Friday, February 08, 2008

Loving the Love Scene by Ashlyn Chase

Erotic romance authors are often asked how they write hot love scenes. It ain’t easy! In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to write well. I happen to write erotic comedy but when it comes to sex, I’m deadly serious about it.

Here are a few tips to writing a convincing love scene. First of all, try to be sure your characters aren’t as shallow as this: “I like your body, let’s have sex.” It’s great to have sexual attraction between the hero and heroine from the get-go, but to make a love or sex scene convincing, we need do a little better than that.

I like to have one of them do something special for the other to show they care. That usually happens in real life. Dinner and a movie is classic but classic can be cliché. As imaginative writers, we can and should be inventive. Maybe he knows she likes puzzles so he pulls out a 1,000-piece puzzle and invites her over to put it together. That says a couple of things. One: I want to spend time with you—lots of time. And, two: I’m paying attention to your likes and dislikes—I’ll meet your needs.

Of course in an erotic romance, the couple won’t get beyond putting together the outer border before they wind up tangled in the sheets. In order for that to happen, especially in a short story, the writer often makes them familiar with each other beforehand from their workplace, mutual friends, or being stuck in a space capsule together for months. And, of course, they’ve been burning for each other too long as it is.

One of the hardest things for the erotic romance writer to do is make each encounter feel like it’s the best, most powerful, over-the-top sex your POV character has ever experienced. In order satisfy the avid erotic romance reader’s expectations, you have to get right into that character’s body and describe sensations that often defy description. You’ll find yourself typing words like: arching, moaning, clenching, whimpering, “Oh God, oh God!” pummeling, pounding, stiffening, exploding, convulsing, gasping, rasping “I can’t take anymore,” shuddering, fluttering, shivering, quivering, bucking, and… Well, you get the idea. The reader must be swept away, just like the character.

For the writer to put together a scene like that, and to make it different every time, may take a lot of thought and frequent ice water breaks. For a reader to consider it a successful scene, she must not be able to put the book down. Thus, it might take you all afternoon to write something the reader will devour in a couple of minutes.

Do you need to have a current love life to write erotic romance? No. I think it helps, but I know some single erotica writers who can make you want to wear oven mitts to turn the pages! I even know a virgin who won a contest with her love scene and subsequently published her story. But if you have a regular bed partner, take advantage of it. Tune out the noise in your head and concentrate on the moment. I can’t tell you how many erotic romance authors refer to their significant other as their “research assistant.”

In either case, I think the best way to write any romance is to read romance. To write hot romance, read hot romance. The next time someone implies that writing romance is easy, dare them to write a love scene—preferably one that makes you drool, sweat and attack your boy toy.

Visit Ash at her website or blog. And don't forget Ash will be stopping by StoryCrafters on the 13th to answer any questions you have.


Jean said...


I love this post. Thanks so much. I always feel silly writing love scenes though. But, there's just something special about one that really works.

Ashlyn Chase said...

I know what you mean, Jean! A well-crafted love scene is like magic. I've actually had chills from a few of those and I'll never forget them.


Lover of Books said...

I have tried to write love scenes and they are not easy at all. lol Thanks for the ideas and I like how you put it. Just use your imagination. :)

Cheryl said...

This is a great post Ash. I think erotica is discounted as books full of sex scenes and no plot, but that's simply not true. I've read some great erotic novels that had excellent plots, lots of conflict, and some very hot scenes.

Best of luck with the tour!


Connie Northrop said...

This was great. I am hoping to start writing spme of my ideas when my life settles a bit. I really like tips like this.


danetteb said...

Lol..and as a reader I thank you for writing hot love scenes. My DH has been attacked a few times. :D

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.
I love hearing that readers (and their husbands) appreciate a good steamy book! (grins)


Lover of Books said...

oh my hubby does. lol :)

Maggie Nash said...

Hey Ash...great article!

Oh yes and my dh loves to read my sex scenes too...LOL...

He's gone out and bought toys based on what I mentioned in a scene! LOL

Anonymous said...

OK Ash, I admit I came to read your post because I love your book titles. With titles like that you have to have a sense of humor.
Also my local bookstore wants me to talk about writing sex in fiction and I thought I could steal some ideas.

Cathy said...

I love hot romance stories, the hotter the better, and your's are some of my favorites.

Lynnsplanet said...

I love writing sex scenes -- sometimes I get carried away and have to cut them back. I will write it, and revise it until the read says and feels exactly what the characters are feeling and experiencing -- it's so much fun.

I have to admit though, inspiration is a great tool to setting the mood. Music does it for me.


Destiny said...

Hi Ashlyn,

As always, I love to read your work and this article/post proves why.