Posts Tagged ‘erotica’

Let me set the scene for you: amazingly hot woman meets equally hot man. They have some light banter, make fun of something they see to establish a mutual bond, and lock eyes in some sort of meaningful and suggestive way. Next scene they’re slamming through a door, pulling clothes off willy-nilly, chewing on each other’s face, knocking over stuff as they grapple their way through the room, until he finally picks her up in a mad embrace and they collapse on the bed in moaning ecstasy.

The above is supposed to be the epitome of a passionate love scene. If you’ve watched movies or television, you’ve seen a version of this thing probably too many times to count. When you get to my age, it’s been about a billion times. I didn’t get it when I was younger, and these days all I’m thinking about is the thousands of dollars in damages, dental work and cleaning bills that would likely be the result of such a scene in real life (like in this Zoosk commercial here). Given my lack of grace and agility, trying something like this would just send my husband and me to the hospital.

So I don’t get why versions of this scene are so ubiquitous in visual fiction. If that’s how real people do things, then I’ve long been left out of the loop. The fact that the only man who’s ever been able to pick me up and carry me for any length of time is the blonde at the other computer may also have something to do with it. But that’s a minor detail. The point is, why is this scene so common?

My answer is laziness. Over-used tropes like this one – along with evil overlords raping the innocent, bad boys with hearts of gold, and vengeful women spurned by a lover – all exist because lazy people are filling space without any thought as to what they’re really trying to say. They equate sex with love, evil acts with evil hearts, virtuous deeds with repentance, and violation as motivation. But one of the first things I learned about writing is never put something in the story that doesn’t add to it. Every scene – every WORD – has to be there for a reason. And that reason shouldn’t be obvious.

Let’s go back to that love scene. Apply the standard journalistic questions of “who,” “what,” “where,” when,” “why” and “how.” Tear it apart and look at the core and challenge yourself:

  • Who does it involve/affect – The most likely answer is one or more of your main characters. But don’t just look at your primaries. This kind of thing has ripples that wash over other characters you may not have even thought about.
  • What are we going to learn about the characters – These kinds of scenes can show vulnerabilities or quirks or revelations about your characters that could come into play later.
  • Where does this take place – It doesn’t always have to be the bedroom. Or the backseat of a ’68 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Or Kansas. Give your characters someplace that makes sense for them and the story, but also adds to them both also.
  • When should it begin and end – If you’re writing erotica, we want the whole shebang, just ‘cause that’s what’s called for. But it becomes a tougher question when dealing with other types of fiction. I go back to #2 – what will we learn? Give us only as much as you need to make your point. Our imaginations will happily fill in the rest.
  • Why is it needed (AKA: why should we care) – Okay, sometimes a little titillation (pun intended) is a good thing. But most of the time I want to know why it’s important that I read through all those euphemisms for penis. Does the straight-laced teacher have a tramp stamp? Are we seeing the vulnerable side of our badass hero? Give me something I can’t get anywhere else in your story.
  • How does this affect the story – Every action has a reaction, and there are consequences in every relationship. Whether it’s a one-night stand or an episode with a long-term couple, it needs to offer something besides just sex.

The point of my ramblings is to never take anything for granted in your writing. Your characters can’t be two-dimensional, your story can’t be predictable, and your prose can’t be boring. Never take the easy way out. The job of a writer is to entertain, and that entertainment comes from evoking emotions – any emotions. Anger is just as valid as happiness. I want to skid into the end of a story feeling like I just survived the zombie apocalypse, not like I just did another load of laundry.

So the next time you see one of those door-slamming, clothes-ripping, face-chewing love scenes ask yourself how you would do it differently and why. Passion isn’t always loud and desperate, and sex isn’t always perfectly executed. Real life is awkward and tender and silly and funny and clumsy and graceful. Give your characters that kind of depth and you give your readers a reason to come back.

Read Full Post »

Hanging By A Thread

Stitch shenanigans of an embroidery artist


the things that come to hand


Movies with a bite.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness


Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.

D. James Fortescue

Chasing dreams!


Write, Explore, Adventure

The Jiggly Bits

...because life is funny.

Looking to God

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)


handwork, writing, life, music, books

Kourtney Heintz's Journal

Believing In The Unbelievables: From Aspiring Writer to Published Author

The Better Man Project ™

the journey goes on...


For Aspiring Writers

S. Zainab Williams Blog

A writer's diary.


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: