Writers In The Storm is pleased to welcome Tara Lain back (you can see her previous post Attack of the Blog here). Pour yourself a cold drink (you’ll need it) and get ready to learn a thing or two about spicing up those love scenes.
I’m delighted to be back at Writers in the Storm. The ladies asked me if I would write about building heat in a love scene. Why would they choose this topic for me? Aha! Because I’m a writer of erotic romance! Good erotic romances are certainly famous for their love scenes. Want to know why? That’s my topic.
The main way that an erotic romance differs from a traditional romance is — the erotic romance is NOT so much about sex.
Not what you expected? Think about it. In most traditional romances, one of the main plot points is “will they or won’t they?” Many scenes are driven by this question, sometimes up to the end of the book. In erotic romances, that question is off the table — sometimes in chapter one and for sure by the middle of the book. The answer is they do and they did and so what’s next? After that question is gone, the erotic romance has to be about something else. Will they or won’t they be able to overcome the obstacles that keep them apart?
- So, the first rule of creating heat in a sex scene? A sex scene is almost NEVER about sex.It’s about revealing something important about the character or forwarding the plot in some particular way. If the reader skips the scene they miss a lot. So they don’t skip it.I wrote a romantic suspense in which an investigative reporter believes that a billionaire art collector is a thief. (I write gay romance. They’re both men.) Through many machinations, they end up as lovers but the reporter doesn’t come clean. Imagine the guilt and suspicion that plays through the passion. My reporter goers through every phase of self-loathing challenged by his desire for the big story.If you craft your love scenes around plot development and character revelation, you’ll create a lot of great love scenes.
- If you have multiple love scenes in your book as I do, you need to “orchestrate” them. Each scene has a different purpose and each one escalates so that you’re peaking your romantic intensity at the right time in the book. You have the passion of a first kiss, the wonder and discovery of first sex, the hunger of love denied.Consider each scene and ask “what will the scene do?” How do I hook the reader in and leave them wanting more?
- Advancing character and forwarding plot is great but when you have a number of love scenes in your book, you need to be creative. So within the context of what we discussed above, think about what kind of fun and freshness you can bring to a scene.I’m currently writing a book in which one of my heroes is an exotic dancer. So I set a love scene in the forest where he can swing on branches and do all kinds of sexy contortions. You can use setting, costume — the act of disrobing can be very sexy and fun if made an end in itself — or the sex itself. Certain sexual acts suggest an escalation of passion or commitment. Think about your character. Would he be reticent to do certain things? Would finally doing them represent a huge change of viewpoint? That makes a sex scene memorable and it advances your story.
- And deep point of view is essential for a great love scene. The reader wants to know how everything feels, tastes, smells.Don’t tell me they were ecstatic. Show me! What is a climax like? Find the words and use them. Obviously, you won’t use the same kinds of words I do unless you’re an erotic romance writer, but don’t over-euphemize me. Readers will get bored.Lock into your characters POV. How would he feel about each thing that’s happening? Sometimes I layer a scene. I go in and describe the action. Where are the hands, the lips, the body parts exactly? Then I layer in feeling and emotion. And finally, I add another layer of more detailed feeling.
Writing a great love scene is like writing any great scene. It has a reason to be and you need to use all your power to fulfill that promise to the reader.
Think about the scene. Plan it. And don’t write it when you’re tired. Great love scenes take great energy. And get involved. If at the end of your scene you’re gasping for breath, your reader will be too.
Tara Lain’s first erotic romance novel was published in January of 2011. She’s now on book 17. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series of 2011, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm, and she carries her promotional instincts into her writing career as well. She lives with her soul-mate husband in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
NEWS: Tara has a new release, Hearts and Flour, coming out on Monday February 4 that promises to be a deliciously quirky gay romance filled with heartbreak, cupcakes, love, and a little blackmail.
How to find Tara:
Author blog: http://taralain.blogspot.com
Book blog: http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain