Sunday, September 18, 2011

Writing Sex Behind Closed Doors

As many of you know, I like to dabble in writing erotica every now and then, mostly just for fun. It’s a light way for me to get away from the horrors of my usual writing style, even though my stories are typically chalk full of sex to begin with. But mostly I’ve been writing erotica because eventually I would like to try tackling the genre of paranormal romance in the future and I figured that this would be a good way of practicing some short scenes to see exactly how I go about writing sex just for the pleasure of depicting a hot, steamy scene (minus all the blood and gore). So when it was time to pick our focus chat in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction (WPF) program, it should be of no surprise to anyone that I gravitated to the one about writing sex in genre fiction (lead by author and professor,  Dr. Nicole Peeler).

Nicole wrote a really great article about writing sex that can be found here, and I urge anyone that is interested in finding out more about the style to check out what she has to say.

The main points that I gained from her blog entry are as follows:

1.) Write sex like no one is going to read it
2.) Using personal experience is ok, but make it character’s experience, not your own. If you did something your character probably wouldn’t do, you have to spin it in their favor or else it won’t be believable to your audience.
3.) Make it real. Let’s face it. Sex is pretty mechanical when it comes down to ità insert a into b and c will happen. Normally it’s not what we see on TV so don’t let your fantasies overtake the reality of sex. That’s not to say that it can’t be hot and exotic, but know your limits.

There were also a lot of good questions asked during our conversation that I thought were beneficial to learning about myself as a writer.

1.) Why do I write it?
I write it for practice for an upcoming project I want to work on, and because it’s fun!

2.) Am I comfortable writing it?
The first time I wrote a sex scene, it was awful. I was nervous and felt dirty writing it so needless to say it was uncomfortable. But just like sex itself, the more you do it (or write it) the easier and more fun it becomes. Now I have no problem writing it…although I do still write my raunchy scenes behind closed doors.

3.) Is it harder to write sex than violence?
No. At least not for me. To put it bluntly, I’ve had sex so writing about it isn’t that weird because I have personal experiences to compare it too. But I’ve never butchered anyone, or shot someone in the face so that’s a little difficult—especially because I write horror and violence is a given. Therefore, I have to do a ton of research to learn about weapons, other people’s experiences, how the body works, etc., not to mention the tons of documentaries that I’ve watched on serial killers to get into the mind of how a killer works. So yes, sex is easier for me to write, but violence is much more fun to explore.

4.) What is something that I need to still work on?
Everything . I’m never satisfied with my writing so I know that I can always improve on something. But in regards to writing about sex…there is a ton of things that I could improve on. I hate to admit that I like to break out the purple prose every now and then, and metaphors and euphemisms are def. something that you want to avoid at all costs. The same goes with details; it’s the small details in writing a sex scene that really matter because while sex may be a mechanical process, you don’t want your writing to sound that way. I also tend to lose track of body parts every once in a while, which is only funny if you catch it before you send it out to a publisher (haha), but what I really want to work on is the fine balance between the visual and the emotional because I want to appeal to both genders when I write. I have worked with both heterosexual and homosexual relationships in my writing, but I would like to do more writing with same sex couples  in the future simply because it’s something different than what I’m used to, and I want to be able to reach everyone with my writing, regardless of their sexual preferences.

If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer it.