Friday, April 27, 2018

X-Rated Scenes Need a Firm (Editing) Hand

Welcome, A to Z bloggers, visitors, and of course all my faithful regular readers! This year's theme for my A to Z:
Short & Sweet Reasons Why You Need an Editor

So without further ado . . .

X-Rated scenes show up in a variety of novels. They can be blatantly descriptive in erotica, or they can start off steamy and finish behind closed doors, so to speak.

Regardless of which way a writer chooses to go, these scenes need to be done well or they shouldn’t be included at all. There’s nothing worse than a love scene that feels awkward to read or sounds cheesy.

I’m not talking about deliberately cheesy, like someone saying, “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?” Yeah. Definite cheese happening there.

But if the writer’s intent is for some serious love to be going on, or dialogue that makes the reader grab a fan and some ice water, then cheese is off the menu. If you fancy yourself a writer of all that’s steamy, make sure you hire an editor who specializes in it so you’ll get the best . . . uh . . . bang . . . for your buck.

15 comments:

  1. I'm not much for putting sex scenes in my stories. I even tried writing outright porn in my younger years, but didn't make the sex scenes last as long as fans of that type of material would like. It wasn't that the type of material offended me. Far from it. But I was too interested in plot, character development... You know, garbage like that. Heh. (My) old habits die hard, I guess.

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    1. I probably shouldn't chuckle at the idea that sex scenes in the younger years didn't last as long as . . . hahaha okay, I have to. Sorry.

      I know there's a huge market for it, but I can't imagine giving up plot and character development.

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  2. Right there with the Fox on this one. I enjoy other authors' work, but leave this particular aspect out of my own. It's partly because I encourage teens and tweens to join my crew for adventures, but beyond that, I find it a no-win situation. If you botch a sex scene, your reader is out of the flow; he or she is now thinking, "How could he screw that up so bad? Does he have different equipment than the rest of us?"

    On the other hand, if you nail a sex scene, your reader is out of the flow. He or she is now aroused, the hormones are kicking in, and now he's looking for something to do besides read a pulp adventure story. So they're off my list, and always have been.

    My apologies for the multiple unintended puns, but so many words have come to describe that, that it's completely unavoidable.

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    1. Which is why I believe that the only way to satisfy (oops) a goodly number of readers is to give them a bunch of writing prompts - and send them off to complete the scene in their own heads.

      If they're not grown up enough for that, they're not my readers, anyway.

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    2. Hahaha! I love your descriptions, Jack, and you got it right. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, so just work on a great story with great characters, and your readers will stick with you.

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    3. I try to leave most to the imagination. I just try to do the setup to lead the reader in that direction. My wife always says "and there is the ... again.

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    4. J.T., I do wish more people would leave it to the imagination. The . . . is underused, haha.

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  3. Hi Lynda - couldn't agree more with your thoughts ... a specialist = that makes sense. Cheers Hilary

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    1. I figure it's no different than me saying no to editing poetry. I read it occasionally, but I don't know enough about it to edit it effectively. So if I don't read erotica at all, there's no way I'm going to do a good job of it.

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  4. Such a hot topic - and one on which you will never get anything but opinionated disagreement.

    I read everything I could get my hands on that was in English, when growing up in Mexico, and some of it was probably not suitable, but children skip over those parts if they're innocent enough (I was) or get it all wrong if they're not.

    Each writer reaches a conclusion for each book, and I pity those who have to write what they think the market will bear, whether they're comfortable with it or not.

    It's a luxury to suit yourself - and I will have my books next to me as one of the few things from my earlier life when I'm in a nursing home. Because there won't be that many, and I have yet to tackle my definitive mystery, or SF, or adventure (though I probably won't write fantasy).

    You are really making this A-Z work.

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    1. When I was in junior high, we girls used to somehow get our hands on particular paperbacks and pass them around. I have no idea how anybody found these, since it didn't seem like the stuff our moms would read . . . my mother in particular only read nonfiction practically all her life. But we'd pass the books around and giggle at the naughty parts, not even knowing, truly, what was going on.

      I know writers who feel they should have a little bit of sex in each book they write, whether it's a romance or not, and others who hate that their genre expects "something" simply because of its target audience. To each his own. Nobody's making someone read it, and nobody's forcing someone to write it, presumably.

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  5. Steamy scenes? Not sure I could write them. Whatever happened to 'leaving it to the reader's imagination'?
    Let the reader fill in the blanks, is the school of thought I come from. I suspect that the modern reader isn't interested too much in 'reading between the lines'. Am I right? Or maybe I'm generalizing.

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    1. I suspect you're right in many cases. There are those who would never care if a love scene ever entered any of the books they read. Others want everything described as vividly as possible, sort of an alternative to watching p*rn, I assume. There are those who claim they would never watch it, but who read books with the verbal equivalent of it under the guise of romance. To each his own, but the quality has to be there or the reader will be left laughing, or at best, shaking their head.

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  6. I don't think I would ever be able to write a steamy scene... so I will just leave it to those who can! :)

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    1. That's a great idea. There are some people who are truly gifted at that. Unfortunately, for every one of them there are four more people still writing those scenes.

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