Dirty: Writing Sex Scenes Part Five
The title of this post should be: Making Sure Your Sex Scene Doesn't Suck, but I think that could actually be what you want to happen in it, so I'll leave it at that.
Hey, I've been good not pointing out every double entendre in these posts! I deserve one!
*ahem* Moving on....
This is possibly the last part of this series, and I hope you've enjoyed them. I hope they were informative, brief, and fun. I had fun writing them!
We are now at the Moment of Truth. I won't write it for you, and you can't use someone else's work, so let's get to it! Here are my pointers for making it not awful.
Most of the time, sex happens pretty quickly in real life (don't lie), and so should a sex scene. Brevity is your friend in all writing, with few exceptions. Let's be honest with ourselves here, a lot of people skim the sex scenes unless that's what they picked your book up for in the first place. Even in erotica, scenes tend to be brief. That doesn't mean you can't write a killer sex scene, even if it won't get read that often. That's no excuse for us to phone it in, so don't you dare.
There were extraneous sentences in that paragraph, and I left them in to prove my point. If you can say something in five words and get your point across, don't add four more. That being said, there is a fine line between brevity and Neanderthalism. What I mean by Neanderthalism is it's pretty easy to go from a quick sentence to "Me Tarzan. You Jane." It's all about balance.
Here are a few tips to cut the fat from your scene (these are also good tips for editing your work at large):
- Kill adverbs. Use CTRL-F to search for 'ly' without the quotation marks and you'll find a lot of them. There are plenty of other forms of adverbs, but this is a good place to start. Delete at least 90% of them.
- Watch how you use the word 'that.' If you can delete it and the sentence still makes sense, delete it.
- Think about what made you enjoy sex scenes you've read in others' works. NO PLAGIARISM, but use those scenes to inspire you. Maybe it was the pacing or the way the hero and heroine treated each other that made it great.
- Be realistic. Like, scientifically realistic.
- Describe, but don't be grotesque.
- Take it easy on the inner monolog. If I wanted navel gazing in my narration, I'd torture myself with Twilight or 50 Shades again.
- Most important thing of all is probably this: don't oversell it. We're all picturing Matt Damon anyway. Let us.