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Old 01-29-2013, 02:53 AM   #1
Matthew J. Reed
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I need some help

So, I've been writing a romance-ish story and need some advice.
I want to write in some nudity and a few steamy sex scenes, but have not had much luck with that.

The problem is that every attempt to write such content ends up reading like it was written by a horny 13 year old...
Any suggestions?
I've been reading some stories with similar content to get examples of how things should be worded.

-MJR
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:06 AM   #2
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Welcome, Matthew!

The only advice I can give is to keep reading, and keep practicing. Buy some more erotica stories and read not to "relax" but to get a feel for how to write sex.
And keep writing, even just random scenes not related to your story.

Then, when you've gotten 50 posts, feel free to join us in the Erotica Share Your Work board and post an excerpt.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:00 AM   #3
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Welcome, Matthew.

What helped me was a sideline apprenticeship in reading fanfiction. Really. I had some of the most awful sex scenes ever, according to my well-read and long-suffering beta readers. I took ten years off and learned how to write, in between an art career.

Depending on your tastes, I'd say look through Archive of Our Own
(http://archiveofourown.org/) to see what other people are writing. Some of it is horrible. You'll learn to see mistakes more quickly in other people's work than your own, because you'll have some emotional distance. But some of the posters on AO3 are professional writers playing under pen-names, and you learn from really brilliant examples.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:04 AM   #4
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In the erotica syw, there are a couple of stickies with lists of practice exercises. Give them a try. It has the same password as the NC-17 Erotica forum and can be obtained from one of the moderators (Maryn, Veinglory & El Montague) by messaging them asking for it and giving your age. The age limit is 21.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:49 AM   #5
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I second the fanfiction suggestion if you don't want to buy a bunch of books.

Btw, if your aim is "steamy" rather than erotic/explicit, mainstream romances would also do the trick (and would be readily available at your local library or for cheap at a used book store). The line between romance and erotic romance is rather gray when it comes to explicitness anyway.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:57 PM   #6
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Another vote for read 'em to write 'em.

Let me also add that it's worth the time to write them, knowing as you do it that they're not very good at all. It's easier to identify what works and does not work, then make the necessary repairs and adjustments, than to face down a blank page and expect anything remotely passable.

In other words, give yourself permission to write crap. You don't have to show it to a living soul until you've made it much, much better.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew J. Reed View Post
The problem is that every attempt to write such content ends up reading like it was written by a horny 13 year old...
Any suggestions?
The most important thing to remember is that good sex scenes require as much practice and skill as battle scenes, conflict scenes, introspective scenes, etc. So your first attempts are going to appear as out of practice as your first attempts at writing a mystery or a western.

One of the great books on this subject is 'The Joy of Writing Sex' by Elizabeth Benedict. Her principles have guided my smut writing every since. Also, let's not forget reading lots of such scenes to get a proper feel for them.

I've written perhaps 100 sex scenes, and here are a few tips. Your mileage may be different. They work for me.

1. First person seems more intimate than third.

2. I always write from the pov of only one of the participants. I don't head-hop between them. There are less confusing ways of showing what the non-pov participant(s) is/are thinking.

3. Make the emotional side more explicit and detailed than the physical side. There aren't that many ways to put Tab A in Slot B, but the range of emotions during a sexual encounter is unlimited.

4. Slide into the scene slowly, or even sideways. Boy and girl don't always meet, exchange the time of day, and start fucking in the same paragraph (unless they've been at it a lot).

5. Not all sexual encounters are successful. Some end in frustration, aborted orgasms, interruptions, etc.

6. Write about the kind of sex you like, not what the 'market' wants. I'm a confirmed heterosexual, and cannot write a gay sex scene to save my life. I don't have the experience. Neither do I like reading or writing stories where men dominate or abuse women.

7. If it doesn't give me a stiffy, I don't think it's going to give my reader one either. (This is really a corollary to #6.)

8. Make sure your reader knows early on just how explicit the book is going to be. In my WIP, it took me five chapters before the first piece of clothing came off. My publisher suggested adding a chapter at the beginning with an explicit scene that would flag it as a female-domination story. The lesson here is, don't fool your reader into thinking the novel is more or less explicit, or a different subgenre than it is.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:56 AM   #8
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Nice post, Bill.

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Old 01-30-2013, 07:25 AM   #9
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Lol. I love no. 7! (even though I lack the requisite body part).
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
Welcome, Matthew.

What helped me was a sideline apprenticeship in reading fanfiction. Really. I had some of the most awful sex scenes ever, according to my well-read and long-suffering beta readers. I took ten years off and learned how to write, in between an art career.

Depending on your tastes, I'd say look through Archive of Our Own
(http://archiveofourown.org/) to see what other people are writing. Some of it is horrible. You'll learn to see mistakes more quickly in other people's work than your own, because you'll have some emotional distance. But some of the posters on AO3 are professional writers playing under pen-names, and you learn from really brilliant examples.
*insert worship emoticon*

I have been laughed at so many times, and while you aren't specifically addressing my deal, it's damn close! I have hones my skills writing fanfiction. And I'm actually on AO3! I have fairly decent numbers, if I do say so myself. I got regular feedback on what people liked and didn't like, and I got tons of practice writing smut scenes. (I still think mine still has some to be desired, though.) But there's still an issue you have to remember; most of my readers are older teens/younger twenties.

Thank you for this post!
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:03 PM   #11
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I wrote my first BDSM sex scenes when I was writing fanfic for Highlander: The Series. I got a lot of experience writing fanfic erotica, LOL.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:20 PM   #12
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Most of my fanfic readers are probably older. But the manga I used to slash recently had a US translation that got a lot of new fans, so some new voices are in the mix. I read more fanfic than I write, these days, because paying projects are more important.

It was a good learning experience, and I plan to mine some of my old work to make original novellas and such.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:54 PM   #13
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I started writing erotica back in the day, and I just went through to 'update' them a bit for my website. I was absolutely shocked to find that my previous writing sometimes came in at LESS than 1000 words for a sex scene.

Now I can barely cram a sex scene into 3,500-7,500 words.

You get better with practice, and the more you think about it - the sensations, the feelings, the emotions, the smell, the feel, the taste - the more comfortable you'll be at describing it. Just try to get really, really into it. Try to make yourself really horny, because if it gets you hot, it will work for others.

One of the stories we're going to be publishing in February was a hassle to edit because I couldn't read through it without having to excuse myself half way through. The scene was getting me so hot I just couldn't objectively edit it without getting myself off.

I have great faith that other people will be similarly moved, because that passion and excitement I felt writing and editing it will translate well to others.
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