characters must be in love to engage in sexual activity? Not at all. It means the writing must engage the reader by considering all the senses, rather than limiting the scene to physical actions. Our readers have become connoisseurs of fine erotic literature. They want to feel the sexual tension, to enjoy the sensual tease of anticipation, to explore with the characters the pleasure of the sexual experience.

In my writing I seek to deliver the passion, tension and pleasure of an erotic encounter that will pull you into the emotional, sensual, tactile arousal of the characters—you should enjoy the experience along with them. The emotions and feelings of the fictional people in whom you’ve invested your time deliver as much or more erotic stimulation than graphic language in itself. The reader, when pulled into the scene with deep characterization, feels, experiences, and enjoys the masterful touch of a skilled lover.

Words are my tools and my palette to make these scenes come alive for readers. Describing sexual acts—especially the one known by most people as the sex act—in coarse graphic detail is easy, using words to evoke an erotic image in the reader’s mind isn’t. Graphic language detracts from the mood of the scene. Throwing the f-bomb around doesn’t measure up as erotic to me. I prefer to use more descriptive language that appeals to the senses and stirs up a vicarious emotional and physical experience. I want my readers to feel the romance inherent to the sex, not just witness it from a detached remove. After all, the characters aren’t just “going through the motions”—and neither should the reader.

A Matter of Trust

In this scene from my novel A Matter of Trust, we find Jolie suffering from shock after experiencing a vision foretelling her own death. She touches Mac seeking reassurance from his physical form. It is in reaching out and connecting with him that she pushes the darkness away and restores the equilibrium to her world. Their joining is an affirmation of life and living.

Excerpt: A Matter of Trust

“It’s over, the danger’s gone.” Mac continued to stroke her back holding her, cradling her against his chest.

“The house exploded, we were…”

Mac’s arms tightened around her. “It didn’t happen, won’t happen.”

Jolie shivered, shock stealing into her system. In her mind she saw again the carnage from the explosion.

“There, those windows.” Her gaze fixed on the wall of glass that framed a breathtaking view of the lake.

“Hush, we’re safe.” Mac’s lips brushed her cheek offering comfort. “Your warning prevented what could have happened.”

Clinging to Mac, Jolie focused on him, his strength, his energy, his unique maleness that caused her body to hum with feminine longings. She luxuriated in the explicit sexiness that was Mac. With him filling all her senses, there was no room for terror, for fear. Only Mac.

Need built within her. Her body throbbed with awareness at his touch. His hands traced over her. Deep cravings awakened. She snuggled closer to him. The spicy scent of his cologne and unique male essence filled her senses causing the chill slowly to subside. He lowered his lips to hers and the flames that licked at her had nothing to do with fire and everything to do with passion.

“You’re safe.”

He lifted his head, lips slowly gliding across her cheek to find the tender flesh of her neck just below her ear. His teeth found the soft flesh of her ear lobe and a soft moan escaped her throat. She tilted her head, granting him easier access. Her arms circled his neck, pulling him closer.

“God yes. Make me feel alive.”

Mac’s answer was a low growl deep in his throat.

His hands landed on her butt, and pressed her against the hard ridge of his erection. Jolie rubbed herself against him, filled with the power of her own femininity. He throbbed growing harder with each movement.

His hands slid up her back, found the tail of her shirt and slipped beneath to caress away the coldness that had invaded her body. Liquid fire replaced her chills burned a path from her shoulder blades to her ribs. Slowly, his fingers crept up until they found the mounds of her breasts.

“You’re sure?”

“I need you, now.”

This moment had been inevitable since the first time he’d touched her, running his hands over her body searching for the non-existent wire, Jolie thought, while he stripped the shorts from her body leaving her vulnerable. His lips followed the path of his hands down her body. She could no longer resist this attraction to him that left her feeling off-balance and needy and now that need had grown much too strong to deny any longer.

He held her, pressing her back against the cool plaster of the wall as one leg insinuated itself between her thighs. His fingers teased her nipples as his lips plundered her mouth. Jolie found herself riding his thigh, her hips rocking against him as tension built within her. With unerring precision, she reached lower; her hands found the fastening of his jeans, unbuttoned then unzipped them. Her fingers sought the shaft that pressed insistently against her. He shifted his body slightly to grant her better access. Her fingers closed around his engorged flesh and he groaned deep in his throat, pressing deeper into her hand. Need filled her. She wanted him, wanted to feel him inside her, feel the power of his body while he fed the hunger that threatened to consume her.

From one pocket Mac produced a small foil pack. He pressed it into her hand. A challenge issued, blatant need, like electricity, spiraled from his fingertips to hers when he deposited the small trophy within her grasp. Her hand trembling she accepted his offering, unwrapped it and quickly sheathed his length with it.

“Put your legs around my waist.” He lifted her.

Jolie followed his instruct and was rewarded with the pressure of his fullness against the heated mound at the juncture of her thighs. He pulled her shirt up and over her head and pressed her back against the smooth cool surface of the wall. His hot, moist lips claimed her nipples, one after the other through the thin material of her bra. Then even that meager barrier was gone.

One hand moved down to tease her intimately and Jolie arched her back, tightening her legs around him, urging him closer. He found the throbbing center of her desire and pressed home with one swift, sure stroke. He filled her completely, stretching her, electrifying nerves that had never felt so alive. He braced her against the wall, his mouth plundering hers, even as he plunged to the depths of her. Tension built within her, she felt herself spiraling out of control, sailing away into the stratosphere, past the rings of Saturn and on into the void of space beyond. In her mind’s eye she shot across the midnight sky like a rocket before she shattered into a million pieces, her pleasure raining across the heavens spewing behind her like the tail of a comet.

Mac followed her into the stratosphere, urging her on, demanding more, seeking more, giving more. She felt the intensity of his climax, the coiled strength of his whipcord muscles beneath her hands, the straining of his body when he reached ultimate release. The pleasure built to the point where it was too much to bear . Quickly she followed him toward a powerful climax that left her trembling and depleted. She whispered his name and collapsed against his chest.

In the darkness Mac lowered her to the floor and Jolie found her legs would not support her.  He followed her down, his body cradling hers when they lay on the smooth hardwood.

 

 

MJ Flournoy lives in Georgia, USA. MJ writes romantic suspense with paranormal elements. MJ’s motto is “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” When not writing, MJ enjoys traveling, reading and doing any type of research. Connect with her via her website, Facebook page and tweets.

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Jun 232014
 
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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?” To answer that question, twelve 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 Sabrina Luna

Hi!  I’m Sabrina Luna and I’m an author of paranormal and erotic romance stories.  Yes, I personally see a big difference between a written sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter. Over the years, I’ve written both.

When I started writing in the late 1990s, I was a member of an online group which focused on ‘erotica’. Basically, erotica consists of a scene or short story which focuses only on the sexual relationship between the characters. There is very little building of a romantic relationship and the primary goal of the story is to stimulate the reader’s libido.

Then, around the year 2000, erotic romance hit the book market. Romance stories which allowed the readers to enjoy what was happening to the characters in the bedroom became popular and, since then, there’s been no turning back. Nowadays, readers can find any level of sexual heat in erotic romance stories. However, in my honest opinion, well-written erotic romance stories show a growth in the characters’ relationships as well exploring their sexual chemistry together.

The last piece of short erotica I wrote had a sexually adventurous couple who were more ‘buddies’ than romantic partners. It was a fun story to write—but, as the author, I found myself hoping they’d get together in the near future.

What can I say? I guess I’m an erotic romantic at heart. The last few erotic romances I’ve written have focused on building the relationship between the characters and using their sexual encounters to spark and cultivate their feelings for one another throughout the story. And, at the end of the story, there is a commitment in their relationship. The couple can either live happily ever after—or my personal favorite kind of ending, happy for now.

So, to me, there is a big difference between a written sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter. And, although I enjoy writing and reading both kinds of stories, I prefer an erotic romance with both a good relationship *and* sexual chemistry.

***

Sabrina Luna is an author of paranormal & erotic romances and, recently, became an indie ebook author, too. She enjoys haunting bookstores and coffee shops, listening to classic rock, and attending movies and munchies with her fellow geek-peeps.

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Jun 202014
 
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By Colin

A number of years ago, when I was just starting to seriously write fiction, I showed a new story to my girlfriend of the time.  She read it as carefully as she read all my work, and afterwards said, “I didn’t like the main character.”

At the time, her response surprised me—and not because I disagreed with her. The protagonist was, basically, kind of a whiny, selfish perpetual adolescent, using his desire for a lover to mask all those tiresome elements of his personality. That was actually the point of the story, and at that phase in my development as a writer I thought it justified making my leading man into a twerp.

The reason I was surprised by my girlfriend’s critique was that it was basically an emotional response to one character. Normally she focused on internal logic or the strength/weakness of my writing itself—in other words, things that could be critiqued rationally,  described objectively and fixed. How could I address a reader’s subjective, gut-level response?

Years later, the answer has come through to me: I dunno, but you’d damn well better try.

If you read through reader reviews of erotica—not those by professional critics, but the kind of emotionally engaged feedback that readers post on Amazon and Goodreads when they’ve just finished the story and absolutely must let the world know what they love or hate about it—you’ll see the question of likability comes up quite a bit, especially when the reader’s response is negative. And I don’t just mean they’ve panned the characters and judged the rest of the story on its various merits, but that the whole story has fallen flat for them because they didn’t like the characters. It’s phrased in different ways: I couldn’t relate to Rosalyn; I couldn’t stand Derek; I didn’t really have any strong feelings about Mitzi; I didn’t connect with the cougar shifter; I didn’t exactly hate Razglord, but I just didn’t like him

It’s true that—at first glance, certainly—a great many famous characters in fiction aren’t “likable” as such. Sherlock Holmes, for instance, isn’t terribly likable; he’s fascinating, certainly—who among us wouldn’t love to sit down and have a real conversation with a mind like that? But he doesn’t inspire much in the way of warm fuzzies.

On the other hand, Dr. Watson is quite thoroughly likeable. He’s warm, loyal, relatable, and generally seems like a great guy to go out and have a drink with. He’s an excellent counterpoint to Holmes’ slightly chilly charisma; it may be that the balance of, and tension between, their personalities is the reason so many people love the Holmes stories.

Love—as I’ve said in at least one other column—is a key word here. People have an emotional response to stories and characters in stories, just as they do to real people. Give them a character that evokes a strong positive response, and they’ll likely love that person, whether it’s Dr. Watson or Sam Gamgee or Harry Potter or whoever. They’ll read and re-read the books, recommend them to friends, start blogs about them and write their own fan fiction about the characters. This seems particularly important in erotica and romance, where so much of the stories’ subject matter is about pleasure.

The story I gave to my old girlfriend all those years ago had nothing in the way of a likable character. Now sure, not all stories have to evoke warm fuzzies in their readers. Some very worthwhile stories are basically dark, and some important characters are basically bastards. But my character didn’t have much in the way of redeeming characteristics—be they heroic, interestingly villainous or relatably human. He wasn’t even rotten to the core, he was basically just a sophomoric jerk. If you met him in real life, you wouldn’t even hate him, you’d just think, “Poor screwed-up kid,” and do your best to avoid him in social situations.

Compare that kind of character to the narrator of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, who’s very similar in a way: immature, socially awkward, not terribly pleasant to be around. The difference is that Dostoyevsky’s guy has a certain self-awareness; he knows he’s a twerp, and part of the point of the story is that we come to feel something for him, and understand that we ourselves might not be utter paragons. Or look at Wuthering Heights—sure, it’s impossible to imagine that book without Heathcliff, but without Catherine it’s even worse: just a book about a sadistic schmuck out on a farm somewhere.

Sympathetic characters speak to readers even when they’re not terribly likeable people. When a natural likability comes through in a character, readers respond even more powerfully; it can provide an all-important balance between characters, and make the difference between a flavorless, tiresome story and one readers will take to their hearts and cherish forever.

 

Colin is a fetish writer and the single most prolific professional author of tickling erotica working today, with dozens of books to his credit. www.gigglegasm.com and www.ticklingforum.com.

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Jun 092014
 
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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?” To answer that question, twelve 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 Mary Marvella

I remember several years ago I met an older man who thought he was writing romance or erotic romance. He said he needed an editor, so I agreed to edit his books. Contrary to his idea of them, his stories were all about sex with no romance involved. He had all the sex acts of porn and none of the finesse of erotica or erotic romance. Not once did his writing make me want to be part of his sex scenes. I tried to help him and finally found someone who could tell him where he might get his books published, if anywhere—and even they suggested his books were similar to the ones sold for men in truck stops. Today, if the dear man still lived, his stories might be self-published, or he’d need to let me just rewrite his books for a fee.

A sex scene is about bodies commingling in various ways—part A goes into slot B; there’s some licking, some sucking and a lot of coming—but isn’t required to include meetings of minds or points of view, let alone emotions. As such, the idea of a standalone sex scene bores me to tears; so far I haven’t let a sexual encounter continue in any of my books without also describing the emotional connection or need that motivates it.

In my book about a 40-year-old who lost her virginity in a one-night stand, I thought I had done it—I thought I’d written a sex scene between two strangers who met, briefly rocked each other’s worlds, and then parted ways, never to see each other again. But I thought wrong. The “stranger” character was hurting, but I didn’t know it at the time. I had intended for him simply to make the heroine feel beautiful and have a sexual experience to remember, as a new chapter of her formerly-repressed life. The man I had chosen to give this woman a baby—yes, I did, and she was grateful, too—turned out to be a man in pain and a responsible man. The next time they had sex, there was love neither could admit.

When I write a sex or love scene, I make sure my characters want each other and need that connection to the point of emotional pain. They move from old-fashioned kissing and petting to doing what comes naturally. My readers must also want the characters to finally consummate their passion with vividly described, rather than just implied, sex—I’m no more inclined to write a “sweet” romance any more than I am to write straight-up porn. I don’t have my heroes “take” the heroines and “make them theirs”, especially if the men don’t love the women. I never let my characters actually consummate the sex scene the first time they think they will, and they tend to think of that sex as lovemaking by the time they finally “go all the way”. My guys worship the heroines’ bodies. They don’t use the old trite terms. Their encounters are not just about being horny and gettin’ some ass. They are drawn to their sex partners for more than tits and long legs to wrap around the men’s hips and scream with…

Protective Instincts was the first book I wrote and edited and rewrote to give it stronger romantic suspense. I also added as much emotion as I could each time I worked on any scene where the two main characters were together.

They are considerate of each other. Since they have fears and self-doubts, they are vulnerable. Brit, the heroine, has been attacked twice by a man who planned to rape and kill her. Several women who had worked with rape victims warned me Brit would have issues and not likely have sex with Sam early in the book. That led me to remove two early sex scenes.

Sam wants Brit, but he doesn’t want to frighten her. Her fear that she can’t let a man dominate her from the “man on top” position leads to a sex scene where she must take control and he must allow her to do that:

Excerpt:

With a moan, he moved both hands to her bottom, pressing her against him. She wanted to feel his touch all over her body. She wanted all he could offer – now!

She trembled in his arms.

“Brit,” he whispered. “Scared?”

She brushed her cheek against his chest, kissed his throat. “No,” she said against his skin, “not as long as you hold me.” She unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, branded his chest with kisses, then his neck, then his chin.

“Make love to me, Sam.”

“Not so fast, Teach.” Sam touched his lips to her forehead. “Take it easy, love.”

“But I need you. I need for you to make love to me.”

“We have all night.”

Brit shivered again. “But what if I can’t? If I wait too long I might lose my nerve. What if I can’t, what if I panic?” What if I disappoint him?

“We’ll take things slow and easy. If you need to stop, we’ll stop,” Sam’s voice rasped. “So, sweetheart, take charge. Make love to me. Take me, take me now!” He flung his arms wide and grinned. “I’m all yours.”

Brit chuckled against his chest. “You got it, bud, I’ll take you to heights you’ve never been before.”

She kissed his throat again, unbuttoned another button.

Tunneling his hands through her silky hair, he tilted her face up. Lowering his head, he kissed her slowly, gently, thoroughly.

Brit needed this man. Sam was so different from Tommy. Was she disloyal to want this man so much? Surely not! She needed to feel alive and clean. She needed to enjoy a normal sexual experience with someone who cared. She needed to know she could stop whenever she wanted to.

Kissing Sam made her feel cherished. He made her feel he needed her as much as she needed him. He was handsome, manly, sexy as all get out, gentle, in control, and caring. If Sam can’t help me through this, no man can. I can do this. I can. I must.

Sliding her hands inside Sam’s shirt, Brit absorbed the rough texture of springy chest hair between her fingers, against her palms. She gasped into his mouth when he picked her up and moved to a couch. Without breaking the kiss, Sam seated them, with her in his lap.

Kissing Sam, nipping at his lips, Brit tried to stoke his passion. She wanted him to make love to her but he held back. Why was he waiting? If he would just make love to her, she would know she wasn’t scarred for life.

Changing positions, she became more aggressive. She straddled his legs and faced him. “Too many clothes,” she yanked his shirt from his jeans. Gliding her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, she exposed his sculpted torso.

Gripping the bottom of her blouse, she yanked it over her head. Heat and moisture spread through her loins. Sam’s emerald eyes glittered. She knew she was tempting him. His heat burned through their clothes.

Emboldened, she slowly unclasped the front catch of her lacy bra, freeing her breasts to press against him.

“Come to the bed, lie with me. We need to slow down.”

“Why? I need you now.” Snaking her arms around his neck she pressed her breasts against him.

“Hang on.” He rose with her. “Lock your legs around me.”

She knew making his way to the bedroom wasn’t easy while she kissed his face and rubbed against him.

When Sam reached the large bed, Brit leaned over to grab the satiny coverlet and toss it back. He toppled them onto the bed.

He lay on his side facing her. He kept his touch gentle. Her pebbled nipples begged for more than his touch. Dipping his head, he stroked his tongue over a nipple, then its mate.

She clutched Sam’s shoulders. Tension built to an unbearable peak. When Sam’s hand moved between her thighs, touching her through her jeans, she felt heat spiral inside. Her world flashed, went dark. She floated and she wanted him with her. He pushed her over the edge.

Sam hadn’t taken his pleasure. If she could just rest for a few minutes, she would show him real earth-shaking pleasure.

***

Mary Marvella has been a storyteller for as long as she can remember. She made up stories for the other children and created the details for their “let’s pretend” games. Sometimes the details were so real they scared the other children away; sometimes she even scared herself. The arrival of the book mobile was as exciting as hearing the music of the ice cream truck. It was more exciting, since she could check out books but seldom had the money for the ice cream.

Mary was born in Augusta, Georgia to two eighteen-year-olds. Her daddy, a young Mississippi man, was stationed at Camp Gordon and fell in love with a young girl selling flowers. The story of this particular romance is told further in Mary’s blogs.

When Mary’s daughter was small, story time often meant Mama made up stories. Now retired from teaching the classic works of the masters, Mary writes her own stories and reads modern novels. Sometimes she writes books with steamy sex and danger.

Georgia raised, she writes stories with a Southern flair.

Get to know Mary and her work at the blogs linked above, and at her Amazon author page, website, and Facebook page.

 

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May 272014
 
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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.

 

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May 192014
 
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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 Blake C. Aarens

My first thought was that there isn’t any difference between a sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter.  Both describe the selfsame event with fake notions of good and bad, right and wrong, coming down to nothing but the use of language to try and tabulate and limit by judgment some forms of sexual expression. That’s my default setting these days, to try and emphasize—as often as possible in as many arenas as possible—that we humans and the animal things we do are more alike than unalike.

But that’s not an honest answer to an honest question, ‘cuz just as I say out loud, as I read the question off my phone and mutter “there is no difference”, the split screen in my head plays two scenes:

On the right-hand screen, a couple, A and B, are at each other in the dimly lit corner of a club. A has at least one body part inside at least one opening in B’s body. Tab A in slot B. Penetration and friction. That is the essence of a sex scene. But on the left-hand screen in my head, and playing at the very same time, are the same two people, in the same corner, in the same club, with the very same lighting, tab A in slot B, even. But here is where the romance comes in: in the way they strain in the darkness to see the expression on the other’s face as they move together, in the way the owner of slot B holds their breath to hear the noises coming from the owner of tab A, in the way their focus on each other makes the bouncer’s mouth water and he leaves them alone and lets them love each other up.

If you look the two words up in the dictionary—as I did—you’ll discover that both have entries as a noun and as a verb. They can both be either an action, or a person, place, or thing. But for the purposes of this roundtable discussion, I want to concentrate on several very specific dictionary entries:

romance1—n.  4. a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.
—v.i.  10. to think or talk romantically.
—v.t.  11.  Informal.  a.  to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness.

sex n.  3. the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another, or its manifestation in life and conduct.
4. coitus.
—v.t.  8.  sex up, Informal a.  to arouse sexually

For me, it’s all about focus.  And not just the focus of the writer. If my characters are primarily about body parts and positions—and there ain’t nothing wrong with that—it’s more of a sex scene in the way I craft it and the details that it makes sense to share. But if I’m writing a romantic sexual encounter—George Carlin would hate the wordiness of that phrase—the focus is about cause and effect. This is what I’m doing to you, with you, and this is how it is making me feel, and breathe, and arch my back. The difference seems subtle, but is in fact, huge.  It is the canyon that exists between intimate physical contact, and intimacy itself.

They say you don’t fall in love with another person, but you fall in love with the person you become when you’re in the presence of your love. You fall in love with how they make you feel about yourself. Within yourself.

I wrote a story called “I Want You Back” where one of the characters is having a sex scene while another is involved in a romantic sexual encounter. The interesting thing is, they’re in the same scene. The story was published in my erotic collection Wetting the Appetite.

To quote the introduction I wrote to the story,  it “deals with the uncontrollable urges some lovers are able to arouse in us”, particularly “that lover we know isn’t a damn bit of good for our head, or heart, or self-esteem, but who does something to us that we can’t live without.”

The point-of-view character—who is never named—becomes the object of badboy Nick’s focused sexual attention the day they meet in a bowling league.

He made me nervous, made me conscious of my own body, made me ask him to come over just to get a break from all the sexual energy he was aiming at me.

The narrator is already off into a romance, inventing a connection between them and exaggerating its meaning, based on nothing more than how Nick’s attention makes him feel.

Nick, on the other hand, is just doing what he’s done with every other member of the league. He meets a bowler he hasn’t had sex with, and he does the obvious thing: he makes sex happen between them. That’s what Nick does.

The story details their first sexual encounter. An encounter completely dominated by Nick’s timetable and tastes.

When we arrived at my place, he pushed me inside.  He kept on pushing until he had me on my back on the living room floor.  His dick was in my face before I knew what was happening.  I lunged for it with my mouth, but he put his hand on my forehead and pushed my head back onto the carpet.

“Open,” he said, and I parted my lips.

He put his dick in my mouth, but he wouldn’t let me suck it on my own time.

The narrator is turned on by his own openness, his quick obedience. Nick seems to take it as his due from a sexual partner. The narrator relaxes and just lets him, focusing on the pleased murmur that comes from Nick when he registers the narrator’s surrender. He can’t get his pants down fast enough.

When they move to the narrator’s bedroom, it’s still a two-tier encounter. Nick has found the bedroom and waits on top of the comforter, stroking himself back to hardness for round two. The narrator, on the other hand, is on an expedition through his own apartment, trying to find where his newfound lover has gotten to.

I walked to the door of my bedroom and found him lying naked on the bed. He had his own fat cock in both hands and was taking long strokes up and down it.

“C’mere,” he said.

Of course I went to him.

When I got close enough, he let go of his dick and grabbed me by both wrists. He snatched me off my feet and onto the mattress, then dragged me to lie on top of him. We were belly to belly, our cocks pressed between us and just touching.

I could barely look him in the eye. He put one of his hands behind my head and the other in the small of my back and made me kiss him for a very long time.

They are having two very different experiences. The narrator’s is amorously familiar; he’s submitting to things and showing sides of himself that make him feel vulnerable. Nick is doing what he likes, when and how he likes, to get himself hard and get himself off, end of story.

And therein lies the difference between the two. Romance is about more than the interaction of genitalia. It’s more than just the act itself. Romance is about breath and eyes and feelings. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about what the intimate physical contact means. It’s about the actions we take and the thoughts that propel us into action. And it’s those details—above and beyond and beneath what characters are doing with their naughty bits—that carve out the difference between romance and sex.

 

Live fully, keep reading, and don’t stop pressing those keys!

BCA

***

Blake C. Aarens is an author, playwright, poet, screenwriter, and former college theatre instructor. Her play, The Prince of Whiteness, was the Invited Play at the 56th Conference on World Affairs.  Her solo performance piece, My Great-Grandmother Had a Sex Life, debuted at the “Have I Got a Story for You/Solo Performance Showcase” at The Studio Theatre, College of Marin. Excerpts from her erotic poetry collection Words on Fire appeared in the Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal. Her script, Still Life with Android, won a Judy Award for Achievement in the Thriller/Horror/Sci-Fi Screenplay division.

Blake is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who writes award-winning erotic fiction.  Her work has appeared in the Herotica series; Aché: A Journal for Lesbians of African Descent; Best American Erotica 1993; Penthouse Magazine, and numerous other anthologies.

Blake has seven letters after her name and more than two decades’ experience teaching classes on everything from Principles and Theory of Acting (Laney College), to Dramatic Technique for Fiction Writers (Berkeley Story Workshop), to Writing Life’s Moments: The Craft of Personal Narrative (The Writing Parlor, SF), to How to Write and Read a Dirty Story (San Francisco Center for Sex & Culture).

Her first collection of stories, Wetting the Appetite, has been published by Sizzler Editions both as a paperback and an ebook.

She lives in the Bay Area with Kazimir, the Crown Prince of the Universe.

 

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May 052014
 
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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 Sarah Bella

Ultimately, to me, the difference between a sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter is the intention of the characters. Are they just in it to get their rocks off? Nothing wrong with that, if so—some of my favorite scenes are pure erotica. On the other hand, if they’re looking to bond and grow with their partner, that bonding and growth is where I find the romance.

While the intentions of the characters in an erotic scene may define its level of romance, their overall stories may or may not. You can have a pair of strangers meet in a club and still have a romantic scene in the back hall of said club. In that same vein, a committed couple can absolutely have a sexual encounter completely devoid of romance.

So, then, what exactly do you write into your sexual encounters to define, maintain or escalate their romance? Constant declarations of love? Paragraphs of purple prose? I tend to have my characters turn inward—to focus not just on the physical experience of sex, but all the emotions that accompany it: the closeness they feel, the tenderness, that chest-bursting happiness they can’t get enough of.

In my latest book, Megan’s Desire, Megan finally drops her defenses one night, allowing herself and her maybe-boyfriend Tate to reach each other emotionally in a new and powerful way. Physically speaking, the scene below is 100% sex, but because we are kept intimately apprised of everything Megan thinks and feels, we can see how her connection to Tate grows in those moments:

Megan opened her legs, soft, warm, need, filling her—taking over.  Her fingers traced the ropes of muscle in his arms.  The very nearness of him soothed some primal need inside her.  The maleness of him, meeting some unspoken need.

“You’re so beautiful like this, just waiting for me.” He pressed inside her; Megan relished the slow burn, the ache-quenching slide of him inside her.

He slid his knees beneath her butt and gripped her hips, plowing inside her.

Megan gripped the headboard above her, locked elbows saving her from a bed-induced headache.  The new angle hit everything she needed it to.  She hooked her legs around his waist, heels forcing him in deeper with each thrust.

Tate stared down at her with lust-filled eyes.  Pure, unadulterated emotion rained down on her.  Megan soaked it up, all his adoration, his passion, his belief in her.  He wore it proudly, sharing that secret part of himself with her.

The close, the deep, the very there of him shook her.  This was so far beyond anything she was ready for….

Megan isn’t just in the moment for an orgasm—her heart is broken and she’s looking for healing, for acceptance. She finds that perfection with Tate.

 

Happy reading, ladies and gents.

♥SB

Sarah Bella is a small town Minnesota girl who calls pop by its proper name – pop. She is a multi-published author of romance and erotica who writes both novels and short stories in the romance, mystery/suspense, paranormal and erotica genres.

She loves traveling anywhere south of the equator and finds that a nice dark microbrew can help get the creative juices flowing. When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find Sarah with her nose buried in a book.

Sarah lives in the small town she grew up in with her husband, three children, her cat and her dog.

Find Sarah on Facebook, and her books and stories at her Amazon Author page.

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Apr 292014
 
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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

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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?”

“Yeah, very.”

“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.

Keep up with Margie:
Margie’s website: Romance with SASS
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Amazon.com: Margie Church: Books, Biography, Blog, Au…

Visit Amazon.com’s Margie Church Page and shop for all Margie Church books.
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Sep 252013
 
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By Jean Roberta

During the Feminist Sex Wars of the 1980s, someone (I can’t remember who) claimed that for women, sex is more emotional than physical, implying that sex is an emotionless form of exercise for men. Regardless of whether you believe this, or which of your characters experience sex in what ways, actual sex is a physical activity for anyone who takes part in it.

At its best, sex is accompanied by intense physical sensations as well as a whole spectrum of emotions from ecstatic love to performance anxiety to ambivalence to relief to gratitude to pride to fear. Sex can actually express and elicit any emotion we can imagine. The one general statement anyone can make about whatever we call “sex” (and definitions vary), however, is that it is a physical activity. In effect, sex is a dance (and it doesn’t have to be horizontal. It can be done standing up, underwater or while flying through the air.)

Writing about any activity—as distinct from describing settings or characters, or outlining a character’s thoughts—carries its own set of challenges. Choreographing a sex scene is much like choreographing a swordfight or a joust in a historical novel, or a dance scene in any era. The interaction of two or more bodies requires a certain amount of strategy on the page, just as it usually does in real life.

Erotica and erotic romance are often considered so different from other genres of fiction that even we (writers of sex scenes) tend to forget that all fiction has certain elements in common. We all have to position our characters so that they move through space (their physical setting) and time (a period of hours, days, weeks or years). Likewise, a sexual encounter needs to begin with a first move (he kisses her, she reaches for his hand, they embrace, Person A deliberately presses against Person B) and progress to the next move, which will usually seem more intimate than the first move, both to the readers and the characters. From those initial moves to the end of the scene, the sexual activities you describe need to make enough sense that your readers can immerse themselves fully in the eroticism of the story.

I have sometimes flinched while rereading a first draft of a sex scene I’ve written. In the throes of writing, it’s sometimes too easy to slap down lines like this: “Their eyes locked from across the room, and they quickly pulled each other’s clothes off.” A reader is likely to wonder: how long were their arms? If the sequence of events is impossible to visualize without a loud guffaw, the reader is likely to be pulled out of the mood.

Other gaffes in unedited sex scenes can include a character who seems to have three arms (or three of anything that most folks only have two of), a sex toy that enters an orifice and never comes out (and even the horniest character is likely to want the dildo or the buttplug to be removed at some point), extreme floggings that leave no marks, bondage that defies the laws of physics and/or medical science, clothes that mysteriously vanish and then reappear on bodies, completely buttoned and zipped.

If you remember nothing else from this post, remember two things: one, that even the most elaborate orgy on Planet X must be plausible enough for the reader to imagine it, and two, that safe sex for a sex writer includes proofreading.

 

Jean Roberta writes in several genres. Approximately 100 of her erotic stories, including every orientation she can think of, have appeared in print anthologies, plus three single-author collections, including The Princess and the Outlaw: Tales of the Torrid Past (Lethe Press, 2013. ). www.jean-roberta.livejournal.com

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