T.J. talked about sensuality in romances, the spark that leads to the romantic and sexual encounter. Where did it get lost in books?
It got me thinking of another facet - where did the people making love/having sex get lost in those books?
A thing that is missing in a lot of romances and erotica lately is emotion. Emotional drive = zilch, nada, non-existent.
You might ask, what's emotion got to do with it (in a strange twist on the Tina Turner title What's love got to do with it?) Well, love needn't have anything to do with the sexual encounter in your story, but emotion does. Why? Because emotion is the fuel for your scene.
Face it, people - you're not writing porn. Porn is about the mechanics, it's sex in motion/written, the nookie happening between two or more people depending on the scene you're penning.
For the sake of this post, I'll focus on two people, a man and a woman.
So let's say your setup is a hero and a heroine and they're burning for each other. You get them together in the same room and you make them do the deed. Great - you've got the sex scene in your story and if it's an erotica, well you're living up to the name by giving an erotic encounter. Right?
Wrong! Even erotica isn't porn - the basics, the mechanics, the deed being done do not constitute a sex scene in an erotic work or a romance, and far from it to even make a love scene!
What does then?
Well, think about it. Sex is said to be an intimate experience. Why? Because it's an intimate act. Intimate means it affects the person in some way, impacts him or her, involves him or her in a unique way.
If this involvement is lacking in your sex/erotic scene, you're writing porn. What makes this involvement tangible is emotions. Sensuality too, as T.J. put across so well. What is this person feeling when having this encounter? How is this impacting him/her? How is this changing his/her world, even if only for a split second?
At the same time, people are different. Characters are supposed to be people too, well-defined people that you as the author are putting across and whose story you're recounting to your audience. No two people have sex or experience a sexual encounter the same way. As a writer, think of this when you pen your sex scene. It should be commensurate with the kind of character you are portraying. A hardened cop, all male and Alpha, isn't going to worship his lover by thinking about her body in purple prose during the act. He won't wax poetic or lyrical in her ear, confessing undying love. Oh yes, he can make tender love, but the act itself is at the heart of the issue - he's hot, driven, and takes what he wants. Sex to him will be hooking his partner on whatever available surface and having wild sex on the moment, their carnal pleasure as the goal. A wilting wallflower isn't going to turn into a sex-crazed goddess/vixen the minute you unlock her in a bedroom. She isn't going to tear down the hero's shirt and nip hickeys all over his body just because passion combusted inside of her. No, her character demands TLC, romantic setting, candles, and all the hoop-la. People are different, and again, different people view and experience sex differently. Even encounters between the same couple will be different - the first drunken encounter that hits off right after leaving a club will be different from the way this same couple, if they do hook up long-term, will make love once they're an established couple.
And what highlights this difference is emotions. Tune in to your characters emotions and the emotional drive behind their actions and reactions. This will in turn fuel your sex/erotic scenes with something unique, something your readers will be grateful for because you are embarking them on a journey, the journey the characters are undergoing when they are in this world of sensuality and heat. Every character's journey, even in sex and love, is unique, and as the writer, this is one joker you hold that can make your work sronger and more powerful. Don't fail to use it.
Any questions, just holler!
Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural Romantic Fiction, With a Twist
Coming out October 2 - Light My World - Eirelander Publishing
Nolwynn Ardennes - The Promise of Fulfilment
Coming out in January 8, 2010 - Storms in a Shot Glass - Eirelander Publishing
Aasiyah Qamar/Nolwynn Ardennes - Romance the world over