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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Writing Meaningful Sex Scenes in Romances

One thing I have struggled with as a romance writer is trying to write sex scenes that have some significance and are not just thrown in to spice up the story. I like to keep my romantic scenes sensual and not graphic, preferring to leave something to the imagination. After all, a reader wants to use their imagination, right? This has proven to be a challenge because I do not want to write purple prose, but I have managed to avoid this by keeping a balance between the two and avoiding terms deemed too flowery.

Sex scenes like any other scenes should reveal something about the character. Is she shy, bold or somewhere in between? Does he prefer to have control or does he like it when she takes control? Humor is something I like to add to these scenes sometimes to show how characters will react. I recently wrote a sex scene where the bed broke. I think readers can identify with the characters more if reality steps in to the love scenes. It is not all perfection as in life it is not all perfection. By writing scenes where the hero and heroine are most vulnerable, it reveals something about their personality.

The way men and women think in the bedroom are different too. Ladies, how many times do we want our man to stay awake after the coupling only to have him role over and start snoring? Or, what about the man feeling frustration because he still cannot figure out how to please his lady? The time period a story is set in also makes a difference in how characters will act, but I think the above scenarios have been happening in bedrooms for centuries.

It has taken me some practice, but when I write sex scenes between my hero and heroine, I think about each character and pull pieces of their personalities into the scenes. Well-written romantic scenes can reveal a lot about a character and add to the story.

Kelley
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Kelley,

I absolutely agree that sex scenes should reveal some aspect of a character's personality and in some way further the story in general. If they're thrown in willy-nilly it cheapens the story.

I know what you mean about wanting to leave things to a reader's imagination while still avoiding "purple prose." There are moments when I wonder how many readers still engage their imaginations actively in the course of a story and how many wish to be spoon-fed the details so they can utterly play the escapist. I hope readers engage themselves in the books they read, but I would bet the numbers of those that do are growing slimmer.

I wish you great luck with your books--Who is your publisher (and do they treat you well)? Always curious--
~Saoirse