Love In An Elevator

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here.

I must admit – fear of writing love scenes nearly derailed my writing career. Don’t get me wrong, I love a smokin’ hot sexual encounter. Just having to actually write one for the first time was, well. . . embarrassing. So embarrassing that I’d break out in cold sweat and stop writing.

I like to read steamy sex scenes between two characters who are in love. In fact, my favorite authors – J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Jeaniene Frost (hello, Chapter 22 – fans of her books know exactly what I’m talking about here.) all write the kind of sex scenes I enjoy, er, like. See, there’s that embarrassment again. But seriously, I don’t care for sex scenes with no emotional content or point either (Laurell K. Hamilton – what happened to you???).

Again, dreaming up love scenes, while fun in your head, isn’t the same as typing the words on a page.

In black and white.

For everyone to read.

It didn’t help that my two, smart-alek teenage boys would sneak up behind me and accuse me of “writing an erotic sex book.” Fortunately for me, I was never at those bits when the commando raids would take place. They have since given up trying to read over my shoulder. Whew!

And my embarrassment, didn’t stop there. Once I took the plunge and wrote the darn pages, I then realized that others would – gasp – read them. People like my friends!! Possibly my mother!! What would they think of me? What if they were crap? Would they laugh at me?

Luckily, those things didn’t happen. In fact, in a few cases, I received the opposite response, like – hand fanning face- that they were of the cold shower variety. High praise indeed!

And I needn’t have worried about my critique partners. Professional as ever, they provided feedback for those scenes just like any other. Sometimes with humorous results – “I don’t think you really meant to say – he ran his fingers up her nose”. After I finished laughing at myself, I fixed the scene so it didn’t sound like a fourth grader’s rendition of the hero going on a booger dive (thank you PJ for catching that one!).

So now that I have licked (no pun intended) my fear of the steamy sex scene, the new challenge is coming up with creative new ways and places to do the deed.

Without being too graphic (this is a G-rated site!) what have been some of your hang-ups when it comes to reading or writing love scenes? And what spice level suits you best?

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About Casey Wyatt

I write Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance. Come visit me at my site - caseywyatt.com. I can also be found at secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com and smpauthors.wordpress.com. Thanks for visiting me today!
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35 Responses to Love In An Elevator

  1. Lia Davis says:

    My biggest hangup is confidence. But I’m not as bad as I use to be. Those scenes come back from my CPs with praise and only minors fixes — mostly technical and wording/phrasing — Also the more I write them the spicier they become. 🙂

    The heat level I like to read and write is sensual to very hot. And there ALWAYS has to be emotions.

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      I hear you on the confidence! And I don’t mind the spice level being high if that is where the characters are going. I did have moments of total mortification when Mystic Ink was released and my husband’s elderly aunts were telling me they would read the book. The panic started all over again. And then I decided it was hilarious!

  2. Trying not to get too technical. I didn’t want mine to sound like step by step instructions lol. And I know the feeling about my mother reading The Swan Cove Murders. She had told me she was over my niece’s and began reading my book. I was thinking, ‘Oh God, did she get that far in the book?’ But, she never mentioned anything, and quite frankly I was too embarrassed to ask.

    Great post 🙂

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Yeah, too technical or too clinical is no fun. It’s like reading the manual to your car. I also agree with relatives and sex scenes – I won’t bring it up unless they do. Good idea!

  3. Liz Flaherty says:

    I still like euphemisms (sorry, I’m old) and coming up with ones that don’t sound to cliched or downright dumb is a challenge. Great post!

  4. Shelly Bell says:

    I had no trouble writing them, but my Mom and friend/co-worker both expressed their discomfort with reading the scenes. They couldn’t separate the character from me. A childhood friend starred in a movie where she was completely nude and it had a lot of sex in it. To this day, I wonder if her father and brother saw the movie. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction sometimes. BTW, I knew Chapter 22 instantly! One of the best!

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Ahhh. Chapter 22. I love that you knew that one! And wow – your friend in the movie – film is even more intimate and permanent. No imagination involved there, but on the other hand – when she’s eighty, she can look back at that and say “man, I was hot!”

  5. Penelope says:

    Hi Casey! 1st of all, just wanted to say that one of your strong points is creating sexual tension between the hero and heroine…BEFORE the actual sex scene. You did a great job with that in Mystic Ink. It makes the love scene so much better when the chemistry has been building between the H/h.

    2nd, as to writing love scenes…..I think the most important thing is to really get into the head(s) of your characters. As Donna says….not a step-by-step guide, but what is the character feeling? What is the emotional state as this is happening? That’s what adds depth and intensity to a love scene, not the graphic details. I love Amanda Quick’s love scenes….they aren’t too graphic or too long…they’re just right! (like Goldilocks!).

  6. Note to self–get Chapter 22. 🙂 Love sex scenes. Love reading them, writing them, pract–…never mind. 😉

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Yes, Ann. If you haven’t read Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones books, you don’t know what you are missing. I’m pretty sure you can buy T-shirts from her site that say “Chapter 22.”

  7. Susan Muller says:

    I enjoy reading a good love scene–notice I said love scene, not sex scene–but I hate writing them.

  8. Kristi Lea says:

    I think it’s a little late for me to claim that I am super-shy about writing love scenes (even rather, ahem, descriptive ones) 😉 And I got a text message a few weeks back from my aunt, telling me that my grandmother was reading my book. And giggling about it. And pretending to be shocked 🙂

    Remember that a love scene is about the emotion. If you’re writing sex just to write sex, then it won’t be as effective. If there isn’t an emotional turning point, maybe you don’t even need the love scene at all. (Whether or not I was effective at doing that in my writing is for a reader to decide).

    I highly recommend “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Erotic Romance” by Alison Kent. Don’t be fooled by the title–she doesn’t give advice on body parts or the acts themselves, but how to use sex effectively in writing romances.

  9. revrosevan says:

    Great post, Casey! I am not embarrassed to read or write a sex scene, but for me, it has to make sense in the story and with the emotions of the characters. Like Donna, I don’t want mine to be “insert tab A into slot B,” and I also don’t want them to become cliche. But I think if you know your characters well enough, you will know exactly how hot (or sweet) their love scenes will be.

    And I have to agree with Penelope: you did a great job in MYSTIC INK of building sexual tension! 🙂

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Thanks Rose. I’m happy to hear I got the sexual tension right! I’ll be honest, I hadn’t taken the aforementioned class yet. Mystic Ink is only my second completed novel and the first real romance I ever wrote. I hope the class didn’t mess me up. You know, sometimes too much technique can mess you up!

  10. Pingback: The perfect pitch/Book Blurb | authorbjscott

  11. Katy Lee says:

    Don’t worry. You did great! 🙂

  12. Gerri Brousseau says:

    Hey Casey,
    First of all, let me say that “Love in an Elevator” is one of my favorite Aerosmith songs! Having said that, I have to admit I don’t mind writing the steamy scenes. Not at all, but I only write them when they are called for in the story line. I have read many novels where it seems every other page is a scene and I find myself skipping through them to get on with the story. When I write those scenes, I don’t think about what anyone will think of me when they read those steamy scenes because if they are reading them, that means they have purchased my book. And isn’t that what we want? I say don’t worry about it … just keep writing and you can fan your face with dollar bills all the way to the bank. You go girl!

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Hi Gerri. I have that song stuck in my head now. And I’m laughing right now at the visual image of fanning oneself with money. I’ve gotten much better about letting the sex scenes and all the lead up happen on the character’s time table. It’s funny when I do my outline, I don’t really script in where the sex will happen. I just know when the time is right. Whoa! I think I just sounded like a commercial there. Eek!

  13. B.J. Scott says:

    Great post and very important to have the sexual tension just right 😉
    Gotta wonder about chapter 22 though lol

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Chapter 22 is . . . well you just have to read it yourself. Not everyone likes the same level of spice. The book we are referring to is One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. It’s book 2 of her Night Huntress books. But I have to amend my earlier statement and add that Julia Rachell Barrett – Pushing her Boundaries – rivals Chapter 22. And she may make you afraid to ever go camping ever again.

  14. Love your post! Especially the teenage boy part. Annoying, huh? I have no problem writing sex scenes. Never get nervous, never get stressed. I just want to make sure I get them right – for my characters and for my readers. So they do take some time.

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Julia – you are a master of steamy, sexy and emotionally satisfying sex scenes. I absolutely love Beauty and the Feast and Pushing Her Boundaries (I will never look at butter the same way again!). 🙂

  15. kellymhudson says:

    My biggest problem is I write twisted stuff, and when someone I know reads it, I get that sidelong glance that says, “What’s wrong with this guy?” Plus, if my Mom reads some bit of erotica, it makes me nervous. I guess that’s just how it is!

    Great blog!

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Hi Kelly! I think it’s a universal truth that most of us don’t like to think about our parents having sex. And even worse, reading about sex that we wrote! But what can we do? We’re writers. It goes with the territory!

  16. Mandi Casey says:

    Hot topic. 🙂 I think the more we do it the easier it eill be, and maybe our characters will grow bolder as well…

  17. gailingis says:

    Experience! That will put all the embarrassment to bed. Oops cliche. Fun post Casey.

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