Erotica author Elizabeth Amber shares her fool-proof receipe for hot and steamy romance scenes ...
Whether you’re writing a series of sex scenes in an erotic novel or a single scene of lovemaking in your mainstream novel, you want these scenes to do their job. To touch us, to thrill us, to carry us away from the familiar. The popularity of erotic/hot/spicy romances has affected other most subgenres of romance, allowing readers and authors to choose the heat level that works best for them. Here are six tips that I hope will help you cook up a hot book!
Before you begin cooking: Kick any other cooks — mothers, reviewers, your inner critic, or anyone who keeps you from writing your book your way — out of the kitchen so you can do your best writing.
1. Gather the best ingredients. Begin by adding all the ingredients a wonderful romance novel requires: great characters, plot, voice, action, setting.
2. Add spice. To determine how much sex is right for your book, find your comfort zone on this scale: pornography > erotica > erotic romance > hot romance > spicy romance > traditional romance > sweet romance. Don’t take on a recipe that’s too far outside of your personal comfort zone. Turn up the heat only if you enjoy writing steamy, graphic love scenes. Readers and editors will know if you’re faking it to follow a trend. Before you write or revise a love scene, read a few love scenes you admire in other books. Not to borrow from them, but to remind you of the kind of heat you’re going for.
3. Stir things up. Show us something we haven’t read before. My Lords of Satyr erotic historical paranormal romances are grounded in mythology, but with a sensual twist. Since satyrs are the carnal followers of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, I created half-satyr/half-human heroes, who guard ancient secrets in a Tuscan vineyard dedicated to Bacchus, where they change physically during a monthly carnal ritual. In my new release, Dane, Dane’s secrets are locked in his mind — a mind he shares with an alternate personality that usurps his body during this ritual.
4. Flavor to your taste. Characters’ backgrounds, needs, wants, social positions, and jobs influence the flavor of the sex they have. It’s okay if your characters speak during sex. Love talk. Dirty talk. Emotional talk. Angry talk. Just don’t make us laugh when we shouldn’t. There’s nothing wrong with quiet sex, just don’t bore us. Avoid flowery euphemisms for body parts and sex acts, especially if you’re in the hero’s POV. Avoid repeating four-letter-words so often that they lose their impact.
5. Bring it to a boil: sexual tension. The 12 steps of intimacy (Desmond Morris) are, in order: Eye to Body, Eye to Eye, Voice to Voice, Hand to Hand, Arm to Shoulder, Arm to Waist, Mouth to Mouth, Hand to Head, Hand to Body, Mouth to Breast, Hand to Genitals, Sexual Intercourse. Be aware of these, then mix them up or skip some for reasons that suit your story. Sexual closeness should heighten on track with a growing emotional relationship. Don’t go directly from “hello” to “thrust” unless you give us a believable reason. (Gotta make a baby to save your world before the only hero left who can get the job done dies at dawn? Okay then, start thrusting already!)
6. Timing. When should you add sex? Sex works during lulls in action to defuse tension. Sex commonly occurs at a book’s midpoint. Don’t bunch your sex scenes up into a few chapters. Spread them out, but in a way that is natural for the characters.
Here are a few more tools you may want in your kitchen as you cook up that yummy sex scene:
On The Twelve Steps Of Love And Intimacy:
Triangular Theory of Love
How-To Sex Reference Books: These can spark ideas. There are many choices — select carefully. Shy? Buy online.
- Elizbeth Amber