How to write a scorching hot love scene in ten easy steps:
- Decide what you are comfortable with. Do you want your love scenes so hot they practically incinerate in your hands as soon as your eyes read the words? That type of writing isn’t for every writer. It’s a rare thing that an author will write a book with a level of sensuality they’re not comfortable with themselves. It’s sort of an extension to yourself as a writer to choose characters that fit your own comfort level. Don’t dismiss the possibility though, simply because you’re unfamiliar with the genre or assume that you don’t have what it takes to kick it up a notch. You might want to introduce yourself slowly to these steamier stories, if you have a story in mind that requires something a little more racy than you’re used to. Read a little of everything, it helps you to figure out what level suits your own writing style. I remember when I read my first romance. I was in college, and it was a Harlequin. One of my favorite authors is Lynn Kurland, she weaves a magical tale every time, while keeping it intriguing yet clean. They are truly love stories. I realized that the stories I had in mind required more overt sexuality. I started reading a wider range of books, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Katie McAlister, JR Ward, Gena Showalter, and Karen Marie Moning to name a few. These ladies are the queens of the romance genre, and they do indeed write scorchers. Based on the list there, you can easily tell where my level of comfort lies.
- Respect your readers. Give them what you promise. I read a certain book a couple of years, that was very disappointing. It fell far short of my expectations, as it should have been marketed as a mystery not a romance. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading mysteries as well, but when I buy a romance it should be a romance. The romance in this book was so nonexistent it was sort of like this: Oh, we’ve been through this and this together and we made it through, I guess we’re in love now. Kiss, kiss, let’s get married tra la la. I felt cheated. The moral of this story: Respect your readers for the time and money they invest in your book. If you set them up for a romance, give it to them in spades. If you set them up for a drama, give it to them. If you set them up for a steamy romance that keeps getting hotter and hotter, you’d better deliver it. If you don’t give them what you promised, you’ll leave your readers dissatisfied, maybe enough to avoid your next book. OUCH! None of us want that.
- Keep IT real Writing love scenes effectively is hard to do. So how do you make your love scenes real? People and relationships are tricky. When you’re writing a character, you’re exploring those illogical, contradictory, good and evil people and their relationships. You need those things to make a character three-dimensional.The relationship between a man and a woman is, the most complex one in existence. Here you have two people, with emotional baggage, screwball ideas trying to (or fighting against!) merging their paths into one. That road to me, is a fascinating journey. You make your love scenes real by making your characters real. A fully fleshed out character will make your reader look at the world around them and the people in it in brand new ways. And a fully developed character will certainly make you want to find out what turns them on. And, sometimes love-making is funny. Noises, slippery moments, and such. Ever got a muscle cramp at the most inopportune time? He thought I was really getting into it and I’m dieing because my leg is cramping! Oh, oh, oh God! LOL – He thought he hit the magic button when in reality, well I”m sure y’all have embarrassing moments as well.
- Start sexual tension from the get-go. There’s that moment when you first notice “the one”. He stands out as if there’s an aura around him. He’s really no different from any other guy, but for you he’s the greatest guy in the world. You ignore the “man” habits like scratching their butt. The disgusting way he stuffs that cheeseburger in his mouth, you find charming. I have brothers and I found most everything about them disgusting and at a young age verified that guys indeed had ‘cooties’. Then the day when the hubs walked on the scene, well HE was different. It’s only after years of marriage that I see those “man” traits now as less than charming. Especially when I’m picking up the dirty underwear off the floor, but, I digress. Jump into the action right away. The look, the heat they are giving off for each other is what builds the tension before they go for it. The anticipation of the sex scene is as important as the sex scene itself. They’ve got to want it. Your readers have got to want it.
- Don’t use purple prose, euphemisms, words or phrases that make you uncomfortable. Use words that are appropriate, even if you’re a little uncomfortable with them. Don’t let your characters get so involved in the physical act that it becomes, quite disappointingly, mere sex. Readers don’t want to hear all those cotton-soft euphemisms any more than they want to hear anything inappropriate to the scene. They want a sensual experience — seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Don’t neglect the “jarring” senses either, like talking, moving, thinking, because that’s where the sense of reality enters in.Here’s a good test of whether a word is worth using in a love scene. Say it out loud while you’re in the midst of the love scene you’re writing. Does it make you hot? Hotter? Or does it make you laugh out loud? If you laugh out loud, that’s a pretty solid indication that it’s not a word you should use because your readers will probably do the same. Unless you’re going for the humorous bit and then use it. I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks many times while reading love scenes by words and phrases like: “his manhood waved at me like a flagpole”, “his rod of pleasure”, “her honey pot” or “they soared on the wings of love and exploded into infinity.” I cringe or laugh, sometimes both. Along the same lines, certain words may be too crude, rude or shocking to use in your romance novel.
- Don’t forget what genre you’re writing in. If you’re writing a Christian contemporary romance, there’s a whole list of words not allowed by the CBA. If you’re writing a YA novel, or a children’s book, you might want to reconsider putting a sex scene in them, seriously. But if you’re a romance fan like me, then go for it. Some of us are vanilla, and some of us are Cherry cordials dipped in rich dark chocolate. Of course then there’s Chunky chocolate, Banana Split, Birthday cake and a hundred other flavors. Why settle for plain vanilla? Your readers aren’t wanting to read plain vanilla, are they?
- Decide if you want to write chronologically or like an author on meth.I tend to write chronologically. However, when it comes to my love scenes I put a big note INSERT LOVE SCENE HERE with a few notes of what I want it to accomplish, and where it’s going to take their relationship. This may be an illogical way to work, but I”m not comfortable at first to delve into those scenes. Often it requires minor rewrites throughout the story – but I never go with my first draft anyway. My first draft is writing down the bones. There are places where I flesh out full scenes, and move the story along, but I go through a second time because the story in my head is gushing out, and I’m just trying to keep up. In reading back through it I discover the holes that you could drive a semi through and repair them. This does tend to make people think I’m possibly dropping acid or taking meth, but I assure you I’m clean. It’s just how my mind works. I’ve told you before it’s scary in there sometimes. In the end it all ties together in tidy denouement. You may have noticed that in my blog, that the rabbit trails never seem to converge until the end, then you go “ah, I see it now.”
- Dialogue is sexy — exploit it! Seriously, are you perfectly silent during your sex? Are you doing it right? OK, well there have been times when silence was essential. But that led to other things like . . .well never mind. I”m sure you understand what I’m getting at. What about if they are angry? Are you silent during angry sex? What about make up sex? Isn’t it filled with “Oh baby, I”m so sorry. I love you” talk? Most women DO NOT talk like a porn star, but there are sounds, words, moans, and sighs. Your characters don’t need to sound like a porn star either, in their erotic moments, let them be themselves. Let them get into it and really enjoy it. I think many women feel that unless they behave this way, they really aren’t sexy to their man. It’s not true, and an intelligent man will know the difference. Assuming your characters have their own personalities, let it show.
- Don’t write sex for the sake of sex or simply to fill pages If they aren’t necessary leave them out. If it doesn’t show something significant in their relationship, advance the story, advance the romance, their love for each other, then leave it out.If it doesn’t do those things it’s gratuitous and unnecessary.
- Second Eyes. Always, always get a second set of eyes on your work especially in these scenes because it’s so easy to omit what’s in your mind. I know what I’m wanting to convey, but the reader can’t see inside my head – thank God for small favors! By having a prereader – they can catch the things where it doesn’t flow, where it doesn’t make sense, or just doesn’t fit. NO pun intended – really.
Now we should all be able to write the perfect prose for our love scenes, right? If you believe it’s that easy, I have some prime River front property to sell you. I hope you got something out of this. Maybe you at least laughed at my faux pas. You can read my blog post about my failed Valentines date that I ended up with stitches, the medical ones not the side ones, for a failed love scene.
Personally I’m getting ready to tackle THE BIG SCENE for Zane and Izzy, and needed a pep talk. Have a fabbity fab weekend, and Write on!