Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making Love Scenes Sizzle with Daisy Harris

I’m excited to welcome author Daisy Harris to the blog. She turns up the heat in her most recent release Studenstein, and today she’s going to tell us how she makes the love scenes sizzle.  

What gets your motor going when it comes to love scene? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card which will be awarded to one commenter. Follow her tour for more chances to be entered. The dates can be found at Goddess Fish Promotions:

About Daisy:
Birkenstock-wearing glamour girl and mother of two by immaculate conception, Daisy Harris still isn’t sure if she writes erotica. Her paranormal romances start out innocently enough. However, her characters behave like complete sluts. Much to Miss Harris’s dismay, the sex tends to get completely out of hand.

If you like sci-fi, great plots and red-hot chemistry, you’ll love Daisy’s books.

And now here’s Daisy on Making Love Scenes Sizzle
Hello Gale and thanks for having me on the blog today. I’ve decided to talk a little bit about how I make my sex scenes pop. As an erotica writer, I struggle daily with finding new and exciting ways to say “thrust.” So here’s a few things that have helped me along the way…

When I first started writing erotic romance, I found love scenes to be the easiest part to write. I’d been a medical writer for many years and was used to describing the workings of bodies. Movement and reaction didn’t scare me, but feelings did. So my early love scenes staggered like a wino between clinical and porny.

Amusingly, I discussed this with Angela James at Romance Times Booklovers’ convention last year and she said that one of her authors used to have the same problem. A nurse, the author focused too much on the physical and not enough on the emotion. So I think the problem comes with the territory.

The key to writing hot sex, I’ve found, is striking a balance between action, thoughts and feelings. In love scenes, the character should react to stimulus, then think, then feel, and then finally act.

He skimmed a single finger over my nipple (stimulus.)
I shivered (reaction), wondering whether he’d move closer or continue his torment (thought.) Silently begging (emotion,) I arched my back (action.)
As a contrast, this is what that passage would look like without the thoughts and feelings.
He skimmed a single finger over my nipple. I arched my back.
The latter might not read so horribly in isolation, but imagine a whole page full of “he did this,” “I did that.” “Then he did…” It would get so boring you’d be flipping pages to skip the sex scenes. And if you’re skipping the sex, you’re defeating the purpose of reading erotica. LOL.
Not every passage works precisely with this formula, but I’ve gotta say that it keeps me honest! Whenever I read one of my love scene drafts and think, “Gosh, this is moving too fast. It’s too choppy,” I go through the steps and find where I need to infuse the scene with a little more love. J
The other thing that spices up love scenes is the unexpected. I adore adding humor to love scenes! A little snark, or disagreement, or a shirt getting caught in a fly can add that zing of flavor that brings sex to life. Is there anything more endearing than a hero who shoves his pants to his ankles only to realize he forgot to take off his shoes? I think not!

What about you? What makes a love scene great from your perspective?

Studenstein (Book two in the Love-Bots series)


A man built for sex… A woman who wants more…
Freedom fighter Shani Brown is determined to drag the ungrateful Royce back to her team in Seattle. Despite his denial of mistreatment, she wants to give him a chance at a better life. Due to her horrific past as an unlicensed love-bot, Shani never plans to have sex again. But Royce’s makers punish him remotely with crippling pain. His only escape is to orgasm. Never one to turn her back on a job, Shani soon finds herself servicing him—and soon after, caring for him.
Love-bot Royce Harden wasn’t looking to be rescued, especially not from the San Francisco BDSM club where he was having a perfectly good time. But rescued he was—by a hellcat bent on delivering him to her people. As Royce starts to trust Shani, he begins to dream of freedom. But freedom comes with a price. Royce must face his vanity, his makers, and even the loss of his sexual upgrades if he’s going to be the man Shani deserves.

Shaniqua! You stop thinking about that boy’s butt right this second! Shani didn’t know where that voice in her head came from, since she’d never had a mother in her undead life. But yeah, that voice in her head, her “superego” Frank called it, always called her by her full name.
So as she led Royce around the outside of the building, Shani focused on the quiet ticks of birds, the rustle of leaves, anything to take her mind of those little dimples that had shown right below his hipbones, or his deep and intriguing groan. As they walked, Shani calculated their distance from the van. Q-ter’s transmitter would only block Royce’s signal within one city block. The bathrooms weren’t all that far away, but Shani wasn’t accustomed to greenery and open space. Without urban landmarks, she didn’t trust her sense of distance.
His biceps flexed under her grip—not pulling away, but maybe trying to warn her he could. Shani’d touched Royce more in the past few hours than she’d touched any man since her captivity. She wanted to think it was because the assignment demanded she lead him about—gripping his firm upper arm—in case he tried to escape, but that voice in her head knew better.

Shaniqua! Let go of the boy-toy! In the dark, his skin felt warm and hard in her hand. It was a relief when she blinked in the bright halogen lights of the ladies’ room. No matter how pretty or tempting Royce Harden might be, Shani would never be able to stomach having sex again. And almost but not doing would be worse than never having tried at all.

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Calisa Rhose said...

Great post ladies!

Hi Daisy. I have trouble just letting go to put the sex on the page to begin with. Thanks for the tips. Maybe, though never in erotic-form which is not my style, I can get my characters to relax if I can. lol

The Paperback Diva said...

Great post! You make it seem so easy. :) But of course, we know it's not. The author has to really get inside their own head to make the reader shiver. Thanks for the guidelines.

booklover0226 said...

That was quite an interesting and informative post; I enjoyed reading it.

I look forward in reading the Love-Bots series.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

derekd said...

Yeah, finding a balance somewhere between over the top porn dialogue, and the clinical insert tab A into slot B, is a challenge.

Stimulus, thought/feeling, reaction is a great way to keep things in order. Thanks for that easy to use formula.

There is also the challenge of describing the same act in a fresh way without resorting to outlandish names for body parts or surreal descriptions of orgasms. I guess that's where art comes in. Thanks for the post.

Janet Kerr said...

Interesting post Daisy,

This sounds like the Motivation Reaction Units of Dwight Swain where the Motivation is external & objective and the Reaction is internal and subjective.

Jan K.

Eva's Flowers said...

I absolutely would hate to skip over the sex scenes, so I'm glad you are able to find a way to make it believable for us readers. Next time I read a sex scene I'm gonna think of the action, thought and feeling that went into it. I would have never thought of it that way, but it does spice things up. I also like the fact that you think of the unexpected, the zipper, forgetting the shoes, etc. funny stuff :)

Gale Stanley said...

Thanks for coming by ladies. Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Ach! I wrote long replies to each of you, but it got eaten by blogger!! Oh well, thanks everyone for commenting! I'll try to write more in a bit... LOL

Anonymous said...

Ok, trying again! LOL

Calisa- Yeah, you gotta really let yourself be in the moment. I've been known to bounce in my chair while writing love scenes. :)

Paperback Diva- Yeah, if a writer's not really feeling it, a love scene reads stale, IMO. But I like imagining things in 3-D space. It's always been fun for me to manipulate things in my head. Was why I enjoyed chemistry and anatomy so much.

Tracey- Thanks for commenting! nice to see you!

Derek— I got this method from a WriteSex post by Sascha Illyvich, and I believe he got it from either Joey Hill or Laurel K Hamilton. So it seems to work for a lot of people. :)

Janet—interesting! I've never heard of that before, but should look it up!

Eva- Getting the right balance between fantasy and realism is hard too. I was writing a morning-sex scene the other day and was all, "Do they need to pee first? Brush their teeth? How am I going to work those mundane things into the story?" LOL

GAle- Thanks for having me on the blog!

Cathy M said...

It's the emotion of a love scene that makes it memorable for me. Love the intensity, sexy dialogue and that amazing sexual chemistry.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

KRBailey, Author said...

Great post! I love the steps you listed. If only it was that easy. I'm not an erotic writer, but I still like a juicy, shivering sex scene. Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

You make it seem so easy, when love/sex scenes take me forever to get through. I’m definitely going to try your method.

One thing you didn’t mention was bringing memories or past incidents into a love scene. Something like: His hand caressed her breast and it brought back the first time he’d done so, …
Or she linked her hands behind his neck and moved her body in slow circles, brushing his groin with each revolution. Like she had while they’d been dancing earlier that evening.

Do you think things like this can up the tension level? Take care, Barbara

Anonymous said...

Cathy- I agree it's all about the emotion. After all the "in-out-in-out" is a little boring to write . :)

KR- It's definitely not easy! When I started writing love scenes I found them easy, now its harder- probably because I have higher standards.

Barbara- I like the use of memory when it's a recent memory- like they were dancing a few hours ago, and now they're making lover and it was like a pre-quel.

I don't like when people are having sex and dregde up a distant memory (unless they were lovers as teenagers and they're remembering last time they had sex.) Random memories throw me out of the moment. Like, I read a book once where at moment of climax, hero thought about his father. And I was all, "Ew!"

Chelsea B. said...

Definitely emotion. Sex without emotion is just, well... sex. :-)


Krysykat said...

Emotion makes certain scenes just that much better.