May 3, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
How I Learned to Write – May 3rd, 2017
Love Scenes and Erotic Writing
I believe, and this is only my belief, is that erotic or love scenes in a romance book serves one purpose…to bring the couple closer together. I don’t believe that the act of sex or making love is something that should be thrown into a book because you need filler scenes to up your word count. The best love scenes contain emotion and a connection between the two that is strengthened by the act itself. Erotic love scenes should be exactly the same. Yes, the erotic love scene tends to be more descriptive than normal love scenes, but they are still about the connection between the two that are falling in love.
And depending on the book you are writing, the love scenes will differ in number and intensity. For examples only, I will be using two of my books, Kai (A Dark Assassins Novel Book One) and my upcoming release, Unexpected (A Unexpected Novel Book One).
In Kai, my first love scene doesn’t take place until Chapter Seven/Eight. In the first six chapters, they are dealing with the contract on Liv, Kai coming to terms that he would protect Liv no matter what, and establishing a a new routine since they weren’t allowed out of Kai’s home. They also get to know each other during this time, learning that they are attracted to one another despite the circumstance they are in. The factor that has them making love for the first time is when Kai feeds from Liv, and the actions cause an unexpected reaction in both of them.
As their love for each other grows, so does their need to become physical with one another. Jealousy plays another role in the story, bringing out Kai’s protective instincts, until he realizes that Liv and he belong together.
In Unexpected, my first gay romance, sex becomes an important factor between my two protagonists, Ronan and Caleb. For both, they have never dated a man before, so when they find themselves overwhelmingly attracted to one another, the way they explore their feelings is through touch. Making love opens the communication between them. For both of them, they need to know what the other likes, how far they are willing to go, all while dealing with their growing feelings for the other.
In other words, the love scenes are not as scattered in this book as in my other books, because the concentration on Ronan and Caleb’s relationship is my top priority. So, they explore their relationship through sex and touch, communication, in an intense yet loving way.
In most books, sex or making love, isn’t the main goal of the story, it’s part of how the relationship develops to see if your characters are compatible. Other books feature sex prominently throughout the book, even with other characters that aren’t your protagonist’s love interest. How your love scenes come about is up to you. Just as a simple idea will lead each author in a different direction, you determine the level of heat in your love scenes as well as how often they happen. This goes with the outlining/plot of your story. Remember, each scene moves the story forward and the characters need to learn from their experiences, and a love scene isn’t any different.
There are several writing references that don’t exactly walk you through how to write a love scene, but instead spark ideas about how your love scenes will be built. You don’t go from kissing to intercourse within a few sentences. There is always a build-up in love scenes and because of it, you draw out your readers interest by showing how much of a connection your characters share. There aren’t too many how to books that deal with love scenes, both innocent and erotic, but I found the one below to be the best out of the meager selection.
Get Started In Writing Erotic Fiction by Judith Watts and Mirren Baxter
Smart, sassy and full of everything you need to know. This is the ultimate guide to writing – and selling – an erotic novel. It will help you to understand erotica – what it is, and isn’t, the subgenres, the conventions, the big do’s and don’ts – as well as giving you the inspiration and support you need to actually write. Essentially, over a third of this book contains information on how to sell your book – whether to an agent, to a publisher or directly to the reading public yourself. It features up-to-date insights and advice on self-publishing, both digitally and traditionally, and strategies for self promotion using blogs, social media and reviews. Full of practical tips and creative inspiration from a bestselling novelist, this book is all you need to turn yourself into the next EL James.
This is a good book because it allows you to write ideas down based on examples given in the book. The first exercise is to write out what you think is sexy. From there, you expand the list that includes some sexual acts and it allows you to explore the many options out there available, some you hadn’t even thought of.
The book also give definitions to relationship and sexual positions and fetishes, how sex scenes are integral to your plot, and how to pace the scenes in your story. It’s a great reference before you start writing sex scenes.
The best way to learn how to write a love scene is to write one. Yes, it will be clunky at first and sometimes one of your character’s will have three arms because action is needed to show your readers how your character’s express their love for each other physically. That’s okay, that is what editing is for. But, if you start with short stories that have short sex scenes, you learn by instinct how your characters move, touch, taste, feel; everything that goes with the act of making love. Don’t get discouraged. Like with everything else in writing, practice helps.