Author Topic: Writing About Sex in Fiction  (Read 10069 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Writing About Sex in Fiction
« on: November 19, 2010, 10:26:23 AM »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8385795.stm

This links to the article from 2009, some good information for those trying to write love scenes.

Is it difficult to write well about sex?
By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News Magazine

The Bad Sex in Fiction Awards include some of writing's biggest names. So, do authors find it difficult to write about sex?

Offline Strawberry

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 10:39:34 AM »
 I thought that the swoon/mewling sound excerpt was pretty hilarious.  :D  Some sex scenes are just so incredibly awkward to read! 

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 10:40:10 AM »
only difficult to do it well :)

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 10:42:06 AM »
The comments right at the bottom of the article are interesting, get to see a reader's point of view. Relevant to other areas, not just sex. Wouldn't you die if you were nominated. Nice to see an award winning author fluffed it. They are human!

Offline Joe Mynhardt

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 01:11:38 PM »
I haven't written a sex sceen yet, but I'd mostly leave it to the reader's imagination. If you're able to write a strong, passionate paragraph
where they grab each other and he takes her in his arms, the reader will know exactly how it will continue from there on out.
If the love making will be soft and romantic, the buildup, or foreplay, should be more romantic than passionate.

Call it safe writing, but that will work for me.   :)

 
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Offline The Dude Abides

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 01:28:09 PM »
Mechanics and sound effects. The problem, to me, is if you do it well and describe the sex in a way that gets your reader hot and distracted, the rest of your story suffers when the sex inevitably ends. And if you write it badly, it is funny or causes strange images of genitals wearing masks (clown masks, maybe?), and the reader gets sidetracked by that. It seems like a no-win situation.

Personally, I prefer to get them to the point and let the reader provide the sound effects and movements. Unless you are writing erotica, then you pretty much need to tell it all.
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Offline Raven's Quill

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 01:30:50 PM »
I have the same, actually, of just leading the reader to it and letting them take it from there. For me, whenever I get close to a love scene I always imagine what my father will think when he reads it and then I just get too embarrassed. AND there's the hazard of just sounding ridiculous. I've come across my fair share of "romantic" scenes in books that just made me laugh. I think I've found a nice balance though where I'm not shying away from anything, but I'm not being completely graphic either. Most of the time it's not necessary anyway - depending on the genre, of course.

I really loved the line in the article: "It's a cliche, but the moments of genuine frisson in books are when hardly anything happens." And it's so true! A brush of the hand, or just the romantic interest's presence in a room can be enough.

I also loved the reference to Terry Pratchett's understated sex scene. That was great.
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 02:11:51 PM »
That was food for THOUGHT.  ;D

Good read. It's a challenge I don't plan to walk away from. I may write a dozen bad love scenes before I make one work. But hey, bad sex is better than none.  ;D

Skip

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 02:19:13 PM »
I can read Mr Slocum! :) :) :) Thought you knew that by now.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2010, 03:59:47 PM »
 ;D

Offline deborahowen

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2010, 06:52:39 PM »

I've read books where the author was so talented that the reader
couldn't wait for the man to touch the woman's fingertips. It's all
in the setting. Hint at it instead of blatantly telling it. You have
the right idea. Let the reader's imagination take them under the
sheets.   ;)
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Offline bonitakale

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2010, 11:46:58 AM »
I don't have the reference here, but C.S.Lewis said that painting a naked person is easy, but describing one is harder, because we have hardly any words like "arm" or "leg"--totally neutral words--for the sexual organs. Penis and vagina and vulva, are sort of clinical. Vulgarisms are vulgar. And euphemisms can be awful, or awfully funny.
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2010, 11:55:17 AM »
It is quite a tricky one because it also depends on the type of sex that needs to be portrayed if it is essential to your story.

I can remember reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles as an innocent at school and was totally confused by it just skipping to Maiden No More. Obviously no need for graphic detail but a mention that he'd raped her could have saved me a lot of confusion back then.

Offline Raven's Quill

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2010, 01:28:17 PM »
I've read books where the author was so talented that the reader
couldn't wait for the man to touch the woman's fingertips.

Then you must be very talented, because that sentence alone just gave me shivers!
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Offline deborahowen

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Re: Writing About Sex in Fiction
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2010, 08:16:30 PM »
Then you must be very talented, because that sentence alone just gave me shivers!
  I didn't say I could write like that. LOL I said I've read it. To be honest, I labor too much over writing. Too many rewrites and never satisfied with the finished product. I drive myself crazy. My real niche in life is teaching and administration.

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