E, you see, writes the most amazing love scenes. And lust scenes. And romp scenes. And just really satisfying sex scenes. My friends and I have been known to joke that we often look over our shoulder if we’re reading E’s writing in public. It’s odd to be having that much fun in your head when you’re sitting a child’s swim meet, or on a train full of strangers.
But I digress…
We’ve read and devoured countless of E’s characters getting together in countless positions, countless places, countless ways. So it’s clear there’s no real formula to it. The only thing her scenes all have in common is chemistry. The spark. The urgency. The panic of not getting what you want, need and crave, and the intense sense of relief and satisfaction when you do.
Yes, it’s sexy and delicious, but more than anything, it’s gratifying. And the reason it works is because of the characters. It always starts with them: their desires, their needs, what will happen to them now that they’ve stripped each other bare. So much of what makes E’s scenes great is in the foreplay: what tension (internal and external) exists between them? What will happen if they do get together? What will happen if they don’t? What, aside from all the pleasures of the flesh, do they most desire? And will you, as the writer, give it to them, or will you give them only a taste, a tease, and leave them unfulfilled?
My personal motto when I write sex scenes is “What would E do?” but if you don’t have an E in your life or in writer’s group, I leave you with this advice I once got at a workshop: It’s no different than any other scene; it needs to serve a purpose. From my notes: “Your characters may think it’s the best thing that could happen to them, but in some ways it has to be the worst thing that could happen…[it has to] move the plot along.”
Which writers do you think are doing it right? And why?
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