Saturday, March 10, 2012

Skipping the Sex Scene

Hi from Francesca Hawley and this slightly warm Iowa March morning.

I've talked to readers in the past who say they love romance, even erotic romance, but they always skim or skip the sex scenes. I smile but in my mind I can't help but think, then why do you read romance and why erotic romance especially?

To me erotic romance is defined by the hot, well written sex scenes that aren't gratuitous and move the plot forward while revealing character. Of course that means those scenes are damn important. They have to mean something. They aren't filler. They can't be stripped out because if you take them out, you lose part of the story. They do some heavy lifting in a story.

Hence, my dilemma. I've been stuck for almost a month on a sex scene near the end of my BDSM romance and it won't, pardon the pun, come. I think I finally know what I want to happen between my characters. but I can't seem to get them to play nice...or naughty...together. Arrrrgh!!!!!

So, I'm considering, gulp, skipping the sex scene and coming back to it later. I hate doing that! hate, Hate, HATE it!  Picture me stomping around like a two year old here, cause that's how I feel. I figure that if I can't believe a reader would skip a sex scene when reading, how the heck can I skip it while writing? But I want to finish the story. I'm so close I can taste it and this damn scene is standing in my way. More screams, hair pulling and gnashing of teeth - but not in a sexy hot way. Rather in a frustrated and irritated way.

I know I can go back and fill the scene in. I did it with Protect and Defend, my shapeshifter romance, when I had a devil of a time writing the anal scene near the end of that book. When I went back to it, I had to drag it out of my writing soul, but I finished it. Of course, it helped to have the rest of the story done at that point so I knew what had to happen in that scene. I knew why it was important, so I could write with that in mind. Yet, I dithered and groaned about skipping it just like I'm doing now.

I'm a very linear writer. I start at the beginning and write all the way through. I don't write a scene here and a scene there, skipping around as the muse moves me because when I try that the muse usually doesn't move me. He rolls his eyes and goes to watch football or something, annoyed by my aimlessness. Oh, by the way, unlike most writers my muse is a guy. A really hot guy. But a guy nonetheless. Easily distracted by shiny things, big breasts, sports, and NASCAR.

So, I need advice. Should I just skip ahead and revisit this scene when I finish the rest of the book? Should I stay linear? Should I tie my muse up and make him...wait, I'm not writing a FemDom story. Shoot, I can't go there. Thoughts and discussion appreciated.

And readers, I just have to know...do you ever skip sex scenes and if so, why? Your opinions will help me write a sex scene you won't want to skip. At least I hope so.

And just in case you're curious, here's a part of that anal scene that was such a bear to write. I hope you enjoy the tease as much as Mikaela did.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. 
If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.

Copyright © FRANCESCA HAWLEY, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“Mikaela, have you ever pleasured yourself anally?”
“Yes…” she shivered, nodding while he ran soapy fingers though her hair.
“Tell me how.”
Miki kept her eyes closed, lulled by the soft pressure. “I’ve used a vibrator.”
“What size?”
“Hmm. Like a small cock—maybe an inch or so thick.”
“Did you enjoy the penetration or the vibrations?”
“Both. It felt so good to be penetrated, but when I turned the vibe on…oh God. I almost came. I could feel it in my pussy as well as my ass.” His fingers paused on her scalp. “Don’t stop, Diar.”
He chuckled, rubbing again. Diarmid took down the shower head to rinse the soap from her hair, only to repeat the process as he stroked creme rinse through her hair. “You like this?”
“You know I do.”
“I do and I’m enjoying it too. It’s the first time you’ve been completely relaxed since we got home.”
Miki blinked open her eyes, looking up at him. “Really?”
“Yes, Mikaela. Really.”
Diarmid washed the creme rinse from her hair then switched the handheld to massage, aiming the water for her breasts. Miki sighed, quivering as the water hit her sensitized nipples. He pointed the spray at her abdomen then reached between her legs to spread her lower folds. She widened her stance, grasping his thighs with her hands as she anticipated the fall of the pulsating water against her clit.
“Do you want it?”
Miki jerked when the water hit her clit square on. He’d changed the setting to a high-speed pulse, which elicited a mewl of pleasure from her as she bucked her hips under the torrent, throwing her head back against his chest. His cock was starting to stiffen again where it pressed into the small of her back. The feel of his cock along with the vibration of the water hit her hard and fast. She hadn’t been expecting her body to react so quickly, yet Miki found herself spasming in climax as she clung to Diarmid’s taut thighs so she could stay upright. He held her close, drawing out her orgasm until it almost hurt before taking the water away. He eased her by gently stroking her clit with his fingers. Miki shivered under his touch.
Diarmid bent forward, kissing her shoulder. “I love watching you come, Mikaela. You’re so responsive.”
“Do I have a choice?”
He chuckled. “You always have a choice and I’m glad you choose to come for me.”
Diarmid ran his hand down her flank and behind to her ass. He stroked her clit with one hand, slipping the fingers of his other into her pussy to take advantage of her natural lubricants. He slid his now-slick fingers up to gently massage her asshole. Miki looked over her shoulder into his blue eyes, questioning.
“You still have a choice, Mikaela. Tell me what you want.”
As she felt his fingers rim her tightly puckered ass, Miki quivered, relaxing under his touch. Diar slipped one finger into her ass, she moaned, clenching down on the invader as their eyes locked. Miki didn’t want to make the decision. She wanted to close her eyes and let him decide for them both, but he wouldn’t let her.
“What do you want, Mikaela? I’m not going to force you. I need your consent or I’ll stop.” His fingers paused in their stroking. Miki whimpered in protest. “Words, Mikaela.”
“Can’t you read my thoughts?”
“Yes, but I’m choosing not to. I want you to make the choice. If you aren’t ready, I’m fine with it. But I need to know.”
“I want to. I’m not sure if I can, but I want to try.”
“Try what?”
“Damn it, Diarmid. You know!”
“Maybe, but we need to be able to talk to one another.”
“I want you to play with my ass.”
Miki felt her face heat up, but she couldn’t seem to drag her eyes away from his compelling gaze as Diar edged his finger deeper into her ass. Her nipples tightened with excitement while he circled her throbbing clit with the fingers of his other hand.
“Play with it? That’s all?”
“No…I…” She looked away.
“Say it, Mikaela.”
“Damn you!” She turned to glare at him, all but shouting, “I want you to fuck me in the ass. Okay?” Diarmid smiled at her, dropping a hard kiss on her mouth while he eased the finger out of her ass with a pop, making her jump.
“That wasn’t so difficult, was it?” Slowly he repenetrated her asshole with his finger, chuckling when she shivered, welcoming his finger.
“Diarmid, you can be such a prick…” Miki was turned-on and irritated at the same time.
He laughed. “So I’ve been told. I love you too, sweetheart.” Diarmid’s hungry eyes roamed her body, as he licked his lips. “Let’s see if we can make your wish a reality. Hand me the tube of lube.”


Anonymous said...

Ok I used to skip over the sex scenes I dont anymore. It was really bad when I had to take a class in how to write them. How can you write them if you can't read them? That being the case I know read everything in some books I went back and reread to see what I had missed. Lesson learned :) I would say just get through that scene as that is what I have made myself do in the past. Good luck!

Francesca Hawley said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I've taken classes before and they've been really helpful. Also, if you're a book person try Passionate Ink by Angela Knight. Great resource book!


Maggie Rivers said...

I agree Francesca. Passionate Ink is a great resource book.
I'm a linear writer, too. If I get stuck on a scene, I just go to another of my "WIP" and work on that. Usually when I relaxed and into the WIP an idea will pop into my brain and I'm like "why didn't I think of that before?"
I have plenty of faith in your abilities though. An idea will pop into your brain when you're not looking.

Paris said...

Being "stuck" on a sex scene is no fun but if my brain isn't cooperating I'll either skip ahead to action I know needs to take place or work on something else. I hate losing momentum and if at all possible will stick with the problem WIP but sometimes it just isn't possible.

I tend to hop all over the place anyway and as you know write scenes when they pop into my brain, lol!

Paris said...

Being "stuck" on a sex scene is no fun but if my brain isn't cooperating I'll either skip ahead to action I know needs to take place or work on something else. I hate losing momentum and if at all possible will stick with the problem WIP but sometimes it just isn't possible.

I tend to hop all over the place anyway and as you know write scenes when they pop into my brain, lol!

Harlie Reader said...

As a reader, I don't usually skip the sex scenes. Now if I'm reading a BDSM and there are some elements that I find uncomfortable for me, then yes, I will skim them. I love reading BDSM but some elements don't work for me so I skim or skip them all together. Still trying to wrap my head around the whole Master/slave thing.

Great post, too.

Amy Ruttan said...

If I get stuck writing a sex scene I do skip over it, but make notes in that section about what I want to accomplish emotion wise etc., and then I continue writing. I go back when I feel inspired to write it. I know for me it's hard to write one with three munchkins running around. I tackle those scenes when the kids are in bed and everything is quiet. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Wow, I'm stumped like you are, Francesca. It's an erotic romance - that means there are going to be hot love scenes.

Many times I've found myself where you are - stuck on a sex scene and just wanting to forget it. The one time I did that, my editor wrote in the edits "please expand this scene". So, I did.

And nope, I don't skip them anymore. I just work through them until the come. Pardon my pun. :)

Francesca Hawley said...

Great news to report!! I decided to skip the scene and so far today I've written 2584 words and the day is NOT over yet. Woooooo Hooooo!I know it's going to be a bear to go back and finish that scene but at least I have forward progress and it feels good. I've really needed it.

Thanks for the support and suggestions from my fellow authors (Maggie, Paris, Amy and Tina). I really appreciate you stopping by to offer your opinions.

And Harlie, thanks so much for visiting to share your perspective as a reader. I understand that BDSM stories can sometimes be very intense and one person's kink isn't necessarily another person's kink, so it makes sense to me that sometimes you might skim something that squicks you out. :-)

N.J.Walters said...

As a linear, one-book-at-a-time writer, I can sympathize. I would write and work my way through it. I figure I can fix whatever I write, but an empty page is still empty.

I'm glad to hear that you did get some writing done. The end is close. :)

jean hart stewart said...

I often get so wrapped up in getting the story down on paper that I minimize the sex, and mark it with xxx to go back and enlarge.Sex scenes need to get great, not just good, and this excerpt was great...

Margaret Carter said...

I'm a linear writer, too. However, sometimes I do just sketch in a reference to each sex scene and go back to write them in detail later. One advantage to this method: Writing all the sex scenes one after another makes it easier to be sure I'm not repeating the same actions and imagery too much. Originality in writing sex scenes can be very difficult. This problem was recognized at least as far back as FANNY HILL, which includes a chapter discussing the issue of originality in erotic language (really!).

Francesca Hawley said...

Thanks for the support and suggestions everyone. I wrote almost 5000 words yesterday and another 3760 (so far) today. I'm thrilled.

Kathy Otten said...

Sometimes you have to listen to the book the same way you listen to the characters. This book may not want to be written in a linear manner. Not every book wants to be written in the same room, on the computer, with music, in pajamas, etc. Forcing this book to evolve in the same way as your others may be causing the block.

Billy London said...

My muse is a dude as well and one who frequently abandons me if I don't do as he commands. If he wants me to write sex, then sex I must write. If he wants us to do something far more exciting, like write in food or a good banter or a fight, then that's what needs to be done. You know there's absolutely nothing wrong with coming back to it later, when you're moved to. That's what I think. Sometimes writing something else may inspire the sex to er, come about. Good luck!!