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.